OK Orchestra Review


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Amanda Mourelatos, Editor in Chief

The band of brothers, AJR, ended their previous album Neotheater with the song Finale. In the song, it says, “Now they want something bigger, I’m overwhelmed.” Clearly they weren’t that overwhelmed because their newest album, OK Orchestra, is an absolute masterpiece.

OK Orchestra was released on March 26th, 2021, but it wasn’t just that. Their single Way Less Sad released on February 17th, 2021 and the OKO World was launched on March 21st, 2021. OKO World is a virtual creation that has various features having to do with OK Orchestra. There’s a list of release dates for singles, merch, and their tour. There’s an arcade with Super AJR Bros. and an explanation of how they made their album. There’s so much in this site that just makes the magic of AJR that much more.

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Anyways, let’s talk about the album. I always think that AJR can’t get any more different or better, and they always do. For starters the singles released, Bang!, Way Less Sad, My Play, and Bummerland, were some of the best as far as singles go. I’m not usually a big fan of singles and moreso of the rest of the underrated songs in albums, but these singles are really good. Normally when listening to an album, I’ll skip the singles but not with OKO. They’re all incredibly catchy and mesh with the rest of the album very well.

I feel like something that isn’t talked about a lot is AJR’s overtures in the beginning of each album. The way they take bits and pieces from EACH song in the album and make it into a song is incredibly impressive. It doesn’t sound disorganized or like anything is out of place. It’s a work of art, especially OK Overture. The best way I can explain this song is a celebration of OK Orchestra.

Some of my favorite songs are Joe, Humpty Dumpty, Ordinaryish People, and Christmas in June. These are all my favorites because of the message behind them and how unique they all are.

Joe is literally a song about their primary school bully named Joe. I just love the audacity AJR had to put his name in there and everything, but also how accurate the song feels as far as school bullies go. Throughout the song, they referred to Joe as God because that’s how all bullies are viewed when you’re young. These “Gods” are so mean, but the coolest kids at school and eveyrone idolizes them. It goes from having this worshipping attitude to having an “I don’t care anymore” attitude. The chorus represents that in saying, “I don’t ever think of you, Look at all this stuff I do, I played shows in Belarus Now Joe, do you think I’m cool?” I am just obsessed with the subject of this song because no one talks about their school bullies that still haunt their memories. Not to mention, the music itself is is beyond amazing. AJR hired a beatboxer for this song and it just adds such a unique element to it.

Humpty Dumpty will always have a special place in my heart. This song has helped me through quite a few hard times. The message behind it is to keep a smile on your face while others are looking and you can cry when no one’s around, hence the chorus, “When Humpty Dumpty went down, He said “Screw it, I’ma smile right through it and I’ll scream when no one’s around”.” Of course, it isn’t the best to bottle up your feelings, but sometimes it’s necessary just to get by. I especially don’t like pinning my emotions and hardships on the whole world, just select few people. Not only that, but I love how they brought a childhood fairytale into a real life feeling that no one really talks about.

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Ordinaryish People is one of my favorites moreso for the music than the lyrics; the lyrics are amazing as always, don’t get me wrong, but this song features the Blue Man Group. Need I say more? I’ve seen the Blue Man Group live and it was an incredible experience, and this song unlocks that memory each time I listen to it. They have a solo near the middle of the song and it’s just the coolest thing; you won’t understand until you listen to it yourself. While I enjoy the chorus, the versus are just a tad better. My favorite verse says, “Your pretty friends, they call you ugly, Your ugly friends, they call you vain, ‘No, you’re not stupid, you’re just special, special’, Well, that’s what all your smart friends say.” I just love these versus because of how true they are. No matter how popular or perfect you are, there’s always someone “better” than you, so why look at life that way?

Christmas in June is a song that I adore not because I can relate to it, but because of how AJR relates to it. It’s all about maintaining a relationship while being a famous musician at the same time and how the timing of it all doesn’t always line up. I feel this is a very sensitive topic that NO artists talk about. The chorus says, “Plan on this, You’re no longer gonna be the plan I miss, I won’t ever let you down, but just in case, Can we do Christmas in June? Oh my God, How lucky am I to have two things I love? Makes it that much easier to **** it up, In case I miss it, can we do Christmas in June?” It’s just so sweet and compassionate, yet so unsure and nervous at the same time. There will always be that feeling of not being good enough due to not being there enough, and that’s something that ALL artists feel and only AJR has talked about. This song being the last song in the album just means that much more and I’m obsessed with how personal this is to the band.

Another song I feel needs mentioning is 3 O’Clock ThingsOne word: politics. Another thing artists often avoid is talking about politics and controversial topics in their music, but this is one thing AJR doesn’t shy away from. In a live video, they mentioned how this was their hardest song to write, but it all paid off. They talk about how sex is overrated, how friends will leave if you talk about politics, and how a person in charge with evil intentions “means well.” I love how they made this the first song, right after OK Overture because it kicks off the album with one of the most upfront, brutal songs. And the ending of the song is absolutely flawless: “It’s all a bit cloudy but there’s one thing I know, That if you’re ****** racist then don’t come to my show.”

I could go on and on about this work of art, but I’ll leave it with a 10/10. AJR, you’ve done it again.