I’m late to the party on music dropping, fortunately, late praise beats no praise. The next album you should listen to is OK Orchestra, it was released about a month ago and it is an experience.
OK Orchestra the latest album to come from indie-pop group AJR blends fun melodies with lyrics that occasionally make me want to pull over on the side of the road and cry. Like any AJR album, listening to OK Orchestra is almost like listening to the soundtrack of a Disney movie about the sad realities of life. Under the guise of catchy lyrics and high-energy instrumentals, AJR tells relatable and sad stories.
The album opens with OK Overture — their albums all being with a compilation similar to this — but the listening experience truly begins with Bummerland, a song that both belongs on a workout playlist and a Broadway musical, which honestly is how I would sum up most AJR songs. There’s a little angst and depression lyrically with an upbeat tempo that almost tricks you into thinking you’re listening to happy music.
Bang!, the single released from this album sounds almost like circus music, but in a good way. The beat and the lyrics show the energy and tongue-in-cheek message typically of AJR’s music style. While it is not my favorite off the album, it makes sense to be the first single off the album. It’s catchy, fun, and TikTok-able, important in today’s music space.
3 O’Clock Things, possibly one of the best songs on the album has Burn the House Down vibes and you just love to see it. It’s an open commentary on current events sung over a fun instrumental. I can see how it might not be everyone’s cup of tea (some folks might not like that the final lyrics are “..if you’re fucking racist then don’t come to my show”), but fortunately, there’s a whole rest of the album for folks to consume. In a world where we fear vulnerability and standing up for what we believe in even though it may cost us some fans/likes/follows, the right thing is more important.
My Play, The Trick, World’s Smallest Violin, Way Less Sad, and Christmas in June, while enjoyable to listen to are also somewhat cry-inducing songs. Not to say they aren’t good to listen to because they’re excellent, but they’re where the storytelling tugs at your heart. The lyrics are relatable but wrapped in a cotton candy instrumental coating to keep the sound of the album cheery.
People who don’t put too much emphasis on lyrics in their music consumption will find this album to be good, poppy ambient noise. On the flip side, people who listen to the lyrics and internalize them will be feeling things and it’ll feel like they’re on a trip with the colorful instrumentals.