AJR: OK Orchestra – Album Review (Or, lets lighten up shall we?)

I took to tumblr a while back and asked some people to send me albums to review. This was one such album. I hadn’t realized who AJR was yet, so I went into it completely blind. And I must say I am glad I did. If I had heard peoples critiques I may have let it colour how I listened to it. Now for those of you like me, who often don’t think about band names, you might know this band from it’s song Bang, which has trended on tiktok almost as long as tiktok has been called tiktok.

Since listening to this band I have heard critiques about how unoriginal they are, that they are pretentious, or they are simply another boring pop band. I disagree. Strongly, and here is why.

Firstly, I cannot understand the pretentious comments, perhaps I am missing something key here, but their lyrics are typically not too deep, and simply fun. And when they do choose to go deeper, with songs like 3 O’Clock Things, they simply give voice to things many of us think about every day. They never come across as preachy or pretentious. Rather it feels like hanging out with your friends late on a Saturday night and saying things like “isn’t it weird we vote for someone to vote for someone?” I would hardly call it pretentious but I digress.

As for sounding too mainstream pop, alright fair enough. They do indeed sound like many bands on the radio, and there are aspects of them that strangely remind me of 21 Pilots. That being said, why is a fun pop song a bad thing? Why did we choose as a society to give grief to bands for simply being fun and catchy? I wrote a piece on what makes a good movie a bit ago. I’ll link it here.

In it I mention how what makes a good movie isn’t a perfect and totally original plot. No, it is if it did what it intended to do. Whether it was make you laugh, think, or weep. Pop songs are not here to be the most deep and soulful songs ever- they can be, most certainly. But they do not need to be, just to be a good pop song. A song can just be there to have fun with. To sing along and not care about the lyrics, to belt out in your car driving down the highway with your friends as you all half dance and half scream along to it. There is nothing wrong with that.

I’ll be perfectly honest, I have little else to say about this album. I think it is fun, and refreshingly so. I think it is something that isn’t so deep it needs to, or even necessarily should be totally analyzed. It’s just fun, and that is completely ok. With all the pain in the world right now, I think it’s time we let a bit of fun back in.

This is Rev, signing off, and telling you to lighten up a little, and stream OK orchestra.

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