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AJR “Ok Orchestra” Album Review

An avid lover of music with a flair for writing. A core hip-hop fan with a thing for boom-bap beats and bars.

"Ok Orchestra" Cover Art

"Ok Orchestra" Cover Art

"Ok Orchestra" Album Review

There is something about the AJR brothers that makes me love their music and I cannot quite pinpoint it yet. Whether it is their experimental production style, their relatable and introspective lyrics, or their harmonic vocals, I have not quite been able to figure it out. However, I have concluded that it is probably because they remind me of the popular American band, Fun which might be due to their similarity in production style. The fourth studio album of the American band, the Ok orchestra is one album that further endears me to the band after I got introduced to them by their third studio album Neotheatre in 2019. Ok Orchestra is a spectacular project meshing the pop, hip-hop, alternative, and doo-woop genre of music.

One of Ok Orchestra’s many talking points is the unique experimental production of the entire album. For an album entirely self-produced by the brothers, they pull off the whole orchestra concept while staying true to their style. A totally enjoyable experimentally produced album is hard to find these days except for the genius of Kanye West. However, on Ok Orchestra all tracks on the album were exquisitely produced and it made for an enthralling listen. The use of piano and trumpet samples from Paul Simon’s “My Little Town” on the track “Way Less Sad” gave life to that track. The experimental nature of the album gave me “eargasms”, especially on the “Humpty Dumpty” and “Bang” tracks. The amazing beat drops and the effective use of a plethora of musical equipment throughout the album meshed exquisitely to give the listener a theatric experience as can be observed in tracks such as “OK Overture”.

The songwriting from the AJR brothers is also something that I look forward to in their projects. Probably because their songwriting is always inspired by their life experiences or probably because they talk about things people think about but do not say out loud. They talk about deep issues that prick the conscience and almost everybody can relate to. The track “3 O’clock” is one track that thoroughly encapsulates what they are about. Topics such as politics, racism sex, college experiences, and the general societal values are generally what they address in their songs. This can be seen through the lyric “And maybe sex is overrated / but we are too shy to ever say it”. The songwriting on Ok Orchestra was top notch and it calls for deep thinking due to their introspective messages.

The AJR brother’s style has always been about harmony in sound and melody and even though Ok Orchestra’s concept is to create a theatric feel, they stayed true to their roots on the album. With the songs giving off nursery rhyme vibes especially tracks such as “Humpty Dumpty” and “My Play”, the brothers succeed in creating an album that gives the listener an enthralling experience without giving much of their style away.

"Bang" Official Music Video

However, the major flaw of the project was the lack of cohesiveness of the project as a whole. The tracks do no bleed into each other as one would expect from a solid body of work and tracks such as “Bang” and “Humpty Dumpty” do not fit into the sequence in which the album was arranged. However, listening to them individually, those tracks are proper masterpieces that have a great amount of replay value.

Another major flaw of the 45 minute LP is that the group has failed to truly evolve from the sound of their previous albums. Ok Orchestra pretty much sounds the same as Neotheatre although they unsuccessfully attempt to break away from the stereotypes attached to them on Ok Orchestra which highlights their lack of artistic growth as a band.

Summing It Up

Consisting of thirteen tracks and spanning the length of 45 minutes, Ok Orchestra is one album that is filled with catchy rhythms and melodies, exceptional instrumentation, and introspective lyrics that we have to come to expect from the group in recent years. Although it is not the perfect album, it is nothing short of spectacular and is a project which would leave a mark on the pop genre as the AJR brothers continue to push the boundaries of pop by fusing it with the dance and alternative genre.

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Essential tracks include “Humpty Dumpty”, “Christmas in June” and “3’O clock”.

You can purchase the Ok Orchestra album from Amazon here - Ok Orchestra

"Ok Orchestra" Album Rating

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Fawaz Akintunde


Fawaz Akintunde (author) from Lagos, Nigeria on April 29, 2021:

That's okay, Brenda. Glad you enjoyed the video.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on April 29, 2021:

I have not heard of the Ok Orchestra but that's nothing new for me.

I was not around music for years & I'm constantly learning.

Enjoyed the video.

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