Review: AJR’s ‘OK ORCHESTRA’ shows off his mastery in production and songwriting

2020 has been a tough year for many musicians. With COVID-19 canceling their tour, the AJR group decided to release their album “OK ORCHESTRA” on March 26.

Four of the songs, “Bang! “, “Bummerland”, “My Play” and “Way Less Sad”, had already been released as singles.

The album begins with the song “OK Overture”, a mix of all the songs from the album. AJR had openings in previous albums “Living Room” and “The Click”.

I couldn’t have been more excited for the new album because of their ability to create new and exciting sounds. AJR never fails to surprise me with songs that are out of the ordinary.

For example, the song “Joe” samples a Mozart piano piece alongside beatboxing. It’s hard to imagine two very different sounds coming together perfectly. “Joe” is about that person from school you’ve always envied. Years can pass without seeing this person, but sometimes you still wonder where they are. It’s a very specific feeling that I’ve never heard in a song.

Another of my favorite songs from the album is “Ordinaryish People”, featuring Blue Man Group. The song starts off strong, with a marching band playing a tune similar to what you would hear at a football game. AJR then adds a hip-hop beat underneath with effects on the instruments, giving the song a new vibe. Blue Man Group’s appearance in the song is obvious, as their dubstep-like sound is hard to ignore. The Blue Man Group sound is another unique addition to the song and the album.

While many songs are upbeat and contain an important message, there are a few songs on the album that are capable of touching the hearts of listeners. The song “My Play” is about divorce while “The Trick” is about being a compulsive liar to fit in with a crowd.

Overall, I really enjoyed the album. From the influence of multiple genres, great production, and clever lyrics, I had the album on repeat last week. AJR does a great job of creating music that listeners can relate to. Whether it’s COVID-19, fitting in with the crowd, or struggling to balance a relationship and a career, they make listeners realize that we’re ultimately not that different from each other.

“OK ORCHESTRA” is available on all music streaming platforms.

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