AJR: OK Orchestra (First Reactions)

The day has finally arrived! AJR’s fourth studio album, OK Orchestra is out to buy, stream and download!

Read on for my raw initial first thoughts about each of the new tracks. I welcome you to share yours in the comments box down below.

13 tracks; 46 minutes of pure aural bliss!

OK Overture

Lyrics: https://genius.com/Ajr-ok-overture-lyrics

After taking a break from doing an overture on Neotheater, the guys have brought it back! And wow, it’s really AMAZINGGGGGGGGG! I love the locations (most notably the kitchen scene and by the bridge scene) they filmed this video in which was directed by their good friend Edoardo Ranaboldo again. (see: “Bummerland” and “Way Less Sad” M/Vs; his other directorial credits.)

read Ranaboldo’s IG statement:

I love how animated Adam gets in participating in unison with the beat pad pushing. And all three of them distorting their voices too.

I also love the overall tone they set in the song, so far I can tell this is going to be a spectacular album just by this sneak peek alone (which released a 1/2 hour before the album dropped.)

They didn’t include the definition of overture this time around. Shoutout to the lady whom narrated the beginning. The “mini tutorial guide” aesthetic is also part of the actual track NOT just the video seen above. How cool is that! 🙂

Can’t wait to see this live in concert one day!! It will be SPECTACULAR!!!

Relive Living Room‘s “Overture” and The Click’s “Overture

Bummerland

Lyrics: https://genius.com/Ajr-bummerland-lyrics

See my previous post about this track, here.

This song will forever have those summer vibes no matter what season it is!

It currently has 6 million+ views on YouTube!


3 O’Clock Things

Lyrics: https://genius.com/Ajr-3-oclock-things-lyrics

I love the old-timey choirs making another return! Ryan is a genius mixing them with that AJR aesthetic. Old fashion meets contemporary. Love it!

The verses are pretty deep. The notion of politics and racism are mentioned.

If you’re racist, AJR doesn’t want you at their shows! AMEN!

“No we have to do one more” LOL.

Can’t wait to hear this in concert one day! It’s going to be epic!

Arnetta spotlight! Will sound amazing in concert for that trumpet closer!


My Play

Lyrics: https://genius.com/Ajr-my-play-lyrics

See my previous post about this track, here.

This still remains the most melancholic track (so far).

AFTER HEARING ALBUM FOR THE FIRST TIME (UPDATE: YUP – still is.)

It currently has 1.4M views on YouTube. Animated music videos are an underappreciated thing!


Joe

Lyrics: https://genius.com/Ajr-joe-lyrics

Fun Fact: A snippet of the song’s instrumentals was teased earlier this week in their merch announcement tweet as confirmed via the Shazam app.

Cool snazzy piano intro melody. It was borderline Pentatonix at first with the a capella style spitting. The delivery of Jack’s vocals at 0:12 “He could smoke an eighth on a school day” sounded similar to Justin Bieber’s “Holy” when he sings, “Running to the altar like a track star!” 

Belarusian stans must love that shoutout!

I love the higher pitched voice (Alba – Jack’s GF) that sings alongside Jack.


Adventure Is Out There

Lyrics: https://genius.com/Ajr-adventure-is-out-there-lyrics

Sounds like we’re on an Hawaiian beach!

“I keep losing my socks, where the hell do they go?” HAHA! I love this song already!

I detect “Karma” with the running beat.

This gives me quarantine vibes on top of sheer boredom one might feel due to restrictions in life.

With that said, it makes me motivated to explore new places when the pandemic is over. 🙂

This is one of my newest faves that I will be playing on loop!

I wish to see a music video for this track!


Bang!

Lyrics: https://genius.com/Ajr-bang-lyrics

See my previous post about this track, here.

“Bang!” really was the little engine that could last year. It matured over time and reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 Charts — their highest charting song to date in their career! It’s still their most popular track to stream on Spotify with over 130 million plays.

We’ve seen them play it on various TV shows and events over the course of last summer, fall, and winter. Some of my favorites are: Today Show, Live with Kelly & Ryan, The Ellen Show, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, One Spectacular Night & NBC’s New Year’s Eve celebrations.

It was even featured on an Apple Commercial for the holiday season too! Here’s the 30 second spot plus the various little iterations!

Fun Fact: While intended for a deluxe edition of Neotheater, this track eventually became the first single for OKO.


The Trick

Lyrics: https://genius.com/Ajr-the-trick-lyrics

note: a snippet of this song was teased in this earlier tweet of theirs announcing the album drop (on 3/24)

Whoa! I’m so caught off guard by the start of this track. So refreshing and quirky!!

The vibrating vocals are surreal.

“The truth is that I’m screwed” and later on “The truth is that we’re screwed.” Ouch that hit deep! Many will relate to this line in our strange COVID times and politically divided nation.

1:09 – Love this part; Hey… the choirs again!

“We’ll get out of this.” Great motivation!

It’s like serotonin battling against sadness or a happy pill fizzling in a glass of water that represents depressed thoughts.


Ordinaryish People (feat. Blue Man Group)

Lyrics: https://genius.com/Ajr-ordinaryish-people-lyrics

Oh hello marching band vibe! Uptempo song… love the beat of this so far.

This feels like a track where people don’t think you fit the mold of what society thinks of [adjective class] of people belong in. e.g You’re not depressed enough to be classified a depressed person. OR You’re not happy enough to be deemed cheerful in life.

I want to see the Blue Man Group on tour with them whenever they announce tour performances. It’s going to be so fire live in concert!

@ 2:55 sounds so cool!


Humpty Dumpty

Lyrics: https://genius.com/Ajr-humpty-dumpty-lyrics

OK (i like that deep sounding bit)

Huzzah for Humpty Dumpty! They should make Humpty Dumpty merch!! A lot of potential right there. Perhaps when they go on tour, they can make more merch designs. I would love for some HD stickers. 🥚

Feeling like Humpty Dumpty and down in life, just know you too can smile through adversity!

The 2:30 mark — interesting arrangement.

“Imma scream when no one’s around!” 🗣️🗣️🗣️


World’s Smallest Violin

Lyrics: https://genius.com/Ajr-worlds-smallest-violin-lyrics

This feels like a song you would play onboard a ship while swabbing the deck!

I like the intro where the bros (plus Gary?) combined to say “my, my my.” Harmonizing!

I thought this was originally going to be a sad song just by the song title alone. But nope, it’s instrumentally happy!

2:40 mark – the tempo steadily increases (head bopping fun!)

1st time M/V reactions (as of 10 AM 3/26):

Love the visual effects — that random ostrich!! When they get all chaotic at the end, that put a smile on my face.

Literally screaming when Jack didn’t freeze at the end looking confused as he stared out to the camera and only Adam and Ryan froze. Hahah! This was as fun to watch like when I first saw the “Bummerland” music video.


Way Less Sad

Lyrics: https://genius.com/Ajr-way-less-sad-lyrics

See my previous post about this track, here.

Fun Fact: This song was picked for ESPN’s baseball coverage. How cool is that!? Read this article to learn more!

The Spotify stats are only going to increase. I see that WLS is now #3 on their most popular songs list with 7.2 million plays thus far.

On YouTube, this song is nearing the 4 million views mark. (as of 3/26 1AM)

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been playing this song a lot leading up to the release of OKO. (UPDATE 3/26/21 12:40am: and I will still be playing this a lot now that the album is out)


Christmas In June

Lyrics: https://genius.com/Ajr-christmas-in-june-lyrics

Oh no its the last track! It’s starting a bit somber.

“OK” deep voice part returns.

0:15 mark — Is this a Disney movie?

Nevermind it’s going to be a brighter song.

This will likely be the credits moment when they perform this on tour.

0:40 mark — Why do I get some Sesame Street vibes?

“Ba-da-ba-da-dahs…” (hey that’s from the OKO preview/pre-order tweet they teased awhile back.)

♬ “Can we do Christmas in June?” ♬

From my take, it’s for those people who have significant others who they’ve previously had to leave away from due to their busy careers/ambitions and have to postpone or move celebrations in life. But there will be a time where they wouldn’t bail out on them anymore.

awww..what a sweet ending from a sonic standpoint. Their girlfriends must be pleased by this song. 🥰


FINAL THOUGHTS:

OK I LOVE OKO!!! So far, based on my first run through, my standout faves are:

“OK Overture,” “Adventure Is Out There,” “3 O’Clock Things,” “Ordinaryish People” & “Humpty Dumpty.”

Will definitely be playing this more and more to get a better understanding of the verses and to detect more Easter Eggs and references.


Here’s the schedule of upcoming events for AJR’s OKO Release Week! Keep in mind the “Breaking Down the Production Of” YouTube livestream has been postponed til later this week – time and day TBA on their socials.

REMINDER: Tune in tonight 6 PM ET to their acoustic livestream featuring a live orchestra! A unique link should have sent to your email after you pre-saved the album – that’s the only way to access it. It was open to everyone that day. Relive the magical event, here.


Will you be seeing them on tour if they announce one after the pandemic is long gone? What’s your favorite song off the new album? What would you rate it out of 10 and why?

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