Weekly Blog April 25th, 2021: Ok Orchestra by AJR

Hello Internet!

I hope everyone is doing well and staying healthy! I just recently got my second vaccine which means in two weeks time, I will be immune to all disease and unable to be killed by mortal men. But before that happens, I’ll just have to continue wearing my mask and distancing when possible. Here in the US, all people over the age of 16 are available to get your vaccine. So what are you waiting for? Schedule the appointment now and get it done. The quicker everyone gets the vaccine flowing through their veins, the quicker we can get back to a normal, non-pandemic life. Lots of people are getting their vaccines, but that doesn’t mean we can slack on it. We are getting so close to that finish line, I can almost taste it. But enough about that, let me quickly talk about all the things I published the past couple of weeks and then move on to this week’s Weekly Blog topic.

Two Sundays ago, I published a Weekly Blog talking about the latest Monsterverse movie, Godzilla vs. Kong. Was it good? Was it bad? Was it a giant, nuclear lizard fighting a giant ape in the middle of Hong Kong? Yes, yes, and yes. If you want my full review of the movie, go ahead and give that Weekly Blog a read, but beware for those who have not watched the movie yet, my review is full of spoilers. Then last Wednesday, I published a Poem titled “Pink Memories.” Not too long ago it was Spring Blossom Season in both Animal Crossing and in real life. This Poem relates to that as well as my very real memory of going to my Junior Prom in a bright, bubblegum pink vest because my date wanted us to wear pink. I think I really pulled off wearing the pink if I do say so myself. I highly recommend that Poem if you like the color pink or if you wish you could travel to Japan to see the cherry blossoms. This past Wednesday, I published a Haiku called “Kingfisher.” This poem was actually inspired by looking through stock photos for another Poem I was writing. Just saw a picture of an egret and that made me think of a Kingfisher. Then I wrote this Poem about watching a Kingfisher perched and waiting to hunt. Sometimes my way of doing things is as simple as that. Anyway, it’s a pretty short Haiku so go ahead and check it out if you haven’t already. Then on Friday, I published the latest chapter in my Dungeons and Dragons inspired series titled “Royal Entourage.” Prince Riffen asks the rest of the group if they would like to accompany him through the city to the army camp where the Soulon Army is staying. Tensions are high all over the city and Riffen would like the company, so they agree to go with him. Things in Xylon seem to be changing and it’s not necessarily for the better. Last but not least, I published the fourth of my Character Creations. This one focuses on a Dungeons and Dragons character named Zaedel which I got to play in a campaign. The campaign only lasted for a little bit and I never got to see Zaedel’s story come to fruition so I thought I’d share the character with all of you. If you prefer these sort of characters, I have plenty of D&D Characters I have played or ideas for characters I’d hope to play one day which I’m very happy to share with all of you. Or I could just focus on characters which already show up in published pieces. Let me know either way because that helps me inform my decisions on what I want to write and publish. I know that all of that was a lot, but I hope that you go back and read any of the pieces you might have missed. I really appreciate all the support.

Now let’s move on from the stuff I’ve published recently to the stuff I’ve been listening to lately. I don’t talk a lot about music here on the Blog because frankly I don’t know too much about music. I listen to a lot of pop music and alternative rock music and 90’s country music. I actually like a lot of music but I don’t really know a ton about the terminology or the process. I tend to jump from favorite song to favorite song after I play the last one to death and I don’t really have  a favorite band. With that all being said, recently I have been a big fan of the band AJR. I even mentioned way back in May of 2019 when talking about songs that were at the top of my playlist at the time. They are a band that I don’t know a ton about, but I really love their music. It’s music I can dance to and music you can cry to. What’s not to love? AJR was a band that I found through their songs being played on the radio and even though, initially, I only knew them from those songs, I eventually expanded my horizons by listening to the rest of their catalogue. They have so many good songs that it blew me away. And since I had listened to a bunch of their songs on YouTube, their announcement of a new album was suggested to me. I don’t really follow specific artists or album release schedules, but with this new AJR album, I kept it on my radar. I was going to listen to it the day it came out. And I did. When their newest album, Ok Orchestra, was released I listened to it over and over again, taking in every song individually and as an entire album. Now even though I don’t really know anything about music and have never reviewed an album before, I’m going to talk about Ok Orchestra and my favorite songs and lyrics.

So the first song on the new album, Ok Orchestra, is the song, Ok Overture. This song takes bits from the rest of the songs on the album and smashes them together like an album appetizer. It’s a song that really grooves on its own and also prepares you for the rest of the album. I know AJR has remixed their own songs before and this definitely has the same vibe to it. Now the second song on the album is Bummerland. This song was a single released before the announcement of a full album and it’s one of my favorite songs on the album. It’s a song that I can and have listened to on repeat, over and over. It’s a song I can dance to and it has a theme which is similar to other AJR songs. Basically it’s a song all about being at rock bottom and looking forward to things being better but with an upbeat melody which makes it sound like a fun, party song.

“But I hope my bank account gets so low. Even zero. So next year.
When I buy that first beer. I’ll be a goddamn hero.”

-Bummerland by AJR

The third song on the album is 3 O’Clock Things (I promise I won’t talk about literally every song on the album, but these first three are so good I have to talk about them). This is another song that I really enjoy and it is probably my favorite song on the album that wasn’t released beforehand (like Bummerland). This song is the perfect song to listen to when it’s late at night and your head is full of random thoughts. I don’t know about you, but I’ve definitely had moments where I’m laying in bed at 3 AM wondering if people really hate me. Or I have imaginary arguments and conversations. This song speaks to those thoughts. In the later half of the song they also talk about politics and the idea that artists have to stay on the fence and not take hard stances so they don’t aliante fans. AJR doesn’t really agree with this sentiment based on the lyrics of this song and the lyrics of their other song Burn The House Down.   

“If I keep on talking politics, my friend’ll dip, they’re over it.
If I keep on talking politics, I’m Hamilton (Without the hits)
[…] It’s all a bit cloudy, but there’s one thing I know.
That if you’re fucking racist, then don’t come to my show.”

-3 O’Clock Things by AJR

Jumping to the seventh song on the album, we have Bang! This was another song released as a single before the album and is probably the most popular of the songs on their album (based on things like how many times I hear this song on the radio compared to their other songs.) I actually learned that Bang was originally made to be on their last album but was scrapped and later reworked to go on this album. I think this song is very distinct from the other songs on the album and even though the lyrics share similar themes, it seems to stick out on the album. All in all it makes sense that it was released as a single and it’s still a great song, so I don’t mind listening to it again when I listen through this entire album. Moving slightly down the list to the ninth track with Ordinaryish People (feat. Blue Man Group). This is another song I like (am I a broken record yet?) and it has an interesting message as it talks about fame and perceived by groups of people. Obviously AJR isn’t the most popular band in the world, but their level of success does make them celebrities which can leave a divide between them and “ordinary people.” The lyrics also talk about how you can sometimes be between groups of people and find yourself in the middle between smart and dumb or pretty and ugly. Sometimes we are not an extreme, but an average between the two.

“Your happy friends call you depressing. ‘Cause you wonder why we’re alive.
Your downer friends think you’re too happy, too happy.
‘Cause you still celebrate sometimes.”

-Ordinaryish People by AJR (feat. The Blue Man Group)

Next I want to talk about Tracks 12 and 13 which round out the album. The twelfth track is called Way Less Sad and I’ve noticed that this song is the one song from this new album which seems to be getting the most radio traffic. Now the song was released before the new album was released but after it was announced. So it’s distinct from the other songs which were released as singles. Anyway, I’m also a huge fan of this song and it’s message that focuses on things like depression, anxiety, and mental illness. The lyrics hit on the need for AJR to escape a gloomy New York City while also not being comfortable in a sunny LA. It’s not about being in love with the life we are dealt, but instead just focusing on being a little happier and being less sad. As someone who deals with things like mental illness, it gives me a little bit of hope as I try to focus on being happier and more positive. I’m trying every day to be way less sad. Finally, the thirteenth song on the album is Christmas in June. This song is all about how the singer has trouble balancing working and making music and his personal life. He misses big events like Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve, and Prom trying to make his music career work. He suggests they should have Christmas in June so he doesn’t miss it. The singer even talks about how he worries that if he has kids, he’ll end up missing big events in the kid’s life. Success comes with a price which often includes missing important moments or having to put work in front of personal events, friendships, and relationships. It’s important to keep in mind that life is all about balancing the things you have to do with the things you want to do. Don’t become overwhelmed with work and then have no time for the people you love.

Now obviously I did not have time to talk about every song on the album. Even the songs I did mention, I didn’t get to go as in depth as I wanted to. I honestly didn’t think I’d have so much to say but I just really like AJR and their music. The songs are so catchy and the lyrics have some deep meanings behind them. And even though I don’t know too much about music, I hope that I gave you a pretty good impression of this album. I want more people to check out AJR and their music and I encourage you to go listen to this album. This isn’t sponsored or anything. I just really like their music!

Thank you so much for reading through that Weekly Blog all about Ok Orchestra by AJR. If you liked that Weekly Blog, feel free to give it a Like. You can also leave a comment down below about the album. I’d love to know if you are a fan of AJR or if this is the first time hearing about them. What did you think of the album? What was your favorite song? Do you agree with my interpretations of the song? I’d love to hear all your thoughts down below. If you are new here or if you just started reading my stuff, I’d suggest that you Follow me here on WordPress. I have a goal of making a positive and creative space on the internet and over 700 people have decided to join that community. If you want to know what I post when I post it, Following me is the best way to do that. I’m very appreciative of all the love and support I get from my Followers as well as my lurkers. All the love and support makes me so happy and it makes my entire day/week/month/year.

Thank you again and I hope you have a fantastic week!

-Allen_The_Writer


Header Photo Credit to Vareity’s review of Ok Orchestra
https://variety.com/2021/music/reviews/ajr-band-ok-orchestra-album-revew-1234938983/

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