"I knew this day was coming," Rivers Cuomo tells Apple Music. "I've always been such a fan of classical music and opera. And yet, I feel like it's overdue, like I just kind of got stuck in this pattern of, 'Okay, we're a rock band. This is what we do. We don't want to get soft too soon.' But really getting encouragement from [producer] Jake [Sinclair], and then just a light went off like, 'Oh, this is going to be great.'" After delaying the release of their long-promised shred opus Van Weezer, Weezer instead dove into OK Human, a 12-track change of pace that features a 38-piece orchestra, no click tracks, no computers, and, most surprisingly, no electric guitar. And the tonal shift matched the pandemic neuroses that fueled Cuomo's lyric writing. "I'm so anxious about looking around my house and seeing, okay, there's one child on that device, there's the other child on that device, my wife's over there on that device," Cuomo says. "Everyone's looking in a different direction at a different device, and that's the way things are going. Nothing I can do about it, but I just can't help but feel a sense of loss and anxiety about it."
Those worries take center stage on whimsical tracks like "All My Favorite Songs," "Playing My Piano," and "Screens," while the sprawling orchestration adds drama to "Numbers" and "Bird With a Broken Wing" as Cuomo stares down his inadequacies. "I was just feeling pretty irrelevant and passed over and past my prime," says the 50-year-old singer-songwriter. "I was feeling pretty sorry for myself." It's not all dark clouds, however—Weezer fashions a sliver of optimism with the triumphant "Here Comes the Rain" and luscious closer "La Brea Tar Pits." "Hearing it back for the first time with the orchestra, it's like, yeah, those are the chords I wrote, and that's the melody I wrote," Cuomo says. "But man, it's like seeing in three dimensions for the first time or something. It's just gorgeous. And I can't believe we haven't done it before."