AJR‘s new album OK ORCHESTRA seems to allude to Radiohead‘s iconic OK Computer record, though the brother trio tells ABC Audio that they weren’t trying to reference the “Karma Police” band.
“I think it’s less of a reference than we were going for,” laughs band member Jack Met. “That honestly wasn’t the first thing that came to mind, surprisingly, given that it is one of the most beloved albums of the last few decades.”
“We’re definitely Radiohead fans,” adds Ryan Met. “But it definitely just felt like more, ‘OK, this is actually the perfect title for this album,’ and less, ‘Let’s pay an homage to a previous album.'”
Strangely enough, OK ORCHESTRA isn’t the first album of 2020 to follow the OK Computer title format. That would be Weezer’s OK Human, which dropped a few months before OK ORCHESTRA back in January. While AJR collaborated with Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo on their hit “Sober Up,” Jack says that, like with OK Computer, the parallel titles were unintentional.
“That was actually a complete coincidence,” Jack says. “[Cuomo] had texted me about it. I didn’t know that he had an album coming out called OK Human until he texted me, ‘Coincidence on the album titles, man!’…He was happy with it, though, I think he was excited.”
Upon listening to OK ORCHESTRA, you can tell why AJR at least picked the second part of the title, given the record’s grand, theatrical sound. As for the first part, that relates to AJR’s ever-present lyrical theme of just trying to be OK.
“‘OK’ is also a word that we say quite frequently in our music,” Jack explains, pointing out that the AJR’s 2019 album, Neotheater, actually ends with a distorted voice saying, “OK.”
“That was part of our thinking as well,” he says.
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