I did listen to the leak, but I already preordered the album so they're getting my money either way.
"OK Orchestra" is a very strange album. I don't mean like the "wAcKy" or "eXpErImEnTaL" music they're known for making. No, I mean like actually inventive and creative shit. I don't think the zaniness works in album's favor every time, but there are just so many really fucking cool moments. I may be biased because I've been a big AJR fan for years (Hell, I even have an autographed poster from the Neotheater Tour), but that's because I always believed that AJR had potential. I feel like most of their criticism stems from how poorly they've executed their ideas over the years. I definitely knew they were going for an extremely niche style, and "OK Orchestra," in many ways, is that style. It's kinda what I've been wanting from them for a really long time.
The overture is so damn hype, so I was disappointed when it was followed up by "Bummerland," which is the worst song on the record by far. The albums picks up really quickly however, and honestly just keeps getting better. "3 O'Clock Things" sounds great but misses the mark lyrically. "My Play" is the second worst song on the record. Not to say that it's bad, the message is good, but along with "Bummerland," the song has absolutely no sonics. "Joe" absolutely slaps but I have no idea who he's talking about. "Adventure Is Out There" as well as "The Trick" both are really nice songs. I wouldn't call them 10s, but they're nice to listen to. )EDIT: After listening to it a few more times, I’m giving “Adventure Is Out There” a 10.) I find "Bang!" to be really fun and creative.
After those songs is when it REALLY picks up though. "Ordinaryish People (feat. Blue Man Group)" was so damn cool (but the verses really drag). When I saw the tracklist for the first time and learned that there'd be a song called "Humpty Dumpty," I thought it'd be so fucking cringe. It's actually really put together and doesn't fall into the trap of being another stupid fucking AJR song. "WORLD'S SMALLEST VIOLIN" IS SO FUCKING GOOD. IT IS THE BEST AJR SONG FIGHT ME. "Way Less Sad" is also really good too. Lastly, "Christmas in June" solidified for me that this album is indeed the best AJR album by a long shot. It has so many cool sounds and lyrics that have a lot of emotion behind them. This wasn't an accident. They must've learned quite a bit from being bullied nonstop on the internet lol.
What AJR did with this record was make a playful and whimsical atmosphere that didn't feel cheap or cringey. It just felt really fun and lighthearted. I am very proud of AJR for sticking to this sound until they figured out how to do it right.
OK Overture – 10
Bummerland – 6
3 O'Clock Things – 9
My Play - 8
Joe - 10
Adventure Is Out There – 10
Bang! – 10
The Trick – 9
Ordinaryish People (feat. Blue Man Group) – 10
Humpty Dumpty – 10
World's Smallest Violin – 10
Way Less Sad – 10
Christmas In June – 10