Reviews

Wallows Combat Fear With Resilient Optimism in “OK”

After their coming-of-age and insecurity-themed debut album that was Nothing Happens, Wallows have proved themselves to be an introspective indie rock band that combines catchy hooks with thoughtful song content. Not to mention, they’ve consistently added in personal quirks, whether that has entailed cat gifs for live shows or distorted faces in music videos.

It has been over a year now since Nothing Happens, and, well, in terms of new music, nothing much has happened. Fans have expectantly wondered what the trio could be up to next, and whether the following sounds might still present the iconic quirk and boppy introspection we have attached to their image. Now with the release of “OK,” it’s clear that the band is sticking to what has made them lovable, proving that a bad song from Wallows will probably never be possible.

What Dylan Minnette, Cole Preston and Braeden Lemasters have done well as a trio has been maintaining a relatable, tangible image of themselves. In other words, the lyric video for “OK” is comprised of nothing more than a fish eye filter, as the three goons jump around singing the words. It’s cheap, simple (minus Cole trying to be extra with push-ups) and something the frat boys next door would do.

The track fades into an electro-explosion of guitar, bass and keyboard, which already gives us the electronic feel of their smash hit “Are You Bored Yet?” Minnette comes in with a laidback tone: “I know you so well // You know that I can tell // The slightest difference in your facial expression.” He proceeds to paint a picture of the in-between stages of a relationship — particularly, when a couple knows and loves each other, but still carries insecurities over whether the significant other’s love is fake or could easily crumble. With the main hook “Can we get up and try to feel okay again?” Minnette emphasizes that the most important part of this stage is pushing through and ignoring the insecurities that come your way.

Lemasters’ croonings later in the track are reminiscient of the band’s 2017 track “Uncomfortable.” These song shout-outs make “OK” easy listening for any well-versed fan — there are plenty of familiar elements to make it flow with previous releases, while adding in bits of uniqueness to bridge the gap for what’s potentially to come. Couple this familiarity with the guitar riff syncopations, claps and electronic “OK” responses throughout the track, and it’s nearly impossible not to dance or sing along. It’s catchy and optimistic, despite the insecurities laid out in the lyrics.

But the song’s placement in Wallows’ history is not the only success “OK” has. What’s even better is the song’s placement in the current pandemic with COVID-19. Wallows summed this up perfectly in their newsletter: “Now, given the state of the world and the health crisis we happen to be in at the time of the song’s release, we feel like the main line/hook of the song, “Can we get up and try to feel okay again?” sort of takes on a new meaning/purpose itself for people at this moment in time. The thought that no matter where we are or how alone/lost we feel right now, we can get up again and try to feel OK. We’re in it together.”

We’re ready for whatever comes next, Wallows, comfortable or “Uncomfortable.” All that matters is we know two things will always remain the same: your goofiness and your optimism. And we’re so grateful for that.

Featured Image: Atlantic Records