You may have heard their songs on the radio already, like "Weak" or "Sober Up," but AJR (which stands for the first initial of all three of the brother's names: Adam, Jack and Ryan) has plenty of other lyrically fantastic songs. They are so great, in fact, that their latest album should be nominated for a Grammy. Seriously.
I had the awesome chance to attend my first concert of theirs a few weeks ago, and needless to say they did not disappoint. While they aren't as well-known as other artists at the moment, I am happy to be one of their fans in their slowly growing fanbase consisting of now thousands across the globe.
Being a musician myself, I am one to really appreciate good artistry, and that is exactly why AJR does what they do. They truly have a talent for songwriting and composing, and I want more people to recognize this obscene amount of crazy-good originality. I certainly could not fit them all on this list, but here are some lyrics from their songs which I think deserve the utmost praise.
1. "I gotta go so much bigger/ So everybody's proud of me." - "Next Up Forever"
This song has such a cool concept since it describes being scared to do something and not living up to the expectation of it in your head. Here, AJR is talking about making their third album; plus, the 40s/50s Disney-choir vibe is so cool.
2. "Can we keep my Legos at home / 'Cause I wanna move out/ I don't wanna move on." - "Don't Throw Out My Legos
This song reveals the fear of growing up and trying to keep the magic of youth alive even as you move out of your childhood home. I completely love this kind of vulnerable song- just try and not step on any Legos when you listen to this.
3. "I tripped on my ankle and fractured my elbow/ But doesn't that mean that the tour's gonna sell though?/ I try to explain the good faith that's been wasted/ But after an hour it sounds like complaining." - "Karma"
I keep saying it (and we're only on the third set of lyrics!), but this song is AMAZING. With the mesh of therapy-talk and the concept of when good karma would arrive in everyday life, I think this song can be relatable for any human being.
4. "It really doesn't seem like there's anyone for me/ But dear Winter, I hope you like your name/ I'm hoping that some day, I can meet you on this Earth/ But shit, I gotta meet your mom first." - "Dear Winter"
Listening to this song for the first time was a JOURNEY. I am kind of spoiling it by writing these lyrics in particular, but that is when I realized what he was actually singing about; please give this one a listen.
5. "Am I ready for love?/ Or maybe just a best friend/ Should there be a difference?/ Do you have instructions?" - "Turning Out"
This one is more personal for me, to be honest, but it's a love song that describes its emotions very truthfully— how someone in a relationship realizes how they may have not felt the way they thought they did in the first place. Keep this song in your pocket, because AJR may have revisited this one.
6. "They wanted heaven from me/ I gave 'em hell/ Now they want something bigger/ I'm overwhelmed." - "Finale (Can't Wait To See What You Do Next)"
We're back to that Disney feel! The chorus highlights the fact that they tried to put all their cards on the table with this album, and they sure as hell did. But anyone could relate to this lyric by having difficulty to outdo themselves with a new project, really. Plus, this one is great for blasting in your car.
7. "A hundred bad days made a hundred good stories/ A hundred good stories make me interesting at parties, yeah/ No, I ain't scared of you/ No, I ain't scared of you no more." - "100 Bad Days"
This song is such a good way of looking at the positive side of when bad things go wrong in a totally new light. Most of your good stories stem from bad experiences, right? It's genius to make a song about that!
8. "Now the finale's done and I'm alone/ I'm on a Netflix trip here on my phone/ But who I am is in these episodes/ So don't you tell me that it's just a show." - "Netflix Trip"
Not only do I absolutely love this lyric for what it exactly says, but these guys tell the story of their lives in accordance with watching "The Office" on Netflix. I absolutely love this song, and it's so clever to truly mix two art forms (music and television) together!
9. "When did all our problems get so small?/ We break up with lovers and friends/ Make love to the rumors instead." - "Drama"
Everyone gets caught up in drama, and I'm glad AJR made a truthful song about the addiction to gossip and rumors. Yet again, anyone can relate to this; we are only human, after all.
10. "These things take time/ Mom and dad, they have a good life/ But what the hell am I gonna do with mine?" - "The Good Part"
For a college student that is still figuring out exactly what she wants to do in life, these finishing lyrics are the perfect depiction of how I'm feeling. I want to enjoy the ride to get there, of course, but it is all very frustrating to me in this moment. Thanks for putting my exact feelings (yet again) into a song, AJR.
11. "You start thinking 'bout the clock ticks/ You get nervous, you start stressin'/ So how am I supposed to fit this/ In three minutes and thirty seconds." - "Three-Thirty"
Another song with a great concept! Mixing the stresses of making a hit song in under three minutes and thirty seconds with the world's short attention span today is literally such a good parallel. Plus, the song is exactly that long!
12. "I think I probably wasn't in love with you/ I think I probably loved the idea of you/ And though I may be missing the feel of you/ I think I probably wasn't in love with you." - "Turning Out Pt. ii"
And we're back to the sad song! I was so excited when I found out a part two to "Turning Out" would be happening, and this song did not lyrically disappoint. It is so relatable for me, and though it's so brutally honest and uncomfortable, in a way, to sing about these feelings, it really does the job right of putting a hard message out there.
13. "I bet I'll never outgrow all my friends/ I bet I'll see a female president/ Yeah, I can tell this life'll be a cinch/ And that's just how it is." - "Birthday Party"
I love a song that is up for interpretation, and this one does exactly that. While the vocals talk about the virtue of innocence at birth and all of the assumptions of the world that come along with it, the beat behind it is so fun.
14. "If I write a song/ Preaching what is wrong/ Will they let me sing on TV?/ Should I keep it light?/ Is that right?" - "Burn the House Down"
This is one of their songs you could definitely put on in a club or a party (plus, I really like the trumpet in the back). AJR is preaching about being scared to be opinionated in their lyrics, and this also could be talking about people's actions when the discussions of politics come up.
15. "I do not belong here (No)/ You all clearly do/ But I'm a good pretender/ 'Cause I'm just like you." - "Pretender"
A song revealing the truth that everyone pretends to be "normal" for the sake that everyone else is playing the game, and Steve Aoki and Lil Yachty are on the track? Sign me up!
16. "You've never heard of me/ Or the weird shit I do and say/ That's my favorite thing/ That I'm not famous, no." - "I'm Not Famous"
Although AJR do have recognizable songs from radio success, they are ultimately not "famous," and they fully recognize that in this song, and they talk about how much they appreciate that! I would love to hear what the A-list music artists of today have to say about this song.
17. "If I need a pick me up/ Would you come and pick me up?/ I could really use a bud like you." - "Bud Like You"
This song does have a pirate-chant type of lyric in the chorus, which is so addictive to keep listening to. These lyrics, however, are so clever for an end-of-the-night-and-hug-your-best-friend type of track.
18. "Come hang out 'cause you're out of your mind/ You're working so damn hard you forgot what you like/ And come hang out don't you leave us behind/ But I'll be there next time, I'll be there next time." - "Come Hang Out"
It would be hard to believe if I came across someone who said they do not occasionally have a case of FOMO. Here, AJR talks about working so hard that they miss out on having fun times hanging out with their friends. Though this song is also great for a party, the message behind it is honestly pretty sad.
19. "I wanna be next up forever/ So the best is always yet to come." - "Next Up Forever"
This song is so good, I had to include it twice in this list! These lyrics are just perfectly worded to make the message come across even clearer... did I mention I love them yet?
20. "I'm not where I'm supposed to be/ I hope that you're missing me/ 'Cause it makes me feel young." - "Sober Up"
You may think that this song is about sobering up from a hangover after a night of drinking, but if you listen closely, it isn't that after all; it's about calling out to someone to make you feel something after a long time, just like a harmless crush in elementary school. It's such a true and simple concept, and I can't believe no one has written about the matter until now.