Welcome to the Neotheater


Jason Kincaid, Sports Editor

On April 26, AJR finally released their third album, Neotheater, which is already one of the best top-to-bottom albums of 2019 and will most likely stay that way for the rest of the year. After the band got their first taste of success from their previous album The Click, it was time for them to take the next step. Hits like Weak, Sober up, and Burn the House Down got them noticed but also created huge expectations for whatever they did next. They delivered on these expectations by creating an album that leaves many of their songs up to personal interpretation, allows you to form your own connection to the song, and is just an overall roller coaster of emotions from song to song. They put all of their thoughts and feelings into each song, and you feel like you know AJR on a personal level because of how relatable their lyrics are.

The first song they released was 100 Bad Days.  This song focuses on how everyone experiences bad days, but you can always get a good story out of those days. All people love sharing stories of bad days, and that’s what most people are entertained by. They have another song that describes how people these days are entertained, but they dive even deeper into this with The Entertainment’s Here.  This song is about how everyone has to be in a constant state of entertainment and cannot handle being bored. It starts with simple things like hating a song you once loved because you heard it too much, to not being able to handle being in silence with your own thoughts. It’s hard to put that kind of meaning into such an upbeat song. Next Up Forever describes the feeling of how they are much more comfortable being the second in line instead of finally making the move to the top. Most people can relate to feeling better about getting ready to make a move instead of when you actually make that move or after you’ve made it. It perfectly hits the feeling when the anticipation of a moment is better than the actual moment.

The most interesting song of this album is Birthday Party because of the perspective it’s sung from. The whole song is written from the perspective of a newborn baby. When you’re a baby you don’t see the world for how it actually is and life seems like it will be easy. When you grow up you realize that everything you previously thought is wrong, which makes another fast-paced song still feel sad. Karma is another interesting way to present the perspective of a song. This song is a conversation with a therapist because someone feels they have been good and done everything right, but they still feel empty, waiting for the good karma to catch up. The last 35 seconds of this song is non-stop singing without even a break to breathe to show the end of the therapy session and he wants to get out any more feelings the has before leaving.

On the more emotional side of this album, there is Don’t Throw Out My Legos, which is a song about moving out, but they too scared to do it and want something left at their parents’ house so they can feel comfortable if they need to come back. For AJR, they want their legos to stay, but this song can relate to anyone scared of moving out and leaving precious childhood treasures behind. Turning out Part ii is the most brutally honest song I have ever heard and must have been the most difficult to write. This is a true story of how one of the band members felt about a person and making these thoughts public could not possibly be easy. The line that completely shocks me is when he just blatantly says, “I think I probably wasn’t in love with you. I think I probably loved the idea of you.” There is so much to say just about this one song alone, but there is no better way to understand it than listening to it and experiencing how sad and powerful this song is.

My personal favorite from this album is Dear Winter. Ryan is the band member who wrote this song, and he really wants a son one day named Winter.  He mentions all the ways he hopes to love his kid one day. The problem is he is missing a wife to have a kid with, and he can’t find one no matter how hard he searches. The best part of this song is it can be viewed as either a happy or sad song. Ryan wrote the song, and he views it as a sad song because he’ll never find this girl, but Jack is the member who sings the song and he views it as a happy song because it’s only a matter of time before he finds this girl.

There are many more songs to talk about on Neotheater, but the best way to experience it is to listen. A fun aspect that has been added to the album is that every song contains a hidden part of another song. This keeps people coming back to listen and spot these hidden Easter Eggs. AJR is coming to Buffalo in November, and I recommend going to see them in concert.