Ben’s Bops – Week 1 AJR’s ‘Birthday Party’

Ben Wallace, Website Editor

I am going to be honest. I do not have a particular type of music that I like. If someone puts on a song, and I like it, I could care less what genre it is from. I think that’s important to know when it comes to the first edition of my music reviews.

But without further ado, let’s get into the review. My song recommendation for this week comes from a relatively unknown band of three brothers named AJR. The band is named off of a combination of all their names, Adam who is 27, Jack who is 21, and Ryan who is 24. Based out of their New York City apartment, AJR has been creating music that is a little different from most pop music.

The brothers regular instruments and somehow transform them into a completely different sound. With this unique presentation of music they do not really fit into one genre of music, they honestly encompass almost all type of music, they even have a song featuring Lil Yachty. (Which is a whole other song. I wont get into to how awesome, weird and out of the ordinary that was.)

Their newest album Neotheater is set to release on April 26, but like every band in the history of bands, they have decided to tease their audience by releasing small segments of the album.

My song recommendation for this week comes from that list of songs. It’s called “Birthday Party,” and when I first heard it my immediate reaction was “What on earth have they done?” The song starts with a tune that sounds like it is straight out of a Scooby Doo suspense scene. I honestly had no idea what I was listening to until I got deeper into the song.

The lead singer goes on to describe how he has just woken up in a hospital and how a minute ago he did not exist. But after this seeming innocent introduction, AJR begins to unpack significant problems in our society.

Coupled with an upbeat chorus, AJR makes comments about the United States from the perspective of a newborn child: from total innocence. “I bet it’s easy staying away from drugs,” the group sings. “I bet our parents always stay in love,” “I bet this Instagram is a load of fun, its best to show the best of everyone” and “I bet my country is nice to immigrants” — all parts of the song. Through this commentary, AJR essentially calls out the effect social media has on our youth, the drug epidemic in our country, our policy on immigrants and much more.

But the most impressive aspect of this song — and what I think gives it a deeper meaning — is that they are presenting this information from the stance of innocence.

On the surface, without actually experiencing the American society, AJF says it looks like we are perfect. It looks like our children never turn to drugs, that they do not weigh themselves against others on social media and that our country is open to all people. But once you go into the U.S. or society in general, it’s easy to see that this innocent representation of the American society is just a facade.