Keep Your Head in the Clouds with AJR's Neotheater
By Mercedes Caldera-Perez
For the recent release of the newest episode of the Ok Orchestra tour documentary on AJRs YouTube channel, I want to talk about Neotheater! Being AJRs third album it is generally focused on accepting the factors of growing up and dealing with the realization of sacrifices that were made along the way. The album cover shows the band sitting on a pile of instruments up above the clouds, the dominating color being blue which fits the tone. The music in this album gives a very peaceful yet dreadful feeling. Here are a few songs from the track.
¨Next Up Forever¨, usually the album's opening song is an overture, a mashup of all the songs, but this song does a great job inplace of it. This song is in the point of view of the band themselves as they are talking about releasing Neotheater, wanting it to be a hit, to be next up forever.
¨Birthday Party¨ talks about how some people, generally kids, view the world. It's all seen in rose tinted glasses, social media isn't watched by cruel eyes, it's best to show the best in everyone. Everyone always gets along in this world and we hope it stays that way.
¨100 Bad Days¨ was the hit of the album when it was released, and for good reasons. The instrumental is amazing, sounding like an upbeat lonely dream, the lyrics are simple yet easily relatable from some point in life. This song talks about sort of wanting bad things to happen to you. Turning those situations into stories to tell to make sure you still seem interesting.
¨Don't Throw Out My Legos¨ is one of AJRs most well known songs, talking about moving out and wanting to keep the things that have sentimental value, not wanting to throw one thing away because of the memories that are hard to let go of. ¨I want to move out, I don't want to move on¨ is one of the repeated lines in the song.
¨Turning Out Pt.ii¨ is the sequel to ¨Turning out¨ from their previous album The Click. This song is about having to accept that the special people around you will eventually move on and ¨grow up¨ without you, even the ones you love the most. Love is so simple yet so fragile, losing a connection from seeing how someone has now turned out to be.
The next song ¨Karma¨ is about meeting the expectations of a ¨good person¨ and waiting for something in return, the good karma doesn't seem to be working as expected.
¨Finale¨ is the perfect end to the album. This song seems like it would fit perfectly as an end credits track to a film or show. It talks about the feeling of ending this exciting project, the backup vocals are representing the audience, saying ¨can't wait to see what you do next¨. Now they're catching up with the realization that they somehow got from being in ¨next up forever¨ where they were hoping to be a hit, to the present where they have released Neotheater and it is doing as well as they originally hoped.
This album and its storybook like structure is something to remember. I would highly recommend AJR if you like listening to indie pop, and specifically this album first to get a good example of the rest of their music if you haven't heard them before.