Album Review: Neotheater by AJR

Image courtesy of AXS.

AJR is an up-and-coming pop/indie band made up of brothers Adam, Jack, and Ryan Met. Their third studio album, Neotheater, was released April 26, 2019. It contains twelve coming-of-age tracks that describe the pain of growing up and letting go of childhood innocence. From a musical perspective, the album can be classified as pop, with a heavy reliance on electronic instruments.

The album itself tells a story of the brothers entering their 20s. One of the first songs describes a new person experiencing the world, both the good and the bad. In the track “Birthday Party”, one line says “I bet it’s easy staying away from drugs, I bet our parents always stay in love.” This song focuses on lost innocence and the harsh reality of the world people are born into.

“I like it because it’s not all the same genre and each song gives off different emotions. I think it’s really cool how the album goes through each step in life. Everything really fits together,” Aaron Eben (’22) said.

Songs such as “Don’t Throw Out My Legos” illustrates the brothers experience with moving out and away from their parents. One of the lines of the song says, “Can we keep my Legos at home? ‘Cause I wanna move out I don’t wanna move on,” describes the painful realities of letting go of childhood toys in favor of moving out to live one’s own life. Clearly, the purpose of the album is to tell of the natural progression of life and how people grow out of childhood.

The emotional variety that their songs contain is not new to the band, as many of their albums cover a range of emotions and tones.

While the band has a passionate fanbase, not everyone enjoys their style, and they have not exactly hit the mainstream yet.

“It’s not my type of music. It’s also very hard to get into [a] new type of music,” Anthony Peraza (’20) said.

The band itself has only had three well-known songs in the past few years that have hit top spots on the Billboard Charts, and this album is still vaguely unknown to most people. While alternative pop is not for everyone, many listeners can appreciate the musicality of the album.

“I like the punk rock vibes of some of the songs. Overall, it’s a bit too formulaic pop for me, but the instrumentation is really cool. The use of strings and woodwinds make it different from other pop music. Not my kind of music, but a cool album nonetheless,” Audrey Molina (’19) said.

AJR is going on tour from September 20, 2019, to November 22, 2019, and will be performing in over 37 cities in the United States, including a show at Radio City Music Hall on October 10.

Neotheater can be streamed on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Deezer, and GooglePlay, and purchased on iTunes and Amazon.

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