Analogue Music | AJR - The Click
The Click

The Click

Artist: AJR · Written by Maria Edwards

Date Released

9 September, 2017


AJR Productions


48 minutes

As I wrote this piece, I was struck by the idea regarding the value of how I was choosing to spend my time: "Is it worth anything?"

Is it worth my energy? Is it worth something to other people? 

This internal debate was only further highlighted by the album that has consumed most of my listening time this past month. The Click by AJR presents the vulnerability of young adults in a distinguished and compelling way that the question of worth evaporates as "It's so hard/ can we skip to the good part?" ("The Good Part") plays through my headphones.  

The three-brother band got their start performing on street corners, playing to people who couldn't care less about music. Their dogged pursuit of doing what they love has now landed them a collaborations with Ingrid Michaelson (check out 'Celebrations'), and ultimately their own headlining tour in the US. 

The Click opens with an overture that melds the major lyrical themes from each track and weaves a story set to undulating pianos, cellos, and the always-present synth board. Take the computerized magic of Jon Bellion and the humbling lyrical prowess of Twenty One Pilots and you get somewhere pretty close to the sound of AJR. 

Made up of Adam, Jack, and Ryan Met (hence the name), AJR derives their confidence and content from a literal brotherhood founded on shared experiences and viewpoints. 

Youthful indulgence is paired with the crippling reality of growing up, all while maintaining a light mood and some steady beats. Stuck in the in-between, facing the pressures of adulthood, and still unsure of basically everything, The Click provides a voice for all the thoughts most of us keep hidden away: "You say I turned out fine/ I think I'm still turning out" ("Turning Out"). 

With lighter instrumental tones to balance out the occasionally dark and dismal content, AJR approach difficult topics with ease; addressing things like drug use, the fallible nature of humanity, and the humbling moment of having to ask for help when life hits its lowest point.

"Call My Dad" and "Sober Up" reveal the success and impact vulnerability can bring to artists when included as main themes in a body of work. In a world defined by the strength of standing resolute in the face of emotional strain, these tracks demonstrate the changing viewpoint of emotional fortitude. "Won't you help me sober up/ growing up it made me numb" ("Sober Up"), but then a pleading chorus rounds out a desperate, yet surprisingly hopeful track.

Perhaps, at the end of the day, we just to hear that we're not alone in our troubles. And the boys of AJR have been there and know what it's like to be stuck in that in weird limbo of adult responsibilities and powerful nostalgia for youthful ideals. This band has secured itself as a personable, approachable, and vulnerable band that has succeeded in connecting with listeners across genres.