The band, AJR released its latest single “Bummerland” on Aug. 31. With its catchy vocals, creative lyrics and an upbeat instrumental, the song gives listeners a sense of optimism during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
According to member Ryan Met’s official Instagram @ryanajrbrothers, “We had this big feeling that it [“Bummerland”] needed to come out right now. That our fanbase needed something to smile at, in this year of frowning.”
The song is about the coronavirus and the feeling of being at rock bottom. Instead of it being sad, the song is hopeful, with the chorus ending with, “Bummerland, give a cheer / ‘Cause you’re only going up from here.”
Despite the challenges the world has faced these past few months, the band emphasizes that things can only get better from the lowest point. References to the pandemic include the lyric, “This month I got seven haircuts / And now my hair is all gone / It’s sad but I’ve been alone for too long / So I keep getting haircuts’.”
One fan noted on Genius.com that this lyric is talking about barber shops and salons reopening. The lead singer, Jack Met, is supposedly going out to get haircuts just so he can socialize again. Another lyric, “Bummerland, here I am / Better nix my summer plans” is about the fact that due to the coronavirus, summer plans were canceled, including their tour.
They teased the song on their social media with a picture of the three brothers captioned, “Cause you’re only going up from here,” which is one of the lyrics. AJR also did a virtual scavenger hunt the day before the release of the song and music video. The first one hundred fans to complete it won a Zoom call with the band and an exclusive first look at the music video. I completed the scavenger hunt but unfortunately, I was not fast enough. Despite not winning, it was a fun challenge to distract myself from the pandemic.
AJR has been known to experiment with many unique sounds and topics. Musically, “Bummerland” is executed wonderfully. Their creativity and musicality shine throughout the song, especially during the instrumental break near the end. It starts with a voice singing a simple melody, and transitions seamlessly into a member playing trumpet, guitar and finally a violin. The transition is so smooth that it is barely noticeable, making it a great addition to the song.
While AJR has not won any awards yet, the band has been nominated for five times, including for: Best new rock/alternative artist from the iHeart Radio Awards.
The band also released the song “Bang” back in Feburary 2020, reaching No. 9 on the billboard music chart in August 2020.
Overall, as a fan myself, I am always blown away by the group’s ability to create incredible music. Their attention to detail and creativity amaze me every time I hit the play button.