It starts in a quaint and unassuming Chelsea, NY living room…
This space doubles as a creative lab for the three brothers of the critically acclaimed three-piece AJR—Adam [bass, vocals], Jack [vocals, guitar], and Ryan [ukulele, piano, vocals]. It’s here that these young men assemble a handcrafted hybrid of sticky pop hooks, cinematic electronic beats, live instrumentation, theatrical panache, nineties nerd rock energy, and cleverly colloquial lyrics. This unpredictable homegrown style defines the trio’s second independent full- length offering, The Click and is especially impressive given that RIAA Gold certified lead single “Weak” has achieved viral success.
Speaking to an eternally D.I.Y. spirit, the thirteen tracks rally around a central question from the tune “Come Hang Out.”
“Should I go for more clicks this year, or should I follow the click in my ear?”
“The idea is that society wants me to go for more clicks: more fame and more notoriety, but sacrificing what I want to be on the inside,” Ryan elaborates. “As time went on, we realized it’s the central theme of the entire album. Since we write, produce, and record everything ourselves, the best metaphor to describe the inner struggle of following your own heartbeat is a metronome. Now, the metronome sound bookends The Click.”
First appearing on the 2016 EP and album precursor What Everyone’s Thinking, “Weak” introduced The Click to audiences everywhere with a big bang. In less than nine months, the runaway smash generated over 210 million Spotify streams and counting, achieved an RIAA Gold certification, and amassed 12 million-plus YouTube views. The guys delivered a hyper-charged live rendition of the single on TODAY in between selling out the headline “What Everyone’s Thinking” Tour. Simultaneously, the track “I’m Not Famous” would crack 8 million Spotify streams as the aforementioned “Come Hang Out” crossed the 3-million mark. All while, Billboard, Time, Paper, Pop Crush, Idolator, and more praised the group.
Beginning with solo piano and a delicate vocal, “Weak” organically builds into a rush of keys, synths, and beats fueling the massive chant, “But I’m weak, and what’s wrong with that?”
“A lot of people are faced with temptation and they’re told to be strong and confident,” Adam goes on. “We’re all weak at some point and give in to temptation when we know we shouldn’t. We wanted to turn saying ‘I’m weak’ into an anthem everyone can be proud of and shout together.”
Unfurling like a film trailer, the Broadway-style “Overture” kicks off The Click, teasing various choruses and phrases from the songs that follow it over a regal orchestra swell. Punctuated by live strings, “Drama” sharply dissects the modern generation’s preoccupation with gossip, admitting “We act like reality shows, probably cuz reality blows.” “Sober Up” [feat. Rivers Cuomo] represents a “full circle moment” for AJR as the Weezer frontman makes an electrifying cameo.
“Rivers followed us on Twitter and said he was a fan of ‘Weak’,” recalls Ryan. “It was such a great moment when he officially agreed to feature on the record. When we’re making decisions about our music and image, we sort of position ourselves as the Weezer of the 2010’s. They’ve been a huge influence. The song itself is about being at a party and feeling too grown up. You get to that moment where you’re like, ‘This isn’t really fun anymore. I’m an adult now.’ This was a true story.”