Our top 10 AJR songs list looks at the songs of an American band famed for its successful indie-pop career. AJR was formed in 2005 by the Met brothers, Adam, Jack, and Ryan. The trio started with writing songs while experimenting with their music in their apartment. In 2006, the multi-instrumentalist brothers became street performers. They were mainly situated at Washington Square Park and Central Park.
Initially, they performed covers before later introducing their fans to their own creations. Before they played multiple instruments, Adam was the band’s bassist, Jack the harmonica player, while Ryan was the pianist. AJR remained active through the years until the stars aligned in their favor after releasing the debut single “I’m Ready.”
By the end of 2013, AJR was named among the up-and-coming indie-pop stars. The band released the EP 6foot1 in 2013. However, the EP was renamed I’m Ready (2013) after signing a recording contract with Warner Music Group. After the success of the Platinum-certified debut single “I’m Ready,” the band went back to the studio to release a second EP, Infinity (2014).
The EP came just months ahead of the band’s debut studio album Living Room (2015). Living Room (2015) featured the band’s debut single, “I’m Ready.” Other great songs on the album include “Infinity,” Thirsty,” and “Woody Allen.” Sadly, the album didn’t make it to the charts. AJR hit the studio to record and release its third EP, What Everyone’s Thinking (2016). The EP performed better than the band’s debut album Living Room (2015). One of the best AJR songs from the EP includes the lead single “Weak.” The song remains one of the band’s best releases thanks to its Platinum-certified status and over five hundred million streams on Spotify.
AJR returned to the studio to record and release its sophomore album, The Click (2017). The album featured his successful hits “Weak,” “Sober Up,” “Drama,” and “I’m Not Famous.” On the deluxe version of the sophomore album, AJR featured one of their most streamed hit, “Burn the House Down.” The collaborative hit between AJR, Lil Yatchy, and Steve Aoki, “Pretender,” was also featured on the deluxe version of The Click.
Once more, the band hit the studio to record and release its third studio album Neotheater (2019). Neotheater (2019) peaked at number one on the Billboard Top Rock Albums and Billboard Independent Albums charts. On the Billboard 200, the album managed a peak position of number eight. Neotheater (2019) is home to the band’s tracks “100 Bad Days,” “Dear Winter,” and “Birthday Party.”
The band’s most recent album release effort was marked by OK Orchestra (2021). OK Orchestra (2021) rose to the tenth position on the Billboard 200 and first on the Billboard Top Rock Albums and Billboard Top Alternative Albums. “Bummerland,” Way Less Sad,” and “Bang!” are some of the pleasant-sounding and popular gems featured on OK Orchestra (2021).
AJR has been nominated for several accolades in the Teen Choice Awards, iHeartRadio Music Awards, Billboard Music Awards, and American Music Awards. The band’s greatest win was the Billboard Music Awards’ Top Rock Song in 2021 for “Bang!” AJR’s musical style has been primarily indie-pop throughout the band’s career. However, some of AJR’s songs feature doo-wop, dubstep, and electronic elements. Here are the best AJR songs sampled from the band’s four studio albums and five extended plays.
#10- Dear Winter
Opening our top 10 AJR songs list is the candid ballad “Dear Winter.” The song was penned by lead vocalist Ryan Met and featured on the band’s album, Neotheater (2019). “Dear Winter” finds Ryan writing a letter to his unborn child. The lyrics spell in bold his paranoia about being a dad and the uncertainty he is fighting in his mind. Despite the fears, Ryan shows deep faith and belief that he will find a good woman who will nurture the kids.
#9- Let the Games Begin
“Let the Games Begin” is a 2015 single by the indie-pop band AJR. The song’s whole concept was built around the lyric “I’m gonna be a people person in a room of people-people.” “Let the Games Begin” features an Irish dancy feeling that adds to the catchy overall feel. The sounds of the bugle also add glamour to the song’s melodic vibe.
#8- Way Less Sad
Our number eight song on the top 10 AJR songs list is the up-tempo pop ballad “Way Less Sad. The song is featured on AJR’s fourth studio album, OK Orchestra (2021). “Way Less Sad” finds the band singing about mental health. The move to talk about mental health came at the most optimal time, the Covid-19 pandemic era.
While the pandemic period might have taken a deep stab at the mental health of the masses, AJR sprinkles some optimism with this melodic hit. Things might not have been back to the way they used to be. However, the band believed that appreciating and celebrating the little wins mattered. “Way Less Sad” samples the horn from the 1975 successful hit “My Little Town” by Simon & Garfunkel.
#7- I’m Not Famous
“I’m Not Famous” is one of the magical picks from the band’s album The Click (2017). The song finds AJR relishing the upside of not sipping from the cup of fame. It is quite a paradox to have the band not believe in being famous at the time of the song’s release. Nevertheless, “I’m Not Famous” serves as the perfect song to show how much society is drunk in the notion of fame and popularity.
#6- Sober Up ft. Rivers Cuomo
Number six on our top 10 AJR songs is the hit “Sober Up.” The song is one of the notable releases on the band’s sophomore album, The Click (2017). AJR collaborated with Rivers Cuomo of the Weezer on this track, which alludes to the subject’s first crush in elementary school. The song is motivated by the urge to see things in a simplistic and uncomplicated nature, like in childhood. One of the simplistic things is love at such a tender age which is in its purest form.
#5- I’m Ready
“I’m Ready” is the band’s debut single initially featured on the EP I’m Ready (2013). Later, the song was released on the band’s debut album Living Room (2015). “I’m Ready” samples SpongeBob SquarePants saying a phrase similar to the song’s title. This Platinum-certified electropop ballad introduced AJR to fame, having it rise to position sixty-five on the Billboard Hot 100.
#4- 100 Bad Days
While Post Malone has “A Thousand Bad Times” on Hollywood’s Bleeding (2019), AJR has “100 Bad Days,” a musical gem featured on Neotheater (2019). The band penned the song from the perspective of young men who have undergone failure, rejection, and bad days in their twenties. However, the song finds the Met brothers drawing inspiration from the banks of “Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson. This follows the deep belief they now possess that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!
Initially, the hit “Weak” by AJR was a musical gem from the EP What Everyone’s Thinking (2017). The successful hit was later featured on the band’s sophomore album The Click (2017). “Weak” finds the band singing about striking balance between the urge to fall for temptation and the resistance to avoid it all.
The band narrates about a guy who wishes to stop indulging in self-destructive behavior such as drug abuse. However, this proves to be a hard nut to crack, having him eventually fall for the temptation. “Weak” peaked at number seventy-three on the Billboard Hot 100. SWV released a song under the same title (but different lyrics) on their debut album, It’s About Time (1992).
“Bang!” is AJR’s most successful pop ballad by AJR on the Billboard Hot 100. The pop ballad serves as the lead single to OK Orchestra (2021). “Bang!” is famed for its grandiloquent horns and theatrical video that blends in perfectly with the song’s message. AJR sing about the eccentric changeover period between childhood and adulthood in this song. The song peaked at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100.
#1- Burn the House Dawn
Number one on our top 10 AJR songs list is the hit “Burn the House Down.” The song is featured on the band’s sophomore album, The Click (2017). AJR penned this pop ballad intending to reflect on the then-status of the US politic. The song was used as the theme song of the documentary Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken! This upbeat hit managed to rise to the hundredth position on the Billboard Hot 100, amassing over seventy-four million views on YouTube.
Photo: : agwilson / Shutterstock.com
Top 10 AJR Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022
Classicrockhistory.com claims ownership of all its original content and Intellectual property under United States Copyright laws and those of all other foreign countries. No one person, business or any organizations is allowed to re-publish any of our original content anywhere on the web or in print without our permission. All photos used are either public domain creative commons photos or licensed officially from Shutterstock under license with ClassicRockHistory.com. All photo credits have been placed at end of article.