Monday, June 21st, 2021

AJR – Way Less Sad

And a way lower score!


Wayne Weizhen Zhang: Condescending, cynical, too-stupid-to-live, toothache-inducing sloganeering, completely devoid of an ounce of self-awareness. 

Thomas Inskeep: These awful fun.-influenced bros (sure, I use the word as judgement, but they’re also brothers for real) make Jack Antonoff sound like Bob Dylan. Ironic that the song is titled “Way Less Sad,” because it makes me actively angry.

Nortey Dowuona: AJR are what people think Lin Manuel Miranda and Chance the Rapper are. The only reason Lin and Chance aren’t them is entirely down to the fact that Chance and Lin are actually good at their PBS crap. AJR are not, which is why the the limp piano and dulled to a slogging tempo bass drums engender contempt rather than hatred, since at least Chance is getting sensible reviews of him removed and Lin is backstabbing Puerto Rican students trying to protest the corruption in their government. At least they’re doing something other than their music to make us hate them. AJR aren’t threatening to kill themselves over honest reviews of their music or making inane Twitter poetry or inane public statements over a whitewashed Washington Heights; what’s their excuse for being soul-sucking vanity projects for guilty scions of wealthy families? At least Chance had the decency to make Acid Rain. Lin made In The Heights. AJR have made nothing. 

Ian Mathers: The combined stinks of unhealthy coping mechanisms and ignorance of the fact that an awful lot of people — even if they do just choose to be less mad at Twitter (…what?) — still have huge problems and stresses… it’s a bad stink. One we’ve smelled before and honestly one that’s not normally this catchy. But a stink nonetheless.

Aaron Bergstrom: As a weary world takes stock of the compounding horrors of the past year and dares to dream about what healing might even look like, it’s important to focus on what really matters, which is that three white dudes from Manhattan are “not so mad at Twitter now.” So, mission accomplished, I guess. Truly the “If Hillary Was President We’d Be At Brunch Right Now” protest sign of songs.

Juana Giaimo: This reminds me of Paramore’s After Laughter, but the thing about After Laughter is that the music is happy and upbeat, but if you listen carefully you can hear a guitar a little bit too distorted, a beat a little bit out of place and the vocals suddenly sounding a little bit too hoarse. Musically, “Way Less Sad” is just silly. The brass is loud and all over the place and the “hey hey hey!”s are simply annoying. Still, I wish more songs talked about the concept of “No, I ain’t happy yet, but I’m way less sad” because I feel it’s a lot more realistic than most encouraging messages about mental health we hear in pop culture today. 

Alfred Soto: Playing “Way Less Sad” while folding laundry in the other room, I thought I’d assigned myself a K-pop track. If only. As vaccination rates increased and I began reengaging with the world, I did quash responses to my own battle-scarred friends similar in kind to AJR’s, without (I hope) the callousness. “I been counting sheep, but the sheep all died/And I’m trying too hard but I can’t not try” is a camp classic, almost wiping the smear of those canned horns. I mean, forget the lyrics — it sounds lousy.

Katie Gill: Eventually AJR will discover the concept of moderation. There’s some potential in the lyrics here: I actually really enjoy them compared to AJR’s tendency towards this weird “who has two thumbs and sucks at adulting?” vibe that most of their songs have. Granted, this one is just “who has two thumbs and a case of mild depression?” but it doesn’t feel weirdly freshman-in-college compared to their other stuff. But good God is that arrangement the equivalent of throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks. It’s finding out that your suitcase is too small for all your clothes and trying to shove them all in there anyway. It’s a PowerPoint presentation that wants to use all the fonts. Sonically, “Way Less Sad” is loud, overbearing, over-produced, and just plain tacky. 

Reader average: [6] (4 votes)

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3 Responses to “AJR – Way Less Sad”

  1. is this our lowest-scorer of the year so far?

  2. Is there a list of the lowest scores given on TSJ? I can’t recall seeing one this low in a very long time.

  3. I typically hate AJR songs, but this one’s actually pretty decent. Aside from the bridge.