AJR disappoints with post-album release, “Bang!”


The American pop band, AJR, in their latest music video for “Bang,” released Feb. 12. PHOTO COURTESY/ Youtube AJR

After their newest album “Neotheater,” came out last year, which drew on relatable themes of loneliness and confusion, fans are expecting a great deal from AJR. The American pop band should have released another upbeat song about belonging, like “Wow, I’m Not Crazy,” or another sentimental song about the future, like “Dear Winter,” both of which are on “Neotheater.” Instead, fans were left unimpressed with “Bang!” –– the average and safe post-album single –– released on Wednesday, Feb. 12. 


In the beginning, it seems that the song will be interesting because it has AJR’s signature electro-pop beat paired with an eerie vibe. Through the first verse, I found myself banging my head to the beat and impressed by ad-libs like “I get up, I get down, and I’m jumpin’ around/

And the rumpus and ruckus are comfortable now.” College students can certainly resonate with the intended message of the song: the struggle of being stuck between childhood and adulthood. 


However, it soon becomes clear that there is no originality or surprise in the song. The beat never changes, retaining its upbeat tempo and carnival-like vibe. The theme isn’t very original either, as there are hundreds of songs involving the transition of growing up. Compared to the rest of their songs, which always give us something new, AJR produced a song about a conversation that has already been had. 


AJR became popular in 2013 when they released the single “I’m ready,” and were named iHeartRadio’s “Artist of the Month” in Jan. 2014; They have continued to top charts, with “Neotheater” debuting at #1 on Billboard’s Top Alternative Albums and #1 on Billboard’s Top Rock Albums in Apr. 2019. While the song “Bang” is not bad, it is definitely underwhelming in comparison. AJR  began hinting at this song, after a month-long hiatus, on Feb. 2, and posted a 15-second snippet of it on their Instagram on Feb. 7. With all this anticipation and effort put in to promote the song after the success of “Neotheater,” AJR could have been a lot more original in “Bang!” than using the word “bang” thirty times.