AJR’s “100 Bad Days” is a relatable culmination of their music so far


It was a friend’s recommendation that sent me clicking through Spotify to find “100 Bad Days” by AJR; it was AJR’s catchy and constantly changing flow that got me to click on the next song when “100 Bad Days” ended.

Released on January 30th of this year, “100 Bad Days” has a similar sound to AJR’s previous music, particularly their mix of laidback and catchy at the same time. However, they certainly intertwined whole new aspects to “100 Bad Days.”

They went more into detail with the ways they experimented with sound in an interview with Substream magazine saying, “For this whole upcoming album, we were very inspired by Israeli production. It’s a kind of music that hasn’t broken through here in the U.S. yet, but it’s so instantly intriguing. There are constant tempo and groove changes, strange sounds, and big anthemic choruses—that was a big influence on the sound of “100 Bad Days,” particularly the weird cowbell bridge.”

That “weird cowbell bridge” may have been a new instrument for them, but adding strange and seemingly contradictory instruments into their music is actually nothing surprising for AJR. In their song “Sober Up,” they feature a unique string sound. And in their song “Let the Games Begin,” there’s a horn both intro-ing and throughout the song.

But, what caught my attention even before the sound and voice of “100 Bad Days,” was the story attached to the song. At first, it baffled me. A line towards the beginning even says, “I wrote a song that no one knows.”

“100 Bad Days” may have been inspired, at least in part, by AJR’s experiences as an up-and-coming independent band that went through many struggles but can now look back and laugh, which is what they say in their interview with Substream Magazine; however, in “100 Bad Days,”

I saw a culmination of many of their other songs. AJR sings about everything from insecurities to weakness to hiding behind masks. “100 Bad Days” speaks to how we can make it through all the horrible stuff in our lives and come out laughing. I find it intriguing that a song that felt almost like a culmination, is, in fact, a single promoting the upcoming release of their album The Click, which will be released on June 9.

No matter the topic, I find AJR pleasing due to their topic’s relatability and the variety of topics, which can hit no matter my mood. Although it wasn’t necessarily instantly apparent in “100 Bad Days,” I felt that it left the meaning open for interpretation and personalization.

“100 Bad Days” could be about insecurity, weakness, depression, or that time you fell down the stairs in school. The interpretation is up to you.