Lerner & Rowe Music News

AJR realizes theatrical destiny with story-driven new album, 'OK ORCHESTRA'

Credit: Shervin Lainez

If you’ve heard AJR or seen one of their shows, it’s not hard to see that the trio — made up of brothers Adam, Jack and Ryan Met — are theatre kids at heart. While they’ve certainly played with those influences before, AJR finally realizes their destiny with OK ORCHESTRA.

The upcoming album, due out this Friday, finds AJR fully embracing their theatrical side in way they haven’t quite before on previous records. OK ORCHESTRA starts with a literal overture, and includes narrative ideas that pop up throughout the track list.

As Ryan tells ABC Audio, you can expect songs with “endings that are so huge and bombastic and out of control that you don’t really hear in alt music or pop music.”

“I think we’re definitely leaning more into that world,” Ryan says. “It’s kind of intrinsic in us, it’s kind of baked into our DNA to be making this kind of theatrical music. “

“It feels good to finally be doing it and to be understood by fans,” he adds.

OK ORCHESTRA was preceded by the hit single “Bang!”, which AJR first though would end up driving the record’s overall feel.

“We actually even had a different title for the album that felt more like the way ‘Bang!’ felt,” Ryan says. “Then over the course of the year and the pandemic, I think we started feeling very differently about life, and feeling actually more appreciative of things. It really changed the course of what the album ended up sounding like.”

That vibe can be felt in the single “Way Less Sad,” which AJR felt reflected a “relatable concept.”

“It was, like, ‘OK, how do we AJR-ify it?’ and contextualize it in a place where people feel, like, ‘Oh my god, this is my song right now!'” Ryan says.

By Josh Johnson
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