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On Friday, March 15, AJR announced the dates and locations for their upcoming tour, The Neotheater World Tour. Tickets go on sale Friday, March 22.
The band, made up of brothers Adam, Jack, and Ryan Met, will perform across the U.S from California and Seattle to Detroit and Florida. AJR will also travel abroad for several shows in Europe and the U.K.
Unfortunately, there are no Chicago shows listed yet, but the tour poster, released on the band’s social media streams, shows two dates that are intentionally blurred, signaling at least two surprise shows yet to be announced.
On Tuesday, March 12, AJR dropped the official tracklist for their upcoming album Neotheater, out April 26. The 12-song album will likely stick to the themes that AJR love to explore; coming of age, being yourself, and going against the social grain.
Playing a show at the Aragon Ballroom earlier this year, AJR shared, “Don’t Throw Out My LEGOS,” the fourth song on Neotheater. It’s an emotional tune about the anxieties that come with growing up and moving out of your parents’ place to live on your own.
While many AJR songs touch on subjects like isolation and growing pains, frontman Jack has said that he also aims to write about the things that no one else will.
Their song “No Grass Today” is evidence enough. In the anti-party-anthem, AJR proudly refuses to smoke weed, for no reason other than the fact that they simply don’t enjoy it. Somehow the song about NOT having fun is one of the band’s most ebullient and celebratory. AJR songs are not for the kids who want to be the life of the party, they’re for the kids who are happily uninvited.
AJR So Far
AJR’s latest release, “Birthday Party “ is a quirky story spoken from the perspective of a new baby looking at the world through optimistic eyes.
“I bet it’s always gonna stay this fun / I bet it’s easy staying ‘way from drugs / I bet our parents always stay in love / Always stay in love.”
“Birthday Party” is probably AJR’s most politically charged endeavour yet, yet the electro-pop packaging they’ve wrapped it up in keeps it fun and easy to digest. A more cynical critic might point out that the song says a lot without really saying anything, and that this complain-but-do-nothing strategy is perfect for the Gen Z crowd that AJR caters to. They’d say the song brushes past political statement without letting itself get bogged down by saying anything substantial. But isn’t that the point?
AJR has never been about disruption, so if it seems like this song is simple, or shies away from saying anything important, it’s probably because it is, and it does. AJR understand that kids at a concert aren’t looking for a debate, they’re looking for an escape. When they listen at home, they don’t want a challenge, they want a positive message wrapped in a catchy chorus. AJR have learned how to steer the mainstream ship, and their growing audiences are coming along for the ride.