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AJR’S new music video for its song “Sober Up,” released on Jan. 31, not only showcases the band’s outsider personality, but also clarifies the true meaning behind the song for fans, giving it a more innocent and youthful feel.
The video starts out with the band’s lead singer Jack roaming the streets of his hometown, New York City. It’s hard to notice, but he passes by a reflection of himself in a mirror and a puddle twice, without noticing it until the second time. When he notices it the second time in a random New Yorker’s sunglasses, he realizes that it’s not a reflection of his current self, but actually a reflection of him back when he was a child.
Right off the bat, that first interaction with the man in the sunglasses is not only humorous, but shows off Jack’s carefree childlike personality. The man is clearly weirded out by Jack, but Jack doesn’t seem to even notice the New Yorker’s judgy attitude or seem to be embarrassed by his actions.
The contrast between the personality of AJR and the rest of the world is a common theme seen in their music videos, such as “I’m Not Famous” and “Come Hang Out.” These contrasts always add a comedic twist to their music videos, but also add to the character of the band — listeners can already tell from their music style that they are definitely not the typical kind of musicians. These interactions in their music videos go to show that they are not the typical kind of celebrities either.
Jack then goes on to stare at his reflection in the window of a building in NYC, and appears to have a series of mixed emotions, cycling between confused, intrigued and kind of freaked-out. He then goes to a stand selling mirrors and begins to do dorky little dance moves in front of the mirrors, with the younger version of himself doing the same moves in the mirror. All of the sudden, his younger reflection waves goodbye to Jack and runs away, sending the lead singer on a wild goose chase to try to find the younger version of himself.
Through the music video, the band clears up any misinterpretations fans might have had about the song. Lyrics like, “Won’t you help me sober up? Growing up made me numb, and I want to feel something again,” are somewhat nostalgic references to feelings of freedom associated with you. Unfortunately, when fans are just casually listening through the song it’s fairly easy for them to overlook those nostalgic references and just focus on the lyrics like “All the big kids they got drunk,” and “We smiled at party time, but soon we forget to smile at anything else”. Because of this, some might assume that the song is about partying becoming a way for them and other adults to ignore their unhappiness.
While that may be a point to be made somewhere in the song, the music video uses the serious streets of NYC and the child reflection to show an even deeper meaning. When the band is talking about sobering up, it doesn’t necessarily mean sobering up from drinking — it means sobering up from all the weight of growing up. The band is asking for help from its child-self who knows how to live without worry, rather than from a significant other or best friend.
Additionally, with the music video taking place in NYC, it not only creates a contrast that shows the band’s personality, but makes the viewer think about the differences between the seriousness of adult life and lightheartedness of childhood. NYC is the city that will make you or break you — it’s pretty tough out there. Sometimes, all that toughness can make people pretty bitter, which is why they need sobering up from the brutality of the real world.
The music video ends with the lead singer looking into a puddle with the reflection of the child version of himself. As the camera moves upward to reveal him looking at the reflection, we see that it is no longer the adult version of himself, but the child version of himself.
With that being the closing moment, the audience is left with a mood that’s even more reflective than the puddle Jack had been staring into. It seems that the lead singer is off to live out his life with the free spirit attitude of his child-self, and leaves us wondering if maybe we should do the same.
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Source : https://www.redandblack.com/culture/review-ajr-s-sober-up-music-video-reveals-true-meaning/article_82e97fb0-1078-11e8-a076-af4978704134.html