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I'm Clifford Stumme, and I use literary analysis and research to explain the deeper meanings of pop songs. Feel free to leave a comment or to email me at clifford@popsongprofessor.com with questions or ideas!

What does "100 Bad Days" by AJR mean?

What does "100 Bad Days" by AJR mean?

“100 Bad Days” Lyrics Meaning

(The following blog post is a transcript created by Xalma of the below video.)

AJR just released a new music video for their song “100 Bad Days”; the music video is completely trippy and cool, the music itself sounds so good, but there is a little bit of question when it comes to the value of the lyrics, are they worth saying?

I’ve put a video before talking about why I love AJR, and why I think you should listen to their stuff, and I really liked their album The Click, and a lot of other things that they’ve been creating, and their music videos are always super fun, their lyrics are really cool and trendy, and usually very clever, and they have a lot to say; but sometimes they have songs like “Weak”, which isn’t all that positive, and there is a similar situation here with “100 Bad Days”.

 

Verse One

Remember when we all got drunk?
I ended up with two broke thumbs
Oh my God, I felt so dumb, lucky me
I wrote a song that no one knows
I played a show and no one showed
Oh my God, I felt so alone, lucky me

 

So the first one is this kind of hilarious incident, where he broke his thumbs, then the other one is when he wrote a song that no one knows, and he played a show and no one showed up, which has got to be a little bit soul-wrenching there, right?
Then we have the pre-chorus where it says,

 

Pre-Chorus

When all is going wrong and you're scared as hell
What you gonna do? Who you gonna tell?
Maybe a hundred bad days made a hundred good stories
A hundred good stories make me interesting at parties

 

and that continues into the chorus, where we hear,

 

Chorus

A hundred bad days made a hundred good stories
A hundred good stories make me interesting at parties
Yeah, no, I ain't scared of you
No, I ain't scared of you no more

 

seemingly to be saying that they’re not afraid of having bad days; why? because apparently the bad days make good stories, and good stories make him interesting at parties! And in verse two it gets more intense,

 

Verse Two

Remember when she broke my heart
Waitin' for the waiter to return my card?
Right as I let down my guard, lucky me
We had to work a bit more hard
Only just to get a little bit less far
We could laugh about it all tomorrow, couldn't we?

 

So one of them is about that breakup that was really painful, and the other is about struggling to be a band, and to make this work out, and we keep hearing this “No I ain’t scared of you”, which makes a lot of sense, because saying “No I ain’t scared of you, not scared of having these bad days, I have been through a lot, yet I kind of have made it. I feel like I can laugh about these situations now”, that makes sense to me; but what gets them to the point of not being afraid of it, and getting to laugh about it, is the resolution in the chorus and the pre-chorus. So the thing that makes it all worth it, and helps you to conquer your fears of bad days, is the fact that you can now tell jokes and funny stories at parties?! I don’t believe this; neither do I think that this is what helps them go through hard times; it cannot be just because they think to themselves “yeah, now I can tell jokes and be the centre of attention at parties”. But I also don’t think that this is actually what got them through it, and that defiantly won’t get me through any situation no matter what level of difficulty they are, not a heartbreak, not struggling to maintain a job that’s really hard, not even breaking my thumbs… I mean, maybe breaking your thumbs, that is kind of an okay example.

I think the music video is probably a fitting metaphor for what’s happening in the lyrics, because we see someone who gets so excited to be having a lot of green screen around, and it’s a really cool visual spectacle; the guys’ heads are like floating, their arms are floating as well, half of their heads are gone, and it is just really cool, with cool fun visual effects. You can kind of see this metaphor for like “Hey, I don’t have it together, bad things have happened, and I feel I’m missing something”; but the music video is sure interesting.

The big problem that I have with this song is it feels kind of substanceless; I go to listen to AJR, and I want to hear something new, learn more about their human experiences, or about how they think about things, how they overcome struggles. So when I know that they’ve made a song called “100 Bad Days”, I’ll be excited to know what it’s like to have 100 bad days, and how do they get through that? And then they say “well, yeah, actually bad things happen, but you can totally tell these funny rad stories at parties”; and I am kind of like “I guess that’s true! But, um… okay”.

I think in the end, the song itself becomes the interesting story at a party, because it’s something quick and easy we can do to make couple of people laugh, and the song is a short easy advice, it’s basically saying “Haha, at least you’ll be able to tell good stories about it one day”, and that’s about how deep this song goes, and while I love AJR, and love a lot of what they do, I am not a huge fan of “100 Bad Days”.

That was “100 Bad Days” by AJR. If you want to see me talk about songs that I like, and why I like AJR, you can check out this video.

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