If you have listened to any of AJR’s music and thought, “They remind me a lot of Weezer,” you’re onto something. The brother band’s quirky lyrics and style of music is definitely influenced by Rivers Cuomo and his rock band.
“In the late ‘90s and early 2000s, there were all these rock stars that were really alpha male, the coolest guys in the world. Then Weezer came out and said, ‘you can be a nerd, you can be quirky and weird and still be the coolest guy in the room,’” AJR’s Ryan Met tells Billboard. “I think we’ve always been really inspired by that in our own image.”
Although Weezer has several years on the sibling trio, it turns out that Cuomo is fan of AJR as well. In fact, he showed his fandom by following Ryan on Twitter without ever having any contact with the guys, which sparked an idea within Ryan. “I wrote to him in a private Twitter message saying, ‘We’re seriously big fans — if you ever want to write together or collab, let me know,’” he recalls. “And he wrote back immediately like, ‘Oh dude I love “Weak,” lets jam and write a song together.’”
AJR happened to have a skeleton of a song titled “Sober Up” at the time that they felt was very Weezer-esque, but weren’t quite sure of what it was. But once this Twitter interaction with Cuomo occurred, it all clicked.
“We were a little bit discouraged, and then it was kind of like a godsend that Rivers Cuomo descended upon us and said ‘I will sing the bridge,’” Ryan jokes. “I’m so proud of how it turned out.”
The result of their collaboration is certainly a Weezer-style jam, with a unique strings incorporation on the verses and an indie-friendly chorus (and, of course, Cuomo’s contribution). The track is featured on AJR’s debut album, The Click, which is due tomorrow (June 9) — but one day ahead of the album’s release, Billboard is premiering “Sober Up.” Take a listen to the fateful collaboration below.