AJR take a deep-dive into their 2019 single “100 Bad Days” for Rolling Stone video series “How I Wrote This”, tracking the pop hit’s conception and how the band whittled a million bad days down to just one hundred.
Watch: AJR break down “100 Bad Days”
The song, as frontman Jack Met tells it, started with a single line entered without much thought into a phone. “A million bad days made a million good stories,” Met punched into his cell. “I didn’t even think of it as a song concept. I just thought, ‘That’s kind of a cool thought.’”
However, as with many of the world’s greatest hits, one idea quickly snowballed and morphed into an entire song about turning bad times into something glorious, according to the Met brothers. Although they say the “million bad days” was ultimately downgraded into a relatively manageable 100.
“We figured out how to twist it into a more unique idea then, ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,’ which has been done a bajillion times,” says the band’s keyboardist, Ryan Met. “We thought, ‘What’s a more realistic, relatable way to talk on that concept?’”
As is revealed in the interview, “100 Bad Days”, which was recorded in the living room of their Chelsea apartment using little more than a computer, piano, guitar and bass, can be largely credited to – surprisingly – a Nintendo Wii.
“The most successful songs we’ve written have come from doing one very specific thing and it’s going in there and playing Wii Tennis,” says Jack. ““And then we just kind of talk. Half of our brain is focused on winning the game and the other half is focused on kind of shouting out what randomly comes to our mind in our subconscious. Twenty minutes of that we come up with a great new idea and we run out and record it. I think that has a 98% success rate for sure, Wii Tennis.”
Watch the full video above to hear how “100 Bad Days” came together, both sonically and conceptually.