AJR’s new single “100 Bad Days” began when frontman Jack Met entered a single line into his cellphone: “A million bad days made a million good stories.” “I didn’t even think of it as a song concept,” the singer tells Rolling Stone. “I just thought, ‘That’s kind of a cool thought.’” That one thought soon morphed into an entire song about turning bad times into something glorious, the Met brothers tell Rolling Stone. Though, the “million bad days” was ultimately downgraded to 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 AJR keyboardist Ryan Met. “We thought, ‘What’s a more realistic, relatable way to talk on that concept?’ We came up with this idea of, ‘What doesn’t kill you actually makes you more interesting and it gives you good stories to tell people and at the end of the day, that’s the most fun thing to do.’”
As they’ve done from the very beginning, the Met brothers recorded the song in the living room of their Chelsea apartment using little more than a computer, piano, guitar and bass, though their video game console in the other room plays no small role in their creative process.
“The most successful songs we’ve written have come from doing doing one very specific thing and it’s going in there and playing Wii Tennis,” says Jack Met. “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.”