We’re living in an interesting time. Life was real sad for a while there but now, in a way, it’s less sad. But it’s not happy per say because we’re still living in a global pandemic. Thankfully like every other emotion we feel, there’s music to describe the feeling of not being happy but instead less sad. So hopefully that makes us all feel a little less lonely. AJR released “Way Less Sad” on February 17 which definitely fits this feeling. I also was recently listening to fun.’s immaculate first album Aim and Ignite and I was reminded of their song “At Least I’m Not As Sad (As I Used to Be)” which also perfectly captures this feeling. So it got me wondering, which song is more effective in actually making you feel less sad? Keep reading to find out!
Let’s start with the recently released “Way Less Sad”. This song is very anthemic and high energy much like most of AJR’s music. It’s very fun and I must say I can really get into feeling happy about feeling less sad when listening to this song. I feel like this song really speaks to the younger generation with references to global warming and Twitter. Oh that and setting your bar low, I feel like that’s a common theme for Gen Z’ers. There’s a solid amount of repetition but I feel like that works with an anthemic jam like this. And there’s no instrument for anthems like the trumpet that dominates in this song. Overall I do feel a lot less sad after listening to this song. I would even go so far as to say that I feel happy after hearing it.
Alright, so what about “At Least I’m Not As Sad (As I Used To Be)”? This song has a very different vibe than “Way Less Sad”. It definitely has a more old school sound in part because it was released in 2009 and in part because of the energy fun. generally channels. In the beginning it feels a bit like a war march but with an island twist with the steel drums playing. During the build, there is a conversation happening between the male and female singers which really helps in escalating the energy. Eventually we reach the point of having more dramatic instruments like horns and piano before Nate Ruess brings the energy down by singing along with a beautiful piano solo. From there we build to the big finish where we hear a series of sad lyrics ending with “I don’t fall in love”. Overall I think that this song does a better job with contrast and has quite a bit more complexity. But is that what we are in need of when trying to feel less sad? For me I would say yes but I may be an outlier here. I personally can jam a lot more to a song and feel less sad when it’s got lots of musical things for my brain to focus on. I think that the contrast and complexity help make the high energy moments feel even happier than they would otherwise. However, I’m also biased towards this song because I have a lot of positive memories associated with it.
Overall, both of these songs do a great job of making you feel less sad, it just depends what you look for in happy music. I’m a music nerd so I like having lots of musical elements to think about which “At Least I’m Not As Sad (As I Used To Be)” does a better job of. I highly recommend checking out both of these songs in this weird stage of life where feeling less sad seems more appropriate than feeling happy. But if you do feel happy right now, don’t listen to what I say, keep being happy!!