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Meaning of the song ‘God is Really Real’ by ‘AJR’

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Released: 2023

“God is Really Real” by the indie pop band AJR, is a sincere narrative built on the uncertain circumstances life constantly throws at us. The honest exploration of hope, despair, skepticism, and a desperate grasp for faith articulates the very human process of confronting the brutal reality of the unknown through the lens of a personal crisis.

Moving from the vague to the very personal, the song begins subtly: “My dad can’t get out of bed/There’s something in his lungs.” Here, AJR sets the backdrop of personal tragedy that lends the song its poignant urgency. As the lead singer grapples with the harsh reality of his father’s illness, he must also juggle the demands of his burgeoning music career – “I gotta leave for Paris now/My band goes on at ten.” The dissonance between personal crisis and the relentless rhythm of daily life is beautifully sketched out.

The chorus – “God is really real/When you really, really need him” – rings with an aching vulnerability. It reflects a sudden turn towards faith, born not out of conviction, but desperation. Epiphanies, after all, often come in moments of dire need. This sentiment is echoed in the lines “Karma just appears/When you suddenly believe it.” Here, AJR points to a universal tendency to lean into a higher power or the concept of fate as a means of making sense of a chaotic world, but they underline it with a caveat, pointing out that these beliefs seem louder and clearer “Just as long as it’s convenient.”

This introspective journey continues to unfold as AJR laments, “There’s robots that are way too good at art/And everybody’s sad now/And tryna get to Mars.” Here, we see a critique of the world’s preoccupations with technological advancements and exploration, as the band grapples with the very human and personal struggle of a loved one’s illness.

The hopeful plan to “break you out tonight” and have the father “be a roadie for the band” is tinged with a combination of denial and fantasy, a coping mechanism perhaps, to momentarily vindicate themselves from the lurking despair.

The poignant ending – “I love you sounds all corny/So I wrote this song instead/I’ll sing it for you, dad/When you get out of bed” – captures a relatable unease of directly expressing emotion, choosing instead the comfort of indirect expression through song. The song ends on a positive note but maintains the underlying tension and uncertainty throughout.

“God is Really Real” weaves a poignant narrative of personal struggle, questioning faith, and an exploration of the human condition in the face of adversity. The introspective lyrics, coupled with AJR’s signature sound, make for a soulful, emotionally resonant piece of pop music.

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