From Nashville to NYC, singer-songwriter and versatile pop recording artist AJ Smith brings us back down to earth with a punchy music video for his single, "Better."
AJ Smith prides himself on redefining the pop genre through playful irony and determination to explore sounds and styles. Early fans might remember him from The Kelly Clarkson Show. Besides that, he's gained over 100,000 monthly listeners across streaming platforms and is ready to continue his ventures through bubbly pop tracks with a splash of nostalgia.
You definitely won't forget the mark he left on you after watching his recent music video for "Better." The song itself is this exhilarating pop anthem that discusses post-break-up thoughts, narcissism, and needing an outlet for all that stress. There's a ton of energy and drive in this single, all of which is visually captured in the song's music video.
Taking a look at the video for "Better," we're greeted with Fight Club-like opening credits and bloody punches being thrown left and right. Later, we switch to scenes of AJ Smith in front of his therapist, letting them know all about his pain and thoughts amid a turbulent situation.
It's interesting how the music video represents two distinct forms of therapy; venting to a licensed professional or throwing punches with the boys for stress relief.
As Smith becomes battered and bruised, he flees the scene in a suit between two trains, hopefully finding some sort of answer or relief down the line. This was a very clever and conceptual music video, and we're positive viewers can relate to AJ Smith's anger, angst, and confusion.
Throw a punch at your stressors with an added kick from AJ Smith's music video for "Better," now available on YouTube.
Welcome to BuzzMusic, AJ Smith. We can totally relate to the anger and confusion in your recent music video for "Better." What compelled you to create this cathartic and powerful song, to begin with?
The story behind the song itself is rooted in a few different moments in my life or in characters from my friends’ lives. But it comes down to a couple of things. First, if we’re unlucky enough to have an extremely toxic person in our lives, there’s the anguish of the trauma from that relationship, from loving that person despite their flaws, and continuing to get hurt. And second, sometimes that person inflicting hurt on us is ourselves. Sometimes as a result of the first, but self-limiting beliefs, self-neglect, self-abuse…those are all very real and painful things a lot of us endure in our journey as humans on this floating space rock, just trying to do our best.
What inspired the Fight Club approach in your music video for "Better?"
I really wanted to convey the concept of self-inflicted wounds. How we are almost required to beat ourselves up in the name of “vulnerable authenticity” while people like, comment, and cheer from afar, without knowing the suffering people in the arts put themselves through for their art to be consumed as content and for their whole sense of self to be digested as a content creator. And what better way to convey that than to show me fighting a happier, more confident person reveling in the attention and influence, who turned out to be me all along, with a crowd cheering as I literally beat myself senseless (Ben and I pulled punches for each other or used clever camera angles, but I wanted it to feel uncomfortably real in the end so I knew I couldn’t hold back when punching and slapping myself for that last scene).
What did you want viewers to experience when watching the "Better" music video? Did you want to help them relieve some pent-up anger of their own?
I think I’d want them to walk away feeling understood, feeling seen, and have some of their own anger from their own traumas released. And I think I wanted people to walk away reflective if they felt like it. At the end of the day, though, I think they’ll take away what they do and apply it to their lives in their own way, and sometimes that can be in way more profound ways than I ever intended.
Which would you say is a better form of therapy based on the "Better" music video; a trip to the therapist or punching it out?
Oh, good question…It depends! I love boxing - it’s a fitness activity I picked up in recent years. I believe in prioritizing self-care, and it’s something I’ve struggled with. But I’m realizing more and more that I have to re-charge to take charge, and for me, that means weekly therapy and regular trips to the gym.
What's next for you?
More music, more videos, and hopefully tour dates!! My next song, “Famous,” drops on June 3, with the music video hitting June 10!!