AJJ first captured people’s attention in 2007 with their manic, energetic and dark-humored folk punk album “People Who Can Eat People Are the Luckiest People in the World.” Since then, their music has shifted through various sounds. Some include the aggressive acoustic guitar of “Knife Man” from 2011, the more traditional indie rock of “Christmas Island” from 2014 and the slower, more contemplative folk album “Good Luck Everybody” from 2020.
Despite their differences, each album shares similar themes in their songwriting. AJJ’s lyrics center on social issues in a way that is both blunt and bizarre.
Their most recent album, “Good Luck Everybody,” balances cynical imagery with gentle anecdotes. Bitter lyrics such as “again we’ve slipped inside a pit of absolute despair” from “No Justice, No Peace, No Hope” contrast with sweeter lines like “I know that you know what I need more than me, and I know that you need me more than that,” from “Maggie,” a song about singer Sean Bonnette’s dog.
AJJ’s newest single, “Disposable Everything,” continues this theme, juxtaposing the band’s dissatisfaction with the state of the world against the tenderness they feel towards their loved ones. These conflicting tones are evident in the song’s music video.
“Disposable Everything” is primarily about environmental degradation and how it takes a toll on a person’s soul. The music video depicts this concept as it features a small robot-like puppet crawling through a terrain of trash, struggling to find its way through a polluted world.
As the song continues to describe pollution with lyrics such as “disposable holocene, disposable packaging, disposable TV screen,” the puppet grows, amassing more and more garbage along the way. As the lyrics conclude with the line “disposable everything,” the puppet falls, breaking into a pile of debris.
Throughout the song, the narrator describes how he has “been getting down about greed and misery,” and how he wishes he could give what little joy he has left to others. This indicates the repeated line “disposable everything” applies to not only material goods, but also himself.
It can be inferred the puppet represents the narrator as he is also grappling with his presence in a world of detritus. In some parts of the video, there are visible hands and figures manipulating the puppet, indicating the narrator feels a lack of control in his life.
In the song, the narrator discusses his dissatisfaction with the inaction regarding environmental harm, so perhaps the video illustrates how he feels out of control in a world that refuses to change.
It is no coincidence the music video is about something as whimsical as a puppet, or that the video was filmed in popular children’s destination The Great Arizona Puppet Theater in Phoenix.
Children are an important part of “Disposable Everything” for multiple reasons. In the first verse, the song discusses how “since we were a child, we knew that water's running out,” which emphasizes how aware people are about environmental issues from a young age.
Later, the narrator expresses how he feels guilty for his joy, and wishes he could “Give my laughter to the children,” as he believes they are more deserving of it. At the end of the song, he says he has “been digging through the garbage with [his] son.”
From the earlier lyrics, one can surmise that to the narrator, children are left with the consequences of pollution, when they should be enjoying their youth.
Ultimately, this music video does a fantastic job of representing the song’s meaning in an unconventional manner. “Disposable Everything” is a song that balances the bleakness of living in a time of deterioration with the earnestness of a person trying to be good. The video’s ability to convey these complicated emotions with a simple puppet made from scraps is spectacular.
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