Sometimes you hear a song and you think, That sounds a lot like ___________. It’s what happened the first time I heard “Best Day of My Life.” I immediately thought, I wonder if that’s a new Imagine Dragons song?
Sound-wise, “Best Day of My Life” definitely inhabits Dragonish territory. It’s chockfull of hummable melodies, sing-along “oohs” and “ohs,” and the kind of polite alt-rock guitar flourishes that that band has made so cool these days. There’s even a banjo that gets lobbed into the mix.
Listening more closely, however, I knew something was missing if this really was a Dragons tune, as I at first imagined: the melancholy gravitas that marks most of that Las Vegas band’s efforts.
In contrast, “Best Day of My Life,” which is actually by a Brooklyn-by-way-of-Boston band formed in 2006 called American Authors, brims and bubbles with breezy, peppy, poppy whimsy.
Which is mostly a good thing.
“I had a dream so big and loud/I jumped so high I touched the clouds/Whoa oh oh oh oh oh oh,” frontman Zac Barnett tells us in the opening verse. What happens next, you ask? Barnett’s eager to tell the story: “I stretched my hands out to the sky/We danced with monsters through the night/Whoa oh oh oh oh oh oh.”
It sounds like a pretty good experience, monsters notwithstanding: “I’m never gonna look back,” Barnett insists, “Whoa, I’m never gonna give it up, no/Please don’t wake me now.” The chorus then repeatedly proclaims, “This is gonna be the best day of my life.”
As day meanders into night, though, we get the idea that things are getting wilder. Perhaps a bit too wild: “I hear it calling outside my window/I can feel it in my soul/The stars were burning so bright/The sun was out ’til midnight/I say we lose control.”
That last suggestion is the only lyric alluding to “best” practices that perhaps not everyone would agree are actually the best. But if the song only hints briefly at out-of-bounds behavior, the equally whimsical video illustrates it with considerably more detail.
As the band wanders down a sidewalk toward an eventual gig at a bar (singing as they go), we watch a loner at that bar take a swig from a bottle and then fall asleep and into—you guessed it—a best-day-ever kind of dream.
In the dream, he’s accompanied by a huge, smiling, Where the Wild Things Are kind of creature. But one suspects the man’s fuzzy new friend might have watched the movie Ted one too many times, because they drink (both at the bar and on a curb), go to a strip club (where we glimpse a dancer in a bikini as they enthusiastically throw money at her), get tattooed and deliver an obscene hand gesture to a waitress before joining a group of people to watch American Authors perform.
The affectionate kinship between the man and the creature is somehow touching. Their (mis)adventures together in this video for a song that’s otherwise mostly innocuous? Not so much.
After serving as an associate editor at NavPress’ Discipleship Journal and consulting editor for Current Thoughts and Trends, Adam now oversees the editing and publishing of Plugged In’s reviews.