That sentence could go literally anywhere, and I’m actually struggling to choose where I actually want it to go. I want to praise him for his incredible work (Steel Train, Fun., and now Bleachers’ debut album “Strange Desire”), but those three bands, five albums and 60-something songs have been played and praised by many people far more musically vetted than me. So, I will avoid embarrassing myself by talking music I am not exactly educated enough to critique, and instead say this:
Jack Antanoff is the unicorn of today’s musicians: So rare you don’t think it exists until you see one and you spend the rest of your days trying to convince your friends of how amazing it was to be a witness to it.
I’m a pretty ridiculous fan of Fun. I loved the Format (Nate Ruess’s band) and so when Fun. came out with Aim and Ignite, I enjoyed the pop spin to the meaningful ballads Nate seemed to procure. After completely falling in love with Fun. (me and the rest of the world, once their second album came out and “We Are Young” hit radios everywhere), I looked back in time and found Steel Train. More than any other music I had listened to, I felt something with Steel Train. Especially with “I Feel Weird,” which references the loss of Jack’s sister, 9/11 and his relative being killed in war.
When I was eighteen everything was alive
Then the planes hit the towers
Then she died and he died
A part of me disappeared six feet in the ground
A million miles in the sky a fire burns,
A fire burns, a fire burns and it is mine
The other day, I was crossing the East River on the Q train at sunset. It goes above ground–such a luxury, and I looked out as I listened to these lyrics after just finishing a profile on Jack and Bleachers. I could see the Brooklyn Bridge framing the Statue of Liberty. The song ended, and I replayed it. Again and again until I got home. It will forever be one of my favorite emotion eliciting songs.
Thankfully, Jack Antonoff only makes music full of emotions and I have more to listen to today as his Bleachers “Strange Desire” album came out today.
Simply put: It’s
great perfect amazing so Jack. It’s the same “stuck in your head all day” and “makes you dance around when listening” pop of Fun. and the same meaningful lyrics inspired by his life as Steel Train.
Here are some of my favorites and why:
- “I Wanna Get Better.” I’ve had a couple months to fall in love with this song, as it was released as a single. I literally can’t sit still when listening to this. My foot must be tapping or I must be “standing on the overpass screaming at the cars ‘Hey I wanna get better'” right there with him.
- “Shadow” also released as a single has that nostalgia feel. Like, you know you didn’t listen to this song when you were younger, so why do memories of friendship bracelets and chicken nuggets come to mind when you listen?
- Ditto with “Rollercoaster” Like, it’s only a matter of time before this is in a soundtrack for a movie. I called it here first.
- “Like a River Runs” is another one like “I Feel Weird” where you hear terrific music but when you listen to the lyrics you want to cry. A good cry! A memory of what it felt like to lose someone you love and remember them every single day.
When I fall asleep I can see your face
What I lost in you I will not replace
And I could run away, I could let them down
But I will remember your light
- “Wild Heart” is a little bit slow paced, with interesting audio effects and reverberation. Also could be the soundtrack to a pivotal scene in a romantic comedy.
- “Wake Me” is definitely about Lena Dunham and I love it. (Or, I’m hoping… this is unconfirmed.) Very romantic. I want a man to sing this to me–or at least feel this way about me.
- “You’re Still a Mystery” is my favorite non-single song on this album. It has the lyric “followed a dream and a strange desire” with the album’s name tucked in there. It’s chanty and extremely catchy with a great beat and a chorus that will forever be stuck in my head.
Another version of that sentence:
Jack Antonoff is a hero and Bleachers’ “Strange Desire” is amazing.