Bleachers - Gone Now
Making a good album is a difficult task, but making a good second album may be even more challenging. I’m almost always disappointed by sophomore albums. So when I heard Bleachers was releasing a second album - panic struck my heart. Remember that the first Bleachers album Strange Desire was conceived as a side project when Jack Antonoff was still touring with Fun. who followed the fresh and lovable Aim and Ignite with the overproduced and shoddy Some Nights before dissipating. The singles “Hate That You Know Me” and “Don’t Take the Money” piqued my interest. They were so summer. They were the same sound I liked from Strange Desire, but didn’t seem like it was rehashing the same music. When the full album was released I was pleasantly surprised. Gone Now conquers the sophomore slump, and may just be my album of the summer.
I first listened to the album in my car driving to one of the many beaches in New Jersey. I highly recommend this experience as I believe it is the god-intended way to fully enjoy the album (okay maybe just Jack Antonoff intended). Perhaps my love for the album stems from my soft spot for New Jersey aesthetics. Antonoff also hails from the Garden State and the musical influence of our people shines throughout the album. It’s heavily influenced by 80’s music, a decade that still permeates NJ culture. I picked up some clear Springsteen-esque vibes. This is the music of my people. This is a New Jersey car album.
The other story here is one of redemption. As stated, I was massively disappointed by what happened to Fun., and perhaps Antonoff shares this feeling. Fun. cited a lack of inspiration as their reasoning for taking a break from the commercially successful indie kids gone mainstream. There are literally so many references to this in Antonoff’s post-Fun. album that it’s hard to keep track of them all. My reading of “Don’t Take the Money” is that it’s a cautionary tale for performers lured by the trappings of fame, and the title alone of “I’m Ready to Move On” speaks volumes. And if we look to videography, the paper maché Jack that pensively sits in the video for “I Miss Those Days” bears an uncanny resembles to the piñata band members seen at the end of “All the Pretty Girls”. That’s why I’ll say that Gone Now goes beyond a petty breakout project, but is just Jack being Jack and expressing his feelings.
I hope that Bleachers does not suffer the same fate that Fun. did. On this album, Jack Antonoff continues to deliver poppy, yet sincere lyrics and orchestrations that are compositionally on point but still easy listening. So get in your car, roll down your windows, and put on this album; I highly recommend the experience.