The last year has been an interesting one for rock music. With everyone confined to their home studio and YouTube there was a tendency to turn inward. I enjoy those peeks into a songwriter’s psyche but in the summer, I want something different. I want songs which make me drum on the steering wheel and shout the lyrics into the wind from my open window. The last year has seen us confined to drumming on the sofa and hoping we aren’t singing too loud through our headphones. One of my most reliable purveyors of the kind of big music I want has been Jack Antonoff’s band Bleachers. Their latest “Take the Sadness Out of Saturday Night” has given me a dose of the good stuff.
I became aware of Mr. Antonoff in 2009 as part of the band fun. Even then they were making music in the style I mentioned. As that band went their separate ways, he formed Bleachers in 2014. There are songs off the previous two albums which are on my permanent summer playlist. I was ready to let this new one add another.
In truth Mr. Antomoff has been releasing the album a song or two at a time since last November. By the time the full album was released at the end of July this year five of the ten tracks had already been released. I still like listening to a whole album letting one track lead into another. So even though I knew half the material placed in order there was some different shading to them.
Mr. Antonoff has become particularly adept at these big songs you can imagine a call and response happening at a concert venue. Here those songs are “How Dare you want More?”, “Stop Making this Hurt”, and “Don’t go Dark”. That was what I expected.
What was new to me was a realization the Mr. Antonoff is as much a Jersey guy as Bruce Springsteen. I am not sure I would have made that connection except that Springsteen himself joins Mr. Antonoff on “Chinatown”. It has echoes of “Born to Run” in the best ways with Springsteen along to provide the vocal version of that. As the song closes with a repeated refrain of “I want to run.” It becomes clear.
Mr. Antonoff is becoming a force in music through his producing of some of the biggest stars. I hope he keeps Bleachers producing music because he has a voice I want to hear every couple of years.