ALBUM REVIEW: ‘Gone Now’ finds Bleachers exploring familiar but inspired territory

Frontman Jack Antonoff struggles to find pop salvation in his nostalgic sophomore record

| June 10, 2017

Photo Courtesy of Bleachers/RCA

It was quite a surprise when I first heard Jack Antonoff, lead guitarist of the indie pop group fun. and former frontman of Steel Train, explode into his solo venture with 2014’s ‘Strange Desire.’ The first album released from his nostalgic pop outfit, Bleachers, ‘Strange Desire’ mixed strong summer hits with experimental pop to deliver one of the year’s most intriguing debuts. While fun. frontman Nate Ruess might have followed soon after with his own solo venture in 2015’s ‘Grand Romantic,’ it was Antonoff’s unique taste and prowess for songwriting that kept his lyrics spiraling in my head. With the band’s newest release, ‘Gone Now’ (released Friday), channeling everyone from The Beatles and Bruce Springsteen to Elton John, the synth-pop group manages to deliver similar knockout hits as ‘Strange Desire,’ with possibly an ounce more confidence from its ambitious leading man.

If you’ve heard any of the raging hits about teenage angst or broken hearts that often find themselves forever blasting from your radio, you’ve more than likely heard a song crafted by Jack Antonoff. One of the most sought-after names in the music industry, the songwriter has written songs for nearly everyone in the pop business, from Taylor Swift and Sia to Lorde and Carly Rae Jepsen. A┬áconnoisseur of all things pop, Antonoff quickly established his own taste, as his solo outfit Bleachers yearned to deliver thundering, ’80s-inspired arena pop to the new generation. Maintaining his flexibility with hook-laden lyrics and sprawling out with a dynamic, spirited sound, the New Jersey-native found profound acclaim in his first solo release after fun.

Returning to the charts with ‘Gone Now,’ which worked to propel forth similar party hits to ‘Roller Coaster’ and ‘I Wanna Get Better’ from the first album, the sophomore effort from Bleachers retains Antonoff’s passionate authenticity in his songwriting, but never succeeds in soaring above what ‘Strange Desire’ showed us. With an ambitious mix of nostalgic pop-rock singles in ‘Don’t Take the Money’ and “Everybody Loves Somebody’ and synth-infused tales in ‘Foreign Girls’ and ‘Goodbye,’ Bleachers’ second album remains just as memorable as their first, with a number of inspired anthems that keeps the indie-pop group going strong.

While the newest record from Bleachers could still just as easily soundtrack a John Hughes film, it unfortunately won’t leave me begging to hear it on repeat all summer long. With radio hits infused with personal tragedy and a handful of impassioned tributes, ‘Gone Now’ does however manage to continue the effort to rebrand its frontman as a notable and thoroughly-authentic player in the pop genre.

The second studio album from Bleachers, ‘Gone Now,’ is out now in stores and on iTunes.

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Category:Arts and Entertainment, Music

Tyler Trudeau is a sophomore Architecture major from Raleigh, NC, who spends most of his time writing about movies, running in 90 degree heat, and bingeing Netflix shows. You can find more of his film criticism and editorials at his personal website below.

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Tyler Trudeau is a sophomore Architecture major from Raleigh, NC, who spends most of his time writing about movies, running in 90 degree heat, and bingeing Netflix shows. You can find more of his film criticism and editorials at his personal website below.

Twitter Author's Website