Review: Bleachers – Gone Now

There is a sharp juxtaposition between the title of Bleachers’ second full-length album Gone Now and its content. In fact, the lyrics across the album’s 12 tracks seem to long for things left behind – safety, familiarity, memories – before slowly drawing us back home.

When Jack Antonoff released Strange Desire under the name Bleachers in 2014, it felt full of promise as a potential side project with legs. The success of that debut and the subsequent dissolving of fun. has changed the narrative completely. During the past three years, Antonoff has become a household name thanks partly to his role as hit songwriter for the likes of Taylor Swift, Lorde and more.

You can buy Gone Now on iTunes.

This rapid turn of events helped elevate Gone Now to one of the year’s most anticipated releases. Did Antonoff deliver? Yes, but the reasons why are complicated. Gone Now further realizes the true pop potential of Bleachers, but the resulting collection of songs fire in such different directions that it’s hard to keep up.

Gone Now certainly takes its share of opportunities to relish in Antonoff’s own brand of synthpop, especially on early singles like “Don’t Take the Money” and “Hate That You Know Me”, but it refuses to follow a single thread. “Everybody Loves Somebody” features big drums and horns, sounding like it could have belonged to fun.’s follow up to Some Nights. Likewise, you can almost hear Nate Ruess’ voice atop the folksy banjo on “I’m Ready to Move On”, while the 80s-inspired powerpop banger “Let’s Get Married” sparkles with Hot A/C glee.

If it weren’t for Antonoff’s clever songwriting, Gone Now could easily have flown off the rails in any number of directions. Instead, consistent themes and lyrics are woven throughout each of the tracks to help provide focus, with frequent hellos and goodbyes to “upstairs neighbors” and “the kids downstairs”. It’s expert storytelling as Antonoff shakes away his pop stardom in an effort to find balance. “Hey, I know I was lost, but I miss those days” he tells us in one of many moments that acknowledge the lure of the past he wishes to leave behind.

It’s clear that Antonoff had every intention of weaving Gone Now in just this manner, even if it leaves some listeners troubled that he couldn’t just pick a sound and stick to it. Perhaps that’s part of the album’s brilliance in an age of streaming. Want to digest the story in one stream of thought? Want to cherry pick tracks to queue up as your mood dictates? The choice is yours, and you really can’t go wrong.

On Bleachers’ upcoming tour in support of the album, fans will have the opportunity to walk through Antonoff’s childhood bedroom, which is traveling along to provide a glimpse into the space that inspired a young Jack. It’s another purposefully sharp inverse image of his struggle, but it speaks to a greater truth. No matter where our lives take us, we can always find home along the way.

Antonoff’s skill and transparency give him the all-too-rare opportunity to be a likable pop star, even if he can’t seem to decide if that’s what he really wants. Either way, Gone Now will provide plenty to chew on and dance to as the summer passes through, no matter which direction you’re traveling.

4/5

by Kiel Hauck

kiel_hauckKiel Hauck is the editor in chief at It’s All Dead. Over the past decade, he has been a contributor for multiple online and print publications and was most recently an editor at PopMatters. Kiel currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his wife and their imaginary pet, Hand Dog. You can follow him on Twitter.

fun. Post Band Update

fun

Just a matter of weeks after we listed a new record from fun. on our Most Anticipated Music of 2015 list, the band has released a statement regarding their current status and future. While it appears that the band is still together, it doesn’t seem like there are any plans in place to move forward with a new album any time soon. Rats. You can read the full statement from the band below:

A lot of you have been asking us for an update on when to expect new music from fun. As you know, we like to give you guys news and updates when they are ready, but there has been a lot of recent chatter and we hear you and wanted to speak to you directly to explain a few things.
so here goes-
first and foremost to answer the question that has been raised most often: fun is not breaking up.
fun was founded by the 3 of us at a time when we were coming out of our own bands. one thing that has always been so special about fun is that we exist as 3 individuals in music who come together to do something collaborative. we make fun records when we are super inspired to do so. currently nate is working on his first solo album, andrew is scoring films and jack is on tour and working on bleachers music. the 3 of us have always followed inspiration wherever it leads us. sometimes that inspiration leads to fun music, sometimes it leads to musical endeavors outside of fun. we see all of it as part of the ecosystem that makes fun, fun.
you guys are EVERYTHING to us. honestly. We want to treat YOU GUYS (our amazing fan base) with the respect you deserve; and that is by making music when we are fully ready to make it and never giving you guys anything that is less than 100%. “Some Nights” was a successful album and it would have been very easy for us to jump back in the studio and capitalize on our momentum. but making records and touring when its “good for business” means nothing to us. we make records and tour when we are inspired to do so. that is the very reason why we have built such a special connection with all of you. that is how we can be the most honest to the people who support our music.
It’s also important for you guys to know that the 3 of us are very involved and supportive of all these different projects going on within the fun family at the moment. that fact that our tiny club can produce so many different kinds of music together and as individuals is very special to us.
as always, we’ll keep you guys updated!
all our love
nate, jack and andrew

Are you looking forward to Nate’s solo record, or would you prefer more music from fun.? Let us know your thoughts in the replies!

Posted by Kiel Hauck

Most Anticipated of 2015: #9 The Return of fun.

fun

It’s been nearly three years since indie pop act fun. have released any new music. That’s not to say that the trio haven’t been busy – far from it, in fact.

Lead singer Nate Ruess has been a co-writing machine, appearing on tracks from the likes of P!nk and Eminem. Guitarist Jack Antonoff launched his own indie pop side project Bleachers last year, to much acclaim. Along with pianist/percussionist Andrew Dost, the band has still been riding high off of 2012’s smash breakthrough, Some Nights.

So when will the band return from their various endeavors and release new music? Here’s what we know: the band appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon last summer to perform a brand new song called “Harsh Lights” and they are currently in the process of writing new material for an unnamed album.

It seems totally plausible that the band will release that album in 2015. Will the new record match the explosive Some Nights, both in musicality and cultural relevancy? Will the band turn once again to acclaimed producer Jeff Bhasker, who helped make Some Nights such a huge sounding record? It’s clear that this trio is loaded with talent and more than capable of crafting something otherworldly. The only question is how long we’ll have to wait.

kiel_hauckKiel Hauck is the editor in chief at It’s All Dead. Over the past decade, he has been a contributor for multiple online and print publications and was most recently an editor at PopMatters. Kiel currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his wife and their imaginary pet, Hand Dog. You can follow him on Twitter.