If the ‘80s synths and infectious pop choruses of Bleachers’s Gone Now remind you of today’s A-list chart toppers like Taylor Swift, Lorde or Carly Rae Jepsen, it’s because Bleachers, né Jack Antonoff of Fun., is a frequent collaborator for some of the greats. However, with Gone Now, Antonoff solidifies himself as an independent artist, continuing to deliver timeless pop with his signature storytelling, crafting tales of New York, love and heartbreak.
Born in New Jersey, Antonoff opens with a homage to the iconic Yankee Mickey Mantle in a power ballad that could easily be an early Springsteen cut. Sing-shouting phrases like “rolling thunder” and “left on a Sunday” over crashing guitar recalls nostalgia reminiscent of Molly Ringwald in an ‘80s rom-com.
In “Hate That You Know Me,” penned by songwriting prodigy Julia Michaels (Justin Bieber’s “Sorry,” Selena Gomez’s “Hands To Myself”), Bleachers describes the binary feeling of being so infatuated with someone that they begin to know you better than you know yourself — and the frustration such familiarity can bring to a relationship. With additional vocals by Carly Rae Jepsen, “Hate That You Know Me” is a standout track in terms of its chart friendliness; the track builds quickly into a repetitive chorus and is clearly single material.
“Everybody Lost Somebody” may be one of Gone Now’s most interesting tracks. Laced with a saxophone melody in the style of the late Clarence Clemons, “Everybody Lost Somebody” flips the narrative of a typical breakup ballad. Instead of dwelling on a strained relationship, Bleachers finds unity in the idea that falling out of love can bring people together. In the same way that listening to a breakup track post-relationship can provide peace of mind, Antonoff discovers a similar camaraderie in others’ past relationships.
“Foreign Girls” closes out the album with a Bon Iver-esque autotune, describing the feeling of reuniting with a friend, but never skipping a beat in friendship. Like “Foreign Girls,” Gone Now feels like Antonoff may have been gone for a year or two, but the connection never left. Bleachers continues in the pop vein of his debut album, Strange Desire, but dives deeper into his relationships and his city, crafting an album that is as deep and it is catchy.