Written By: Maria Santacrose
April 12, 2015
Jack Antonoff is a man of many bands, but in the past year his new solo act has caught my attention the most. While on tour with his band Fun., he was secretly creating a masterpiece.
When I first heard he was recording a new solo album, well, I will admit I was angry at him for leaving Fun. behind. Fun. was the band that introduced me to the indie and alternative band scene, and if Antonoff was going to make a new solo act then it better live up to my high expectations. Once I listened to his new album Strange Desire, everything that he did to upset me completely disappeared.
Bleachers is a way for Antonoff to let all his feelings and thoughts come out. If there was a way of knowing what was in this album without listening to it, you would just have to empty out the memory of Jack Antonoff. Since this album was a solo act he didn't have to share his feelings and creativity like he did in Fun. and Steel Train. He could totally just raise up his singing voice and belt out his own lyrics full of heartfelt feelings. Not only are the lyrics in Strange Desire empowering and inspirational, they are something that many people can relate to on a deep emotional level. Antonoff said it himself, “I spent the past year working on the music but not talking about it, and eventually it became this psychotic alter-ego situation, where it was second nature to me to have this part of me that no one knew about.” That quote basically summed up the whole album to me because most people keep stuff inside that they should really tell people about, and this album felt to me like he was just letting out all his dark secrets and trying to cope with them.
The album starts out with the song Wild Heart which is about how he wants to forget all the broken hearts that he has been through. In song its says, "I will find any way to your wild heart," and to me that means they will try to convince someone they love them. The next two songs Rollercoaster and Shadow say how he will always love them and never will hurt whoever he loves. Then we get to Wake Me which says, "I can't believe I captured your heart," which pretty much explains how whoever he loves finally realized it. Next is Reckless Love and Take Me Away where stuff starts to get confusing in their relationship and it gets overwhelming for them. In Take Me Away in the background they keep repeating, " I know you're sorry," which sounds like one of them messed up or did something wrong. Then there is Like A River Runs which talks about how their relationship takes a turn for the worse and one line that stuck with me from it was, "And I wanna get up to the rhythm of your wild heart it beats, it beated since you're gone." That line just connects it with the song Wild Heart when everything was good and happy, but now it’s all gone. Next there is You're Still A Mystery where he tries to rekindle their relationship and is trying trying to understand how they feel. It talks about how he wants their future to be good and how he won't give up on them. Then I'm Ready to Move On/Wild Heart Reprise, which is a mashup up of two songs. I saw this song as like an end of their romance and it all just ended. Finally it ends with Who I Want You to Love, this is final straw or ending of their relationship. He is desperately trying to heal it but on the inside he knows it’s over. It completes the album with the line, "I wanna be grateful with the experiences I've had," which was one of the most powerful statements but can be easily overlooked.
I can’t really tell you about all the different base lines and how each instrument is played; even though I pay attention to it I have no words to describe it. Please excuse my lack of musical knowledge outside of the piano and MIDI recording software. The one thing I do know about Strange Desire though is that it isn’t regular or normal. Most albums I have listened to tell one story throughout all the songs, but with Strange Desire it is almost as if each song tells an entirely different story that connects all the songs together. This album is far from any recent albums that you hear on the radio. People can be afraid of artists that push the limit and aren’t ordinary and only listen to boring songs that the greater population likes. I am trying not to be judgemental and I realize that most of those songs on the radio are different genres than Strange Desire, which is why I probably don't like them. I know for a fact that if I asked ten people if they knew what Strange Desire was, two people would respond with yes I know the song I Wanna Get Better, which was released as the first single. Strange Desire is like a mystery because most people have only heard that one song (which in my opinion isn’t the best on the album), but once they sit down and carefully listen to the entire thing it’s like a harmonious, mind blowing experience that changed my life through a pair of plastic earbuds.
With eleven songs that consist of masterly crafted lyrics and mystifying melody and rhythm, Strange Desire has completely changed how I listen to music. It made me realize that other people have problems that may be bigger than mine as a 13 year old, yet they may be just as hard to overcome as mine. This album gave a me a newfound respect for Jack Antonoff that I didn't have for him in his bands Steel Train and Fun. He forgave himself and made peace with all the decisions he made throughout every lyric in every song. There is no weak point in this album. How could there be when someone lays out all their memories (good and bad), and weaves them into flawless and exquisite lyrics. Strange Desire is an incredible album and I can't believe it captured my heart.
“I spent the past year working on the music but not talking about it, and eventually it became this psychotic alter-ego situation, where it was second nature to me to have this part of me that no one knew about.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bleachers_%28band%29