Jack Antonoff is often touted as the secret weapon of the modern pop world. The rising producer’s solo career exploded after producing Taylor Swift’s colossal hit album, 1989. Soon after his work was everywhere, single-handedly producing albums for artists like Lorde, The Chicks, St. Vincent, Sia, P!nk, Lana Del Rey, and more. His ear for pop hooks and 80s throwbacks is an obvious recipe for hit making. His last solo venture, 2017’s Gone Now, came before Antonoff became one of the most in-demand producers in the business, and it seemed like music from his indie-pop new wave outfit, Bleachers, was in limbo. But Antonoff returns in full force with Bleacher’s latest, Take The Sadness Out of Saturday Night, with a shimmering collection of rock songs that showcase his talents as his own artist.
Hailing from New Jersey, it isn’t hard to decipher who Take The Sadness Out of Saturday Night is inspired by. Antonoff has repeatedly nodded to Bruce Springsteen as his idol and greatest influence, and The Boss’s forlorn, rollicking sound is all over this album. The country-rock legend even appears on the song “Chinatown.” It’s understandable that finally linking up with Springsteen would see Bleachers’ music leaning towards a full-on tribute,but Antonoff’s echoey, layered vocals and skill for creating soaring bridges help make the album his own.
The most fun Antonoff seems to have is on “How Dare You Want More,” where he chides himself for not being happy with his career successes and distracts himself with raucous parties. “Lonely wants to tear us down now,” he sings, a joyful hurricane of saxophone, piano, and guitar swirling around him. “But tonight we’re gonna drown the sound out.”
It’s a good time, and Take The Sadness Out of Saturday Night provides many more. There’s an intriguing dilemma Antonoff seems to have where he never quite reaches the heights of the highly addictive songs of his superstar female collaborators that he’s lent his talents to, but Saturday NIght is still an impressive and lively chapter in the talented producer’s catalogue.