Jack Antonoff, my Pretend Best Friend
There is little I could say about Jack Antonoff that has not already been said.
I could go along with basic clichés used to described those who are musically talented, however calling him a ‘powerhouse’ seems too derivative while going with a ‘God’ would be sacrilege. In reality, he feels like my best friend that I have yet to meet. This attitude towards his talent was cemented this past month when I had the pleasure of attending my first Bleachers show, where I spent most of my time yelling over the songs to my friend about how talented I find the operation as a whole. There’s just something about a saxophone being played live with such vigor and passion combined with the bouncing dance party that was going on in the crowd. If we were to continue with the religious implications, the amphitheater was our temple, the lyrics our scripture, the yelling our prayer. It felt like home and it was beautiful.
While it is an ensemble composed of a group of talented men, I think the versatility of front man Jack Antonoff is noteworthy. With a history and list of accomplishments that are both impressive with a special touch of intimidating to those trying to follow in his footsteps, the man has, simply put, gotten some shit done.
I want music to move me and make me want to exhaust my vocal chords and leg muscles from jumping and dancing and shouting along.
In 2017 alone Antonoff helped co-write one of my favorite albums of the year – Lorde’s Melodrama, as well as tracks on St. Vincent’s Masseducation, Taylor Swift’s Reputation, and Pink’s Beautiful Trauma. Somehow during all of this there was time to write and record Bleacher’s sophomore album Gone Now. That’s a pretty hefty resume for a year, right? Guess not – because it was just announced that Antonoff is curating the soundtrack for Love, Simon as well as releasing two new Bleacher’s songs for the soundtrack. The first of these songs, Alfie’s Song, was released earlier this week. While I am normally hesitant of songs written for a movie’s soundtrack, Alfie’s Song is just as vibrant as previous releases and leaves me nostalgic for a time that I have not yet lived through.
To me this is a trademark when it comes to Antonoff’s writing, and thus the crux of our make-believe friendship that exists in my mind. His discography as a whole acts as a personal soundtrack to the unpredictability of life, and isn’t that why we listen to music? To connect and feel and get through the good or the bad or the in-between, to find songs that make us feel alive and want to scream along with everything we have? I want music to move me and make me want to exhaust my vocal chords and leg muscles from jumping and dancing and shouting along. If I do not feel the power of the music throughout my whole body, then what is the point? This unique brand of songs is part of my personal music puzzle – not only an important stepping stone but milestones when it comes to my taste making and building.
Listen to Alfie’s Song and Gone Now and join me in what has been a years-long transformative listening experience.