Singer Songwriter and sought after producer Jack Antonoff appears to have finally reached personal fulfillment with his sophomore LP “Gone Now,” the follow-up to his debut album “Strange Desire.”
When Antonoff unleashed his monumental debut under the moniker Bleachers three years ago, the project transpired as a fallback option to the superior popularity of Fun. However, steadfast critical acclaim followed the beatific path set by “Strange Desire.” Thus, Antonoff gained steam as a high-demand producer, validated by writing chart-topping hits for the lesser talents of Taylor Swift and Lorde. Antonoff steadily manifested into a puppeteer dictating top 40 charts in recent years due to his masterful ability as a songwriter.
Despite having authored some of the biggest pop acts in music, Antonoff finally poises his talents front and center. In “Gone Now” Antonoff’s image is cleansed from headline-grabbing stars with the exception of minimal contributions from Carly Rae Jepson and Lorde. Ensuing, Antonoff’s artistry shines on “Gone Now,” his most accomplished body of work to date.
Antonoff’s latest, akin to “Strange Desire,” is handcuffed to nostalgic emotion. “Gone Now” envisions Antonoff exercising his demons dealing with loss and trauma. Naturally, a quest for personal salvation suffices in the form of brighter melodies to help quell his lingering grief. The line, “Trying to get myself back home,” refrains throughout the album in order to indicate the spiritual road Antonoff is travelling.
Through each track of this dexterous follow-up to “Strange Desire,” Antonoff exudes substantially more emotional confidence compared to his previous project. Unlike prior release, this LP feeds off a hopeful inclination where some sort of light exits at the end of this synth-driven tunnel. Nevertheless, it eludes thematic and emotional aimlessness and progresses into a bittersweet collection of mission-driven odes dedicated to experiences of heartbreak, loss, youthful fulfillment and artistic renaissance.
Bleachers’ second LP emanates a conflictual warmth. It reboots “Strange Desires’” anthemic, eighties synth-driven pop arrangements — a mere love letter to a John Hughes soundtrack. However, Antonoff reveals in different styles this time around, delivering a holistically contemporary offering to modern pop music. At times, subtle jazz infuses its way into the synthesized heart of this album, most significantly on “Everybody Lost Somebody.” Here, Antonoff blends jazz with climactic, horn-laden soft rock whilst maintaining Bleachers’ ‘80s flourished drums, vocal reverb, and cascading synthesizers.
While Antonoff’s cut-and-dry song structure tends to meander, “Gone Now” transpires a therapeutic essence for both Antonoff and the listener. These songs are as honest as they are sweeping in emotion. With “Gone Now,” his most vibrant work to date, Antonoff finally curates a unique voice that represents his pop music ingenious — separate from Fun., Swift, Lorde or any other pop artist sell out that has exploited Antonoff, a singular pop auteur,