While on tour with his band Fun., Jack Antonoff began working on a secret project. He managed to keep this project a secret for almost a year, until his new “side project”, Bleachers, released his first single, I Wanna Get Better. Bleachers, Antonoff’s new solo act (although he has made it very clear that he is not leaving Fun. any time soon!) has an ‘80s inspired American indie-pop sound. Soon after I Wanna Get Better, Bleachers released a full-length album in 2014 called Strange Desire. Antonoff is currently on tour for this album. It was received popularly, peaking at 101 on the US Billboard charts and hitting number 1 on the Alternative Billboard chart. Although not nearly as popular as Fun. has been, Bleachers has been decently successful. Strange Desire is an album full of, well, strange instrumentation. It seems to be fairly experimental, and it is debatable whether or not those experiments were successful. Kicking off the album with Wild Heart, this track contains piano chords, heavy drum beats, synthesizer, and guitar in the background. Although not for everyone, many people love this song. It is a bit eccentric, and there is a spoken monologue in the background by Grace Dunham. The following track, Rollercoaster, is probably the most popular one on the album. Antonoff’s voice makes it clear that he is certainly talented. Shadow begins with an odd drum beat and guitar picking. The chorus is catchy, but clearly not for everyone. However, it fits well with the rest of the album and is a strong, memorable song. The fourth track on the album, I Wanna Get Better, was the first single released from the album and is up there with Rollercoaster for the most popular. With catchy piano chords in the beginning that are interspersed with a high-piched voice speaking gibberish, it’s an unorthodox yet memorable song. Although it has meaningful lyrics of which the theme is spread throughout the record, the upbeat and cheery melody doesn’t quite fit in with the rest of the moodier album. Wake Me seems to have almost juvenile lyrics, like a love song written by a high schooler. However, it is still catchy and a good song. Like A River Runs, Jack’s tribute to a lost sister, is driving and powerful. All 11 songs on this album are unique and powerful in their own ways. In terms of popularity, it could go both ways. There are many people who absolutely love it and some people who aren’t such big fans.
When I first heard this album, I was torn. I like a lot of the songs on the album, yes. A lot of it was very different from what I was used to, though. I don’t really think that any of the songs had moved me like some of the other albums I’ve heard, except for I Wanna Get Better. Since then, however, listening closer has provided me with a better insight onto the album and I appreciate it much more.
Overall, I would rate this album an 8/10 because since it’s somewhat unique and eccentric, not every song is for everyone. However, Antonoff is still very talented and that is clear throughout the album, and the lyrics are often powerful and strong.