Photo Credit: Matt Salacuse
When Bleachers released their 2017 album, Gone Now, the band was still relatively undiscovered. The band had a taste of widespread success with one of their first singles, “I Wanna Get Better”, and followed it up with a strong debut and sophomore album that was well-received by both fans and critics. After a four-year break, frontman and producer Jack Antonoff returns with his band for Take the Sadness Out of Saturday Night, an album about entering the next phases of your life.
Take the Sadness Out of Saturday Night trades in the glitzy indie-pop that has defined the band over the past few years for more anthemic tunes backed by a full band (including a saxophone à la Bruce Springsteen) and intimate ballads that were lacking on the last two albums. Each track is tinged with nostalgia as they reminisce about days gone by and look to the future. Antonoff told Apple Music in an interview that the album was written in “questions” and that he writes what feels true to him at that moment, not for an album specifically.
Antonoff also writes in juxtapositions, the most notable examples being “Big Life” and “Secret Life”, which both detail ways to experience love and life with your partner. The titles reflect the sentiments being expressed wherein the former song, Antonoff sings about experiencing love in a big and public way with confident and bombastic production to match. On the other hand, “Secret Life” is a more intimate song where love is experienced in their own bubble – shutting all the doors to the world. “I just want a secret life // where you and I can get bored out of our minds” he croons alongside frequent collaborator Lana Del Rey. There is another pair of songs in “Stop Making This Hurt” and “How Dare You Want More”, both of which touch on wanting control over your life and the struggle that goes along with it.
There is a lot of inspiration that is taken from the New Jersey/New York area, and even collaborating with one of the most successful artists to come out of the area, Bruce Springsteen, on “Chinatown.” Production on songs like “Don’t Go Dark” are Springsteen-esque in vocal arrangements and instrumentation. Blending the city-life and influences of the ever-bustling Manhattan with the steadier suburban dream of New Jersey is yet another contrast worked into the 10 tracks, especially since “Chinatown” was written to mimic the feeling of going home from the city.
Throughout his career, Jack Antonoff has worked with some of the most successful names in the music industry such as Taylor Swift, Lana Del Rey, and Lorde – and that’s only in the past year! However, executing another artist’s vision and creating his own vision are two entirely different things. Antonoff saves his introspection and confessionals for his fans and relates his complex emotional journeys throughout these projects. While Take the Sadness Out of Saturday Night has its highs and lows, it is still a solid project for Bleachers, showing growth and maturity along with elements that fans already know and love. Not many of the questions brought up in the body of work may be answered, but it reflects our own lives in which we may not have answers for everything that comes our way.