Review Summary: How much have I grown, really?
Introspection is a complicated process. As I come up for air after the whirlwind of sin and summer, I often find myself asking questions I didn’t know I would have to ask. What the hell did I do this season? Last week? Last night? Who have I left in my wake?
With Gone Now
, Bleachers attempts to answer such questions. It is unmistakably a Bleachers album: it twinkles with tense, nervous energy, wrapped in dense synths and percussion. But where Strange Desire
was bombastic, Gone Now
is reserved, for better and for worse. Gone Now
’s sober, steady energy is the cold light of morning, a demand for self-reflection.
Generally speaking, Bleachers finds satisfactory answers to the difficult questions it asks. Hate That You Know Me
is nostalgic in its delivery, yet sounds entirely modern in its composition; it is bouncy, quirky, and little bit light headed. Goodmorning
is similar in its nostalgic lyrics, but is smoother and more relaxed in tone. Jack Antonoff practically shrieks the words “I lied to you, I lied to your face in the summer”
as a pseudo jazz piano struts in the background. That said, Don’t Take The Money
is undoubtedly the star of the show. With its explosive, addictive chorus and some genuinely sweet lyricism, it is one of the most enjoyable pieces of pop music in recent memory. Bleachers directly channels Bon Iver with the closer, Foreign Girls
, which initially feels like a crass imitation, but manages finds its own identity by the end.
But Bleachers does occasionally come up wanting. Let’s Get Married
and I Miss those Days
are the definition of filler; meandering in dull verse melodies only to suddenly shift into cheap, marginally catchy hooks. I’m Ready to Move On/Mickey Mantle Reprise
sounds like a parody of a Bleachers song. It flounders for over 4 minutes, switching between awkward beats and clumsy melodies, unable to find a foothold in either territory. Both of Gone Now
’s ballads (All My Heroes
and Nothing Is U
) are pretty, but inoffensive, each climaxing exactly as one would imagine. The latter half of Gone Now is largely middling, only to be pulled back up by the finale of the record.
If there is one question that Gone Now
is attempting to answer, it is this: How much have I grown, really
? That is a frightening thing to ask, and so I don’t blame Bleachers for drawing up some unsatisfying answers, but I wish Jack Antonoff had defied expectations as he has previously. Now, as a new summer approaches, I must prepare to ask myself such uncomfortable questions, just as Bleachers has. I am thankful that Gone Now
has stepped ahead of me; I just wish its guiding light were brighter.