I was going to simply tell people they needed to go out and listen to the new Bleachers album, Strange Desire, that just came out this past Tuesday. But Bleachers means so much more than that to me. And if you don’t care about that, then go scroll down and start jamming the freak out – cause it’s that good.
Photo Credit: Billboard.com
The Bleachers back story starts in high school, when my best friend gifted me a mixtape of Arizona hometown band, The Format. Before this moment, my music taste came curated from my mother (a dance teacher spanning music’s crazy generations) and cliche radio stations. Madonna, The Beatles, and Jackson Browne will always hold a place in my heart because of my mother – and sadly, so will Magic Stick by 50 Cent. But at this moment, where a mix CD came in the form of authentic song writing, powerful back stories, and musical genius, my mind changed. Hearing the grit and hard work Nate Ruess (lead singer of The Format) and Sam Means put into every song made me fall in love with the so-called “indie” music scene. In all honesty, I became a fan-boy.
The Format: photo credit: freshpeel.com
However, in a tragic sequence of events, The Format broke up shortly after I found a passion for the music. I saw my best friend get emotional about a band, and somewhere in the back of my mind, I felt a cringe of pain as well. Music had officially gotten to me. We proceeded to search high and low for similar bands, until one day in late 2008 we heard fun. , the brain-child of Nate Ruess (from the Format), Jack Antonoff (from Steel Train), and Andrew Dost (from Anathallo).
Have a second? Click here to see Andrew Dost’s side project: music for dogs.
Fun. shed everything I knew about music. I saw one of their first concerts in Tempe (with The Jakes opening, now known as Young the Giant) and had never felt ecstasy as pure and raw as what came out of those blaring speakers. Fun. did not care about any of the rules of music producing or life. Throwing elements of Queen, Van Morrison, Bruce Springsteen, new-age pop, and rock into one whirlpool of goodness, fun. was the most authentic thing I heard in my entire life.
2008 fun. performance in Tempe
Fast forward to fun.’s release of their second album, Some Nights, and the fans starting pouring in. My small group of friends who had been to over ten fun. concerts across the nation were then joined by thousands.
If you think you like fun. and haven’t seen this, you’ll probably lose it. Click here: “Some Nights Intro”
(Opera singers, choirs, orchestras, and that voice. That fucking voice.)
The band represented everything we were. It represented everything we wanted to be. Nate knew what I was thinking when he sang, “and you have every right to be scared,” because I was terrified. Fun. provided us solace in everything.
photo credit: themaxonline.net
Amidst all of this chaos, Jack Antonoff was always there. The lead guitarist jumped incessantly like a slinky falling down stairs at every single concert. Underrated by most fans of fun., Jack created the heartbeat behind every song. Elements from his previous, and awesome, band Steel Train, poured out, while his activism and equality shined out through the band’s brand. Passion for music is an understatement for Jack, as I once saw him in Mesa perform as the lead singer for Steel Train, and then play immediately after as the lead guitarist for fun. Two concerts. Back-to-back. (Side Note: he stage dived…I may or may not have touched his butt)
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Present day: fun. is out working on new music, and Jack started and finished Bleachers’ first album. Imagine fun. + Steel Train + pure joy. In my first listen Jack already throws down with lyrics that are once again ubiquitous and personal at the same time. The emotional pull you never expected music to hit you with is extrapolated with a sledge hammer in every song.
“And if you see me in the darkness
I hope you know I’m not alone
I carry you with every breath I take
I won’t let up, I won’t let up
Until the wind is gone”
-Like A River: Bleachers
The album, Strange Desire, is truly something special. Jack is honest and true in everything he does. Called strange, odd, and quirky it seems as though Jack doesn’t care. [I mean, Yoko Ono makes an appearance on his record.] What he does care about is authenticity in everything he does. And Strange Deisre is as pure as it gets. Take a listen:
“I want to be grateful for the experiences I’ve had” – You’re Still a Mystery: Bleachers
See the Bleachers music video, along with other songs for your summer in one of my previous posts. Click here!