ALBUM: “Take the Sadness Out of Saturday Night” by Bleachers
RELEASE YEAR: 2021
LABEL: RCA Records Label
BEST TRACKS: “Chinatown” “How Dare You Want More” “Stop Making This Hurt”
“Take the Sadness Out of Saturday Night” is finally out after over a year of teasing by Jack Antonoff, who said at the beginning of 2020 that his third album would come at some time that year.
With a total of 10 songs that clock in at nearly 34 minutes, this album contains collaborations with Annie Clark (better known as St. Vincent), Lana Del Rey and Bruce Springsteen. The three singles “45,” “Chinatown” and “Stop Making This Hurt” are indubitably three of the strongest tracks.
As a fan of Antonoff, I was somewhat surprised by how reminiscent of Bleachers’ previous album, “Gone Now,” this release was. To Antonoff’s credit, he did experiment more than usual on this record, as seen with an instrumental solo in the back half of “How Dare You Want More” and strong vocals in the opening track, “91”. However, he seemed to fall back into his own tropes of big jazzy instrumentation and writing about the same themes he’s been writing about for his entire solo career (shadows, heroes/being saved, and waking up being just a few of the tropes he falls back on). What once felt like a refreshing take on pop music is now starting to feel somewhat trite.
What some may see as repetitive, others may interpret as cohesive and consistent, so it’s a matter of how you frame the context surrounding the album. Criticism aside, the album is good, and definitely worth the listen, but simply not what I was hoping to see from Antonoff.
Track 9, “Strange Behavior” (previously known as “Behavior”), is a cover of a song he had written in Steel Train, a former band of his. The new rendition is more soulful and intimate than the previous, but I’m partial to the rock instrumentation and the overall execution on the Steel Train version.
As always happens with a Bleachers record, the album’s themes and generally upbeat nature left me feeling hopeful, which is a rare and beautiful gift that Antonoff possesses, and is one that just can’t be taught. Although I definitely prefer Bleachers’ two previous records, “Strange Desire” and “Gone Now,” I appreciate the artistry and love that clearly went into “Take the Sadness Out of Saturday Night.”