Bleachers Channel Springsteen in “Chinatown”

default article imageJack Antonoff, with his newest single “Chinatown,” has achieved the New Jerseyan dream: he made a song with Bruce Springsteen. Antonoff, known for being a member of fun. and being a producer for other high-profile acts like Taylor Swift, Lorde, St. Vincent, Lana Del Rey, and Kevin Abstract, has a history for creating songs for others.

But with his solo project Bleachers, he shifts gears. His focus on pop-anthems is still a priority, but with his songs as Bleachers, he puts a unique twist to it. Still in line with what Antonoff knows, Bleachers is bolder and more experimental. Everything that he usually does is still intact, but he adds grittier sounds that twist the songs he makes from folksy pop tracks to more experimental songs that can do more.

The song “Chinatown” tackles the viewpoints of his relationship with his girlfriend. He sings about their issues and how they overcome them. “Chinatown,” uses the fictional story of running out of the hectic Chinatown city environment to a different place, assumedly New Jersey; since it’s this part when Springsteen comes in and layers his vocals. Singing “With a girl like you/You’re my Chinatown baby/Sittin’ on your front stoop/Crying out the crazy/I’ll take you out of the city/Honey, right into the shadow/Because I wanna find tomorrow,” you get how Antonoff is tying the story to his relationship. In his interview on Apple Music with Zane Lowe, Antonoff said “This song really used the idea of New Jersey and New York City as different characters in relationships, leaving one, entering another one, going home, going into the future. It really spoke to me, this idea of bouncing back and forth between the place I’m from and the place that I’m building my life.” His impressive songwriting is shown through the song, and it’s clear why major acts go to him when they need a hit.

Antonoff’s talent in his music production shows in “Chinatown” too, his classic percussive acoustic guitar riffs that are squeezed in between a bassy synth and a light melody are prevalent and give the track those special Antonoff qualities. What separates “Chinatown” from other productions from him is his darker tones that he uses. Distorting the synth and using the other methods to give undertones that capture the moods of his relationships the lows and the highs. Also, the drums on the track show a different side of Antonoff, that he can make crisp, vinyl sounding drums and mix it 80’s nostalgia sound, which

“Chinatown” is a must-listen for anyone that likes the newer sounding Lorde or Lana Del Ray. Also, the rare and spirited Bruce Springsteen appearance just makes the song that much better. It’s a great pop song that could garner some solid radio airplay in the near future. This might be a breakthrough for Antonoff, that could see Bleachers become his permanent persona. “Chinatown” is the first taste of Bleachers’ upcoming third studio album that’s set to be released in 2021, and is a great lead single for it.

PHOTO COURTESY of Monmouth University