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Album Review: Take the Sadness Out of Saturday Night by Bleachers

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Bleachers, or just known as Jack Antonoff, is a singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer from New Jersey. Besides Bleachers, you may know him from fun. or as a producer for big name artists like Taylor Swift and Lorde. Jack Antonoff has basically done it all and has been pretty busy these past few years. Fans have been waiting for LP3, and after four (long) years, he returns with the third project titled Take the Sadness Out of Saturday Night.

The first track from the project is 91. I was a little surprised since I knew there was another numbered track on the project, so I wasn't sure if there was any correlation. Besides that, it opens up with some string sections, and it just continues with the same string line. I'm honestly just wanting more from the opening track, especially since it's not like some of the other Bleachers projects. There are several things Jack touches on, including the Gulf War in 1991, as well as anger towards others.

Chinatown was one of the singles that I first listened to before the project. While I wasn't huge on it at first, it has grown on me, but the mixing of the vocals just seem a little too quiet compared with the instrumentation. I do enjoy the dreamy and glitzy synth layers on this track. I'm also surprised that Bruce Springsteen was brought onto this track, but it really adds that rough layer on top of everything. Jack talks about how this track starts in New York City, but eventually ends in New Jersey.
 
How Dare You Want More brings us back to some of the more classic Bleachers sound, but there's a problem with the mixing on this track as well. I really have to turn up the volume on my headphones/speakers at the beginning. While I get that the sound builds up over time, that's something that doesn't really work well for studio production. I'm sure it would work live, but not on the recorded version. Minus, the quiet production, I'm getting some This Life by Vampire Weekend vibes at the beginning. This is going to be on my favorite tracks list, but I will have to hear it live to get my final thoughts on this track. 

Big Life marks the shortest track on the project, just at two and a half minutes in length. I'm not really sure how to feel about this one, especially since the mixing is a bit off. Not as bad as the previous track, but it varies. It continues to use some of the 80s-esque inspiration that some of the previous tracks used. It's such an interesting track with the 'scooping' vocals and even guitar part. Other than that, he just talks about living a 'big' life.

Following the previous track we have Secret Life, which features Lana Del Rey. Jack talks about how this track is the polar opposite from the previous track since he talks about wanting this person in a secret life, and almost like a 'boring' life as he puts it. Instrumentally, it's more stripped back than the previous track since we just have some strings and a piano part. There's a faint electric guitar part that plays over the chorus of the track too, to give it an eerie feeling.

Stop Making This Hurt was another track from the project that had an original Bleachers sound, with Jack's own 80s spin on it. You have the loud and exciting vocals, which is what Bleachers is usually known for from his first two studio projects. Also, the regular production is back and we don't have to worry about it being quieter than the rest of the album. Jack talks about how people just need to drop off their pains and move on with life.

Don't Go Dark opens up with some reverbed drum parts and a guitar. Eventually we get some light saxophone and bell notes. Again, the instrumentation isn't your usual Bleachers sound, but it's been pretty consistent with what we've heard on the project so far. According to Jack, this track talks about a break up and how this person just started to run free after the end of it. Him and Lana really lay a heavy emphasis on the 'running' aspect as the track fades out.

45 was one that has a heavy Pink Floyd influence and I'm glad that I wasn't the only one who got that feeling. The beginning of the track sounds similar to Brain Damage from Pink Floyd. It seems to have a similar chord progression during the verses. Not a carbon copy, but you might be able to hear some similarities. Other than that, some people have talked about how this track is Jack moving out of his hometown, but still remembering his roots.

Strange Behavior is another track that opens quietly with an acoustic guitar. We also get some other string instruments that start to slowly come in. It's also a bit eerie at times. Eventually Jack comes in with his soft vocals. It may also be due to the production of this track that makes it sound quieter than it should be. After digging through this track even more, this was apparently an older song he wrote with Steel Train, except this is a stripped back version.

The final track we have on the project is What'd I Do With All This Faith? which opens up with an almost minute long orchestral introduction. Once the introduction fades, we just have Jack's vocals and an acoustic guitar. We do get some small instrumental add ins, but nothing too crazy. While on previous projects he has had a feeling of moving on for the final track, this album has an idea of uncertainty and not knowing what to do next.

While I'm glad Jack is able to try new things and experiment with different sounds, I was thrown off since this really isn't what Bleachers is known for. Not a terrible album, but there's only a few tracks that I will come back to periodically.
Overall Rating: 6/10
Favorite Tracks: Chinatown, How Dare You Want More, Stop Making This Hurt, 45
 
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