Yet, this album is a deeper project for Antonoff. Antonoff's childhood starts to reveal itself on the second track, "Goodmorning". The track is relatively stripped down for Antonoff's creativity. His voice is raw, with a slower beat as a bottom layer. The vocals are at the forefront of the song even with his productive layerings. It sounds like a pure confession of childhood innocence, ending with a baby crying out.
After the first two tracks, we make it to one of the singles that came out preceding the album release. "Hate That You Know Me" is a lyrically thoughtful track, with moments of Antonoff yelling out in an emotional manner. It gives us a real look into the troubled thoughts that go through a human's mind on a daily basis. At the same time, it has the pop-influence of a Jackson 5 song with high vocals and funky beats. Right after the funky track, we get the lead single on the album. "Don't Take The Money" is reminiscent of hit tracks off of Strange Desire. The open-air ambience of the instrumentals show off the success of the past hit, "I Wanna Get Better". This is basically the perfected pop formula that Antonoff has started producing. We even get a bit of Lorde's vocals towards the end of the track. Don't zone out though because you might lose it in the ridiculous amount of layering on the track.
This album works so well because audiences feel a connection to Antonoff. This becomes clear with "Everybody Lost Somebody". Antonoff reminds us that struggles are a part of life. His main struggle in life came when he lost his 13-year-old sister to brain cancer. "Everybody Lost Somebody" is a straightforward tribute to her. The lyrics are sad, but soothing instrumentals progress the song with a seemingly happy tone.
The first miss for me on the album comes with "All My Heroes". The track is inspirational, but has trouble taking off because of the tone that Antonoff leaves us with after "Everybody Lost Somebody". After "All My Heroes", we return to Antonoff's creative mind in the following track, "Let's Get Married". The track includes excerpts of Lena Dunham's voice, with a very simple message that constantly states "Let's Get Married." It's a simple track that seems a little too direct, and out of place in the mix. The next track, "Goodbye", is also oddly placed in the middle of the album. It plays as a sendoff, but I'm not exactly sure where the track is supposed to lead us next.
After the three curveball songs, we return to the pop perfection with "I Miss Those Days". It's almost as if Antonoff realized that he got a bit lost in the making of the album for a few songs. The lyrics boldly state, "I know I was lost but I miss those days". Just when we get lost in the music, Antonoff guides us back into his well-crafted world. "Nothing Is U" acts as a breakdown moment that features piano and strings in the background. The ballad is refreshing with a decent build-up into a grand orchestral finish.
The ballad takes us straight into the oddest track on the album, "I'm Ready To Move On/Mickey Mantle Reprise". The instrumentals on the track almost sound like a space opera, meshing past voices with synthesized sounds. It's as if ghosts are talking to us and reminding us of everything we just encountered on the album.
Of course, Antonoff has to finish the album on a high note with "Foreign Girls". The ghosts are interrupted by a high trumpet melody, eventually building to a multi-layered pop hit. At times, it sounds like a choir is walking down the street and giving us direction towards the future of Bleachers. The autotune is prevalent, but also effective as we go between a single voice and a multi-layered choir. Overall, the last track is a nice ending to an adventure through Antonoff's past life. Surely, Antonoff will no longer be a stranger to pop listeners.
Favorite Tracks: "Goodmorning", "Hate That You Know Me", "Don't Take The Money", "Everybody Lost Somebody", "I Miss Those Days", "Foreign Girls"
Least Favorite Tracks: "All My Heroes", "Let's Get Married", "Goodbye"