If you’ve listened to pop music in the last decade, you’ve probably encountered Jack Antonoff’s music. As a gifted songwriter and multi-talented instrumentalist, the Bleachers frontman has become the go-to collaborator for Taylor Swift, Lorde, Lana Del Rey, St. Vincent, and numerous other pop stars. Though he’s only 36, he’s been making music for over twenty years, and his sound has evolved dramatically over the course of his career. Let’s take a journey through the musical world of Jack Antonoff, starting at the very beginning.
Follow along with our selection of key tracks on Spotify or take a dive into Antonoff’s complete discography.
Note: Antonoff is a humble guy. He insists that his greatest contribution to other artists’ music is bringing out their best, most personal work, NOT that he writes their songs for them –– after all, he works with some of the most talented songwriters in the world, and they’d create fantastic music with or without him. For the purposes of this project, I’m assuming that Antonoff has a prominent role in shaping the sonic landscape of other artists’ work via his production, and that he assists in the songwriting process, but rarely takes control of it.
Note 2: This guide shows all of Antonoff’s work in (more or less) chronological order based on release date. It is likely –– and almost certain –– that the order of release does not necessarily reflect the order in which these projects were written and recorded.
Antonoff’s first band, Outline, formed during high school in the late ‘90s, as part of a blossoming underground scene in northern New Jersey. During their brief tenure, the band drove their parents’ minivans around the country to perform, and also recorded three albums, which are impossible to find online, save for a couple tracks uploaded by nostalgic fans (though someone is selling a used copy of their final album for $65 on Amazon). One of the surviving songs, “Revolution,” features all the trappings of typical early-2000s punk and a chord progression that Antonoff would later revisit with poppier sensibilities on Bleachers’ “Rollercoaster.”
For You My Dear
Antonoff and Outline bandmate Daniel Silbert teamed up with other local friends to form Steel Train in 2002. Steel Train’s debut EP For You My Dear is Antonoff’s earliest music available on streaming services. Though Antonoff was the lead singer and primary songwriter for the majority of the band’s career, For You My Dear features another lead vocalist — Scott Irby-Ranniar, who originated the role of young Simba in Broadway’s The Lion King. Acoustic pop-rock songs make up most of the EP, though the title track features enough slick electric guitar to evoke late ‘60s psychedelic rock and a hint of the Beatles’ “Dear Prudence.”
Twilight Tales from the Prairies of the Sun
In 2013, Antonoff told AltPress, “At every turn, [Steel Train] made it almost impossible for any casual listener to latch onto what we were doing. Steel Train was, by design, only for insane, hardcore fans, and I don’t even really mean that as a positive.” The band’s niche was never niche-r than on their debut album –– with influences ranging from John Denver to Santana, Twilight Tales utilizes wild jam band instrumentation, and was inspired by Antonoff’s high school relationship with classmate Scarlett Johansson (yeah, you read that right, and the pics are out there). Grateful Dead collaborator David Grisman contributed mandolin on the album, while pedal steel guitarist Gene Parsons gives several tracks a country flair.
Steel Train pivoted to more mainstream indie rock stylings with Trampoline. On “I Feel Weird,” Antonoff directly confronts trauma he experienced in the early 2000s –– soon after the September 11th attacks, his 13-year-old sister died of brain cancer, and his cousin died in the Iraq War (“When I was eighteen everything was alive/Then the planes hit the towers/Then she died, then he died/A part of me disappeared six feet in the ground/Million miles in the sky a fire burns/A fire burns, a fire burns and it is mine”). “I Feel Weird” was the first song Antonoff performed on national TV, when Conan O’Brien brought Steel Train to Late Night in 2009.
Some of Antonoff’s most overt homages to his musical idols appear on Trampoline –– seven-minute “Alone on the Sea” boasts bright, anthemic guitars that would make U2 proud, while tempo changes and bouncy piano make “A Magazine” feel like the band’s own “A Day in the Life.” For my money, the folksy closing song “Women I Belong To” contains Antonoff’s strongest, most personal lyrics yet.
Aim & Ignite
Between Steel Train album cycles, Antonoff teamed up with The Format’s Nate Ruess and Anathallo’s Andrew Dost to form fun., an indie pop-rock act heavily influenced by theatrical pop from the 1960s and ‘70s. Since Ruess was the lead singer, Antonoff primarily focused on playing guitar, but his voice can still occasionally be heard on tracks like “Be Calm,” where pompous orchestration channels groups like Queen and the Beach Boys. Meanwhile, lush string arrangements and vocoder-laden backing vocals make “All the Pretty Girls” sound like a lost song from Electric Light Orchestra. That song’s music video depicts the band escaping Beatlemaniacal hordes of fans –– an inspiration they take further on “Light a Roman Candle with Me,” a piano-heavy love song with tight harmonies and bouncy drums.
After Aim & Ignite, Antonoff returned to Steel Train to record their self-titled final album. Steel Train is one of Antonoff’s most emotionally eclectic projects –– mid-album highlight “Touch Me Bad” is Steel Train at the peak of their power-pop powers, with a gradually-lengthening schoolyard chant for a chorus and catchy instrumental fills, while Antonoff addresses a lost loved one in poignant finale “Fall Asleep,” which mirrors Pachelbel’s Canon to conjure romantic, timeless nostalgia.
Fan-favorite “Bullet” is the only Steel Train song that Antonoff still performs live, and introduces numerous lyrical trends that characterize his later work –– the back seat of a car, going on the run, and bittersweet romances, to name a few. The band performed the song on David Letterman’s Late Show in 2010.
Fun. reunited for a second album that catapulted them into the mainstream. Some Nights doubled down on the theatricality of Aim & Ignite, and producer Jeff Bhasker (Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy) added drum machines and auto-tune to give the album a hip-hop-adjacent edge. Most of the album chronicles the tension between young millennial insecurity and invincibility, resulting in anxious anthems like the title track, which boasts one of Antonoff’s best guitar arrangements, as well as era-defining odes to youth like the Queen-inspired “We Are Young,” which earned the Grammy for Song of the Year (the group also won Best New Artist at the ceremony). Though fun. is long defunct, Antonoff still plays “Carry On” at Bleachers shows.
Post-fun. and pre-Bleachers, Antonoff found minor songwriting success as he collaborated with well-known singers. None of the songs from this period are particularly mind-blowing, but they cemented Antonoff’s reputation as a talented and gracious collaborator who can help artists produce great work.
Antonoff cowrote Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Sweetie,” a bonus track from her album Kiss. It’s not a particularly significant song in her discography, but Antonoff cites it as one of the most important milestones in his career, as it marked the first time that someone asked him to collaborate on their music as a songwriter.
His first major hit as a songwriter was Sara Bareilles’ “Brave,” the lead single from The Blessed Unrest which made waves after fans accused Katy Perry of plagiarising the song for her own “Roar.” “Brave” is a bouncy empowerment anthem that Bareilles and Antonoff wrote as a tribute to a friend who struggled with coming out. Better yet is the album track “Chasing the Sun,” an anthemic love letter to New York. The album was nominated for Album of the Year at the Grammys.
Tegan and Sara Quin also collaborated with Antonoff on “How Come You Don’t Want Me,” a Robyn-esque synthpop song from their album Heartthrob.
Antonoff’s final song in 2013 was his first collaboration with Taylor Swift, a one-off single titled “Sweeter Than Fiction” for the movie One Chance. This song marks the first time Antonoff received credit as a producer on another artist’s work, and features a solid pop guitar solo that would have fit nicely on Some Nights. This song is mostly a sign of better things to come from Swift and Antonoff’s working relationship.
Antonoff also cowrote “i dont wanna break” with Christina Perri for her album Head or Heart. His influence gradually seeps into the song as explosive drum tracks and soaring choruses complement Perri’s candid lyrics.
Antonoff’s new project Bleachers debuted in early 2014 with “I Wanna Get Better,” a glitchy electro-pop-rock single with a massive shout-along chorus and a desperate mantra that the singer compared to the Mountain Goats’ “This Year.” Strange Desire arrived a few months later, with a collection of bombastic, earnest love songs that Antonoff wrote while touring with fun. Strange Desire owes a lot to synth-heavy John Hughes movie soundtracks, but also adds organic instruments and choppy vocal samples to create a fuller, more timeless sound than the era that inspired it.
Strange Desire’s sonic profile embodies the sound that would become Antonoff’s signature for the next few years — punchy, gated-reverb drums, walls of layered vocals, and, most importantly, shimmering ‘80s synths that provoke melancholy and warmth in equal measure.
Lyrically, Strange Desire is distinct from Steel Train in both its personal nature and accessibility. Antonoff had never been as specific about his own experiences as he is in “I Wanna Get Better” or “Like a River Runs,” which both address his sister’s death. Yet these songs, along with other highlights like “Wild Heart” and “Rollercoaster,” also have moments of pop universality that Steel Train never attempted –– yes, repeated lines like “I didn’t know I was lonely til I saw your face/I wanna get better” and “I will find any way to your wild heart” are steeped in Antonoff’s personal context, but they’re broad enough to apply to anyone screaming in the audience of a Bleachers show.
Antonoff’s breakthrough as a producer and cowriter came soon after Strange Desire, when Taylor Swift enlisted his help to create the throwback aesthetic of 1989. Swift and Antonoff collaborated on three tracks, most notably “Out of the Woods,” where Antonoff sings backup and brings a massive wall of percussion and vocals to the chorus. The duo performed the song together at the 2016 Grammys, where 1989 later won Album of the Year (look for Antonoff during Swift’s acceptance speech).
“You Are In Love” is one of the slowest tracks on the album, and contains lyrics that allegedly chronicle Swift’s observations of Antonoff’s relationship with Girls’ Lena Dunham.
They also collaborated on “I Wish You Would,” a guitar-driven track that Swift dissects in a deluxe-edition voicenote.
After a very eventful 2014, Antonoff spent the next couple of years touring with Bleachers and writing his follow-up to Strange Desire. During this period, he still made time to collaborate with other singers on one-off tracks for various projects. In 2015 and 2016, nine artists released nine songs with Antonoff’s name attached.
“Entropy” reunited Antonoff with Grimes after her appearance on Strange Desire’s “Take Me Away.” The song departs from Grimes’ typical experimental sound in favor of a more mainstream pop aesthetic. Meanwhile, “Help Me Run Away” by St. Lucia is a full-blown ‘80s synthpop extravaganza, complete with vocals that sound eerily similar to Duran Duran. “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever,” a duet between ZAYN and Taylor Swift, became one of Antonoff’s highest-charting singles, and marked his first work with fellow songwriter Sam Dew, who sings backup on the song (more on him later).
Brooke Candy’s “Changes” and Fifth Harmony’s “Dope” see Antonoff dip his toes into the worlds of hip-hop and R&B, respectively. Antonoff sings the hook in Candy’s song. Sia’s “House on Fire,” Troye Sivan’s “Heaven,” How to Dress Well’s “Lost Youth/Lost You,” and Rachel Platten’s “Stand by You” all revolve around simple, bouncy keyboards and pulsing electronic percussion (though Antonoff only has writing credit on the latter, and not producing credit, his influence is still strong).
Terrible Thrills, Vol. 2
Antonoff assembled a free cover album of Strange Desire, exclusively featuring female artists covering Bleachers songs. Highlights include Sara Bareilles’ “Wild Heart,” Charli XCX’s “Rollercoaster,” and Natalie Maines’ “Who I Want You to Love.” Antonoff produced most of the tracks himself, and also produced similar albums for Steel Train (only available on Bandcamp) and Gone Now (only available on vinyl).
Antonoff started the most significant year of his career with a second Bleachers album, Gone Now. Though the ‘80s synthpop inspiration still shines in songs like “Don’t Take the Money” and “Let’s Get Married,” the overall palette of the album greatly expands on Strange Desire’s style. The sax-heavy “Everybody Lost Somebody” sounds like the love child of Chance the Rapper and David Byrne, while the piano-driven “Goodmorning” could fit on David Bowie’s Hunky Dory or the Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour (Antonoff himself compared the brass in the latter song to “Penny Lane”).
Gone Now may be Antonoff’s most personal project because it’s essentially the musical equivalent of his life flashing before his eyes. Through scattered images and half-remembered anecdotes, he reflects on every major aspect of his life — nostalgia and youth in “I Miss Those Days,” romance in “Don’t Take the Money” and “Nothing is U,” everyday life in “Goodmorning.” The most prominent fixation, though, is death, in almost every capacity — he recalls his first encounter with it in “Dream of Mickey Mantle,” the loss of his idols in “All My Heroes,” the death of his sister in “Everybody Lost Somebody,” and even his own death in “I’m Ready to Move On” and “Foreign Girls.” Gone Now’s lyrics were so conclusively cathartic that Antonoff didn’t think he’d ever write his own music again.
Gone Now also features a who’s who of past and future Antonoff collaborators. Touring Bleachers member Evan Smith provides blaring saxophone on several tracks, while fun. bandmate Andrew Dost sings backing vocals on “Goodmorning.” Meanwhile, Lorde, Carly Rae Jepsen, Sam Dew, and Julia Michaels sing backup throughout the album, and trumpeter Nico Segal (Chance the Rapper’s Acid Rap and Coloring Book) lends his horn to several songs. Hip-hop producer Sounwave co-produces “Goodbye” and “Foreign Girls.”
Lorde brilliantly celebrated and critiqued the suburban dystopia of her teenage years on Pure Heroine, but turns her focus inward on Melodrama, chronicling a failed romance through the lens of a depressing house party. Lorde was the first artist to entrust Antonoff with producing and cowriting an entire album (save for one track, “Homemade Dynamite”). Critics and fans agreed that Melodrama was a worthy successor to Pure Heroine, and also Antonoff’s best production effort thus far. Melodrama shed more light on Antonoff than is typical for a producer — he appears in the music video for lead single “Green Light” and played piano on the Saturday Night Live performance of “Liability” (coincidentally, the host of that SNL episode was one Scarlett Johansson).
Antonoff left his fingerprints all over Melodrama — the Springsteen-y guitar on “The Louvre,” the arpeggiating synths on “Supercut,” and the wall of shouts on “Perfect Places” all could have been plucked from Strange Desire or 1989. But Lorde’s album also broke a lot of new ground for Antonoff as a producer — there’s harsh brass on “Sober,” heavy strings on “Sober II,” and a breakdown that sounds like Transformers moving furniture on “Hard Feelings.” Ironically, though, the most groundbreaking new production technique for Antonoff, who’d previously only exercised maximalism, is simplicity. Emotional ballads “Liability” and “Writer in the Dark,” which give Lorde’s vocals the spotlight with only minimal piano chords for support.
St. Vincent (the stage name of Annie Clark) and Antonoff co-produced and cowrote her fifth album, which reflects on sex, power, and heartbreak in a synthetic, funky synthpop package. Though Masseduction features more predominantly electronic instrumentation than Antonoff’s previous work, it still contains a number of intriguing organic elements. Sounwave provides beats on “Pills,” while jazz legend Kamasi Washington and Bleachers member Evan Smith both play saxophone on the same track. Lush string arrangements on “Hang on Me” and “Slow Disco” parallel similar orchestration on Melodrama and foreshadow Lana Del Rey’s Norman Fucking Rockwell!, while renowned pedal steel guitarist Greg Leisz provides a hypnotic country texture on several tracks, most notably “Happy Birthday, Johnny.” And Clark’s signature guitar shredding propelled the title track, which is unquestionably a pop song, to win the Grammy for Best Rock Song.
Masseduction’s sexually-charged glam and funk led to numerous Prince and David Bowie comparisons. The lyrics of lead single “New York” may even reference these fallen icons, as Clark sings, “I have lost a hero, I have lost a friend/But for you darling, I’d do it all again,” continuing Antonoff’s lamenting trend that was kicked off by Bleachers’ “All My Heroes” and repeated in Lorde’s “Perfect Places” (“All of our heroes fading”).
Taylor Swift and Antonoff re-teamed for six songs on her 1989 follow-up Reputation, a reactionary album that grapples with insecurity and romance in the midst of superstardom. The most stereotypically Antonoff-y track, “Getaway Car,” features oddly-affected vocal delivery, frantic electronic percussion, and on-the-run lyrics straight out of a Bleachers album. The song also features one of Antonoff’s most prominent uses of the vocoder. Swift and Antonoff get more experimental on lead single “Look What You Made Me Do,” which applies the minor-key maximalism of a Disney villain song to a sample of Right Said Fred’s “I’m Too Sexy.” I’m pretty sure Antonoff can be heard wailing in the background of the bridge. His voice is more prominent on “Call It What You Want,” one of the most overtly romantic tracks on the album. And on album closer “New Year’s Day,” Swift gets the “Liability” treatment, with nothing but simple piano chords to highlight her vocals and lyrics.
Antonoff contributed production and writing on two songs from P!nk’s Beautiful Trauma. The title track boasts heavily processed orchestration to support the singer’s lyrics about reluctant romance. Sam Dew cowrites the gospel-tinged “Better Life,” a bittersweet expression of the singer’s insecurity. Fun fact: Bleachers opened for P!nk at seven shows on the Beautiful Trauma tour.
This non-album single by BANKS was Antonoff’s only one-off song of 2017. It’s a solid midtempo synthpop track, similar to other one-offs released in 2015 and 2016 –– I suspect it was written and recorded during the same time period.
Since Love, Simon is essentially a modern twist on John Hughes’ 1980s coming-of-age movies, it’s only natural that the king of Hughes-inspired contemporary pop would oversee its soundtrack. Antonoff served as the music supervisor for Greg Berlanti’s coming-out dramedy, and created several new songs to accompany the film. “Alfie’s Song,” cowritten by Harry Styles, sounds more like Steel Train than any of Bleachers’ previous work, and also evokes ‘70s singer-songwriters like Van Morrison and Paul Simon. The other new Bleachers track, synth-soaked “Keeping a Secret,” finds universality in the mixed emotions produced by hush-hush romances. Antonoff also produced four additional tracks: Troye Sivan’s “Strawberries & Cigarettes,” which sounds a lot like “You are in Love;” MØ’s “Never Fall in Love,” an uptempo sugar rush of a song with a killer key change; and Amy Shark’s “Sink In,” written by Julia Michaels. Later that year, Antonoff reteamed with Shark for “All Loved Up,” which would have fit nicely on the Simon album as well.
Lana Del Rey released two back-to-back singles from her long-delayed album Norman Fucking Rockwell! in September 2018. Normally, I’d include singles with the album release date, but their distance from the full record –– and impact on other artists –– makes them an important milestone in their own right. “Mariners Apartment Complex” and “Venice Bitch” revealed a side of Antonoff’s musical profile that had laid dormant since Steel Train –– psychedelic west-coast rock reminiscent of the 1960s and ‘70s. Aside from a trippy solo in “Venice Bitch,” neither track contains recognizable synthesizers or drum machines, instead using acoustic instruments and fuzzy electric guitars to give the song a hypnotic haze that matches Lana’s late-summer lyrics. At nine and a half minutes, the latter track is the longest song that either artist has ever created, and features some truly insane instrumental breaks from Antonoff.
Without “Venice Bitch,” we wouldn’t have ARIZONA BABY.
After hearing Lana Del Rey’s song, BROCKHAMPTON frontman Kevin Abstract enlisted Antonoff to give his second solo album a similar sonic palette. ARIZONA BABY is the producer’s most overt foray into hip-hop, as Abstract raps over Antonoff’s swirling guitars and muted piano. Evan Smith brings a harsh sax riff to “Joyride,” Dominic Fike lends vocals to the hook of summery “Peach,” and Antonoff himself sings the chorus of “Crumble.”
Pop songwriter Sam Dew and hip-hop producer Sounwave teamed up with Antonoff to create the low-key supergroup Red Hearse, whose self-titled album is a swift eight tracks of soulful pop perfection. Sam Dew gives an incredible vocal performance on every song, while Sounwave provides innovative beats and Antonoff plays keyboard and guitar. Their first-released song, also titled “Red Hearse,” serves as a perfect introduction to the group –– the bouncy beat perfectly complements Dew’s voice without outshining it, and Antonoff even sings near the song’s conclusion. St. Vincent stars in the video for “Half Love,” the emo-soul album opener that questions an uncommitted relationship. Perhaps their strongest song, “Everybody Wants You” takes a more minimalist approach, stacking Dew’s silky vocals to lament a loved one’s desirability.
Taylor Swift’s seventh album features more Antonoff contributions than ever before –– the producer collaborated on 11 of Lover’s 18 songs. Here, the duo explores several new styles. Evan Smith provides a smooth sax riff on “False God,” a simmering R&B-adjacent track that provocatively utilizes religious imagery. “Paper Rings” is an upbeat acoustic pop-rock song that recalls Swift’s early country work and Antonoff’s Steel Train days –– listen for the producer counting off before each chorus. Meanwhile, “I Think He Knows” is full-blown bubblegum pop a la Carly Rae Jepsen. Sounwave co-produces “London Boy,” a corny blast of anglophilia that samples Cautious Clay’s “Cold War,” and St. Vincent cowrites “Cruel Summer,” a vocoder-laden summer anthem about a doomed fling.
Antonoff also had a hand in the romantic title track, which he explained on Twitter:
The producer also explained his involvement in fan-favorite “The Archer,” which continues the lyrical trend of fallen heroes (see also: “All My Heroes,” “Perfect Places,” “New York”).
Norman Fucking Rockwell!
Lana Del Rey’s fifth album is every bit as brilliant as its singles. Every song on Norman Fucking Rockwell! feels like a sun-soaked Californian daydream, simultaneously nostalgic and concerned for the future. This dichotomy reaches its peak on “The greatest,” which laments everything from the literal loss of the Beach Boys to the spiritual loss of Kanye West. Antonoff cited the track as his favorite from the album.
Norman Fucking Rockwell! joins Melodrama as one of Antonoff’s most sonically cohesive projects to date. Each track supports the singer’s voice with warm piano, and most of them also integrate guitars and beautiful orchestral elements for texture. The Grammy-nominated title track is a perfect example of the album’s overall aesthetic –– there’s heavy string and horn arrangements that provide a full sound, but the core of the song is Lana’s voice and Antonoff’s piano. “How to disappear” is similar –– there’s a lot going on, but the production never distracts from the essence of the song. The duo debuted a piano-only version of the song at an Apple keynote in 2018.
Carly Rae Jepsen writes a notoriously massive amount of songs for every one of her albums. One collaboration with Antonoff made the final cut for Dedicated: “Want You In My Room,” a horny ‘80s-style track with a massive sax solo, courtesy of Evan Smith. Two other collaborations appeared on Dedicated: Side B: the incredibly danceable, Robyn-inspired “This Love Isn’t Crazy” and the Bleachers-featuring “Comeback.” All three of these tracks feel more reminiscent of Antonoff’s earlier ‘80s-pop production.
Antonoff also contributed to FKA Twigs’ “holy terrain,” an ethereal trap song featuring Future from Magdalene.
After a fourteen-year hiatus, the formerly-Dixie Chicks returned with Gaslighter, an emotional country-pop album inspired by lead singer Natalie Maines’ divorce. Antonoff co-produced every song with the band and co-wrote each track, save for Charlotte Lawrence cover “Everybody Loves You.” Maines targets her cheating ex-husband with the razor-sharp lyrics of “Sleep at Night,” a sweeping midtempo track built around Emily Strayer’s banjo (and featuring Antonoff on backing vocals). St. Vincent brings fuzzy guitar to the otherwise-acoustic “Texas Man,” where Maines longs for a new romantic beginning. Organ-driven “My Best Friend’s Weddings” highlights the Chicks’ masterful three-part harmonies, and “Julianna Calm Down” and “Young Man” poignantly address the band’s daughters and sons, respectively.
Written and recorded entirely during quarantine, Taylor Swift’s bold eighth album sees the superstar pivot from arena pop to soft, alternative folk-pop. Antonoff co-wrote and co-produced five songs in the middle of the album (and also contributed production to fan-favorite “betty”). folklore’s production style is like Norman Fucking Rockwell’s autumnal sibling –– shimmering guitars, muted pianos, and massive string sections combine to form a wall of sound that’s both cozy and grand.
Sia directed, wrote, and composed songs for Music, a new movie starring Maddie Ziegler, Kate Hudson, and Leslie Odom Jr. Antonoff co-wrote and co-produced the first single from the movie, “Together.”
Antonoff produced and cowrote this country-pop song by Camaron Ochs, also known as Cam. Her album The Otherside also features songs cowritten by the likes of Harry Styles, Sam Smith, and Avicii.
The first song off of Chemtrails Over the Country Club doesn’t sound too different from Norman Fucking Rockwell!, but why mess with a winning recipe? The song sounds exactly as it ought to –– emotional and minimalist, with a few well-placed dramatic flourishes.
After months of teases, the first taste of Bleachers’ untitled third album is finally here. Every Antonoff project has New Jersey in its DNA, but two songs into the album cycle, it seems that B3 might be the most overtly New Jerseyan record of the singer’s career. Look no further than lead single “Chinatown”: the lyrics look to Antonoff’s home state (“the shadow”) as hope for the future, while the music video depicts a plethora of Garden State imagery. Oh, and the track features the most prominent Jersey legend of all time, the Boss himself, Bruce Springsteen. Both “Chinatown” and “45” utilize more organic instrumentation than any previous Bleachers recordings –– acoustic guitars and live drums make both songs feel like a bridge between Bleachers and Steel Train, yet they also sound like something entirely new.