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Bleachers explores nostalgic maturity with their latest album


If you’ve ever fantasized about being the central character in your own ’80s or ’90s movie, with impeccably coifed hair and a constant need to look away from the enigmatic new resident of your small town – a figure you may or may not have developed feelings for during your most tumultuous high school days – then Bleachers’ discography would undoubtedly be the perfect choice to craft the tailor-made soundtrack for that cinematic narrative.

The artistic brainchild of a Jersey-native, Jack Antonoff, Bleachers has racked up Grammy wins and nominations since their debut album, Strange Desire, in 2014. Antonoff announced a new album in 2022, but we didn’t hear anything else until 2023, when the lead single “Modern Girl” was released in 2023. With almost three years in the making, Bleachers is finally back with their namesake album as their fourth full-length addition to their catalog. Bleachers is a 14-track journey heavier on the pop, feel-good vibes than melancholy melodies we have heard from Bleachers before.

Many tracks are reminiscent of nostalgic theme songs to sitcoms, especially the single “Modern Girl,” which is heavy on saxophone and horn-play, guitar strings, and vocals that pack a punch on the instrumental. The lyrics are reminiscent of 80s hair metal anthems riffing about modern girls “shaking their ass tonight.”

This album uses vocals as the most notable instrument. In songs like “Isimo”, the band plays with layering and echoes to weave in and out of the songs. Bleachers is pretty much void of other artists besides the songwriting prowess of Elizabeth Grant AKA Lana Del Rey, who lends her vocals on the edgy “Alma Mater”. Hints of Lana’s writing style shine through with lyrics about “Chasing lines all night” and “Smoking me outta sight.”

The album ends with its most unique track, “The Waiter.” Layered vocoder vocals flow over a minimalist instrumental, spotlighting woozy guitar strings before a gorgeous outro of synths leads the way out of the song.

Bleachers highlights the maturity and growth one would experience after those unpredictable, chaotic, yet beautiful teen years that we all will or have gone through. Where their last albums, Gone Now, Love, Simon, and Take the Sadness Out of Saturday Night, were Molly Ringwald in The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink, Bleachers is Molly Ringwald in Betsy’s Wedding. We go from a naive teenager riding the waves of love and life to a mature adult finding humor in the dark times, showcasing deeper wisdom and introspection gained through life’s trials and tribulations. Bleachers will be out on March 8.

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