Bleachers’ Jack Antonoff’s words on pop will remind you just why music is so powerful

From Springsteen to The Beatles to REM, it's enough to put your hairs on end.
Bleachers dropped their brilliant second album ‘Gone Now’ this week.

If there’s anyone worth listening to about the power of pop music right now, it’s quite probably Jack Antonoff. Working with some of the biggest names in the game, he’s got a special talent for finding those unpolished gems and making them shine.

But every talent comes from somewhere. From finding others to respect and learn from, and then turning that inspiration into something of your own creation.

“I feel like there are two different ways to be an artist and create,” Jack explains to Dork, in our new issue out next week. “There are artists that make you want to be them, and then there are artists that make you want to know them. For me, I never really loved anyone who was especially beautiful or slick. I just never wanted to be them. But when I grew up listening to Springsteen, I wanted to know him. He’s saying things that I have felt my entire life but have never been able to put into words that I could understand. Or take The Beatles and the first time I heard ‘For No One’, which I think was the first time that I was heartbroken. I listened to it and thought, ‘Oh my God, everything I’ve been feeling for months about this relationship screeching to a halt – they just said it in three words’. I tried to sum it up in ten thousand words, and they did it in three.

“REM, and the first time I heard ‘At My Most Beautiful’, was when I was in love with someone, and Michael Stipe is singing about counting eyelashes. Like, If I said to you, I have this song that goes ‘I found a way to make you smile’, you’ll be like, who gives a shit? But the way he says it, and the music, and the fact that his voice is sort of dry and sounds like he’s just speaking to you. Those words you’ve heard someone say a million times – but in that one moment he manages to encapsulate every poem or sonnet or essay ever written about love in some of the simplest words ever written.

“That’s the magic. That’s pop music at its absolute best. I could go on for days about songs, writers, artists, painters, movies – like in The Royal Tenenbaums where Margot Tenenbaum gets off the bus and ‘These Days’ starts playing with everything else drowned out and in slow motion. Right there, the feeling of loving someone is perfectly captured. Or in The Godfather at the wedding where the old Italian guy is singing, and pure joy is captured. That’s the whole point, to capture these moments.”

This is an excerpt from the new issue of Dork, out next week. Pre-order a copy below or subscribe here.

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