It should be no surprise that a side project from fun.”s Jack Antonoff would be bouncy and upbeat musically. What is surprising is how Bleachers” “I Wanna Get Better” lifts so many elements from fun -deceptively deep lyrics, overly busy production, and changing tempos-and turns them into something completely different.
One of the main differences is Antonoff”s singing lead, as opposed to Nate Ruess, and Antonoff”s voice is grittier than Ruess”s clear, soaring tone.
With its fuzzy, auto-tuned opening, “I Wanna Get Better” sounds like it could be The Buggles and we”re right back in the ’80s, but then Bleachers pull the song back into the present.
Lyrically, the song covers addiction of all forms and the people that try to save you. “I didn”t know I was broke until I wanted to change,” he sings, but admits how hard it is to “move from the darkness.” At one point the protagonist seemingly attempts to kill himself: “I put a bullet where I should have put a helmet,” but he still somehow lives on.
The refrain, about being in the back of a taxi, sounds musically a little too much like Natasha Bedingfield”s “Unwritten” (I think that”s on purpose) and the “I wanna bet better” sing-along wouldn”t sound out of place on a Hot Chelle Rae single.
It”s a mess of a song, but it somehow still all works.
Exactly who Bleachers is, aside from Antonoff, is a little unclear. The website only feature a photo of him. He wrote and co-produced “I Wanna Get Better” with John Hill. Erasure”s Vince Clarke also has a hand in Bleachers” debut album, which will coe out this spring on RCA Records.
We”ll know more when Bleachers makes their TV debut on “Late Night with Seth Meyers” on March 26. And yes, he remains a member of fun.
The group will also play a number of live shows, including SXSW and the Firefly Music Festival in Dover, Delaware.
What do you think of “I Wanna Get Better?”