In the deep well of think pieces and profiles analyzing the omnipresence of Jack Antonoff in 2017 pop music, perhaps Stereogum’s Chris DeVille hit the nail on the head best in his prophetic article title: “In The Future, All Albums Will Be Produced By Jack Antonoff.”
It’s a tongue-in-cheek reflection on what was a big year for the artist, the least significant of which seemed to be his own music in the form of Bleachers, which managed one quite-good-if-minor alt-rock hit, “Don’t Take The Money.” Antonoff had co-written and produced the majority of Lorde’s beloved sophomore album, co-written a trio of St. Vincent’s newest songs (including the two biggest hits from Masseduction) and in addition to album production credits, popped up with both writing and production credits for a solid half of Taylor Swift’s Reputation as well as a bit of Pink’s Beautiful Trauma.
It was a pretty remarkable run that Antonoff received more than enough credit for. In fact, some argued that he got too much credit for it. Although, it’s not surprising that interviews with Antonoff were a way that many publications framed discussions about Lorde, Swift, or St. Vincent, as interviews with those artists are difficult to come by and a throughline between several key works is something too good to overlook for even the most creative editors. But it also emboldened an anti-Antonoff sentiment, that saw the New Jersey native inserted into narratives that could have been focusing more on the women at the center of the music. And for those that are already sick of his denim jackets and floppy ballcaps, 2018 is not offering much reprieve.
Over the last couple months, Antonoff has been surfacing more and more in the news. Following an Instagram Live that saw Lana Del Rey posting some video footage hanging with Antonoff on an ambiguous couch (recording studios have couches!), rumors were fanned by dapper-looking Insta photos of the two wearing matching suits.
At nearly the same time, Carly Rae Jepsen, who’d already worked with Antonoff on the Kiss B-side “Sweetie,” posted an Instagram with less ambiguity – her and Antonoff clearly recording music together. Even in-flight movies weren’t a safe place from Antonoff’s reach, as Love, Simon (which, is basically required viewing on any flight lasting more than two hours) features a soundtrack curated by and featuring Antonoff throughout its narrative about a gay high school student wrestling with his closeted nature against the backdrop of his suburban upbringing. In many ways, Love, Simon feels like a movie for this particular moment in time, and Antonoff’s ’80’s-inflected modern pop jubilance captures just that.
But with how successful Antonoff’s career seems to be going, shade bubbling just below the surface of a Spin news post reveals how some in the media and public perceive him. “If you enjoy weirdly hit-free pop albums, last year was a huge one for both you and Jack Antonoff, who famously helmed large portions of new and pretty goodrecords [sic] by Taylor Swift, Lorde, and St. Vincent,” wrote Jordan Sargent. “Will his reign of tastefully nostalgic if not exactly exciting competence ever end?”