1989, Being Funny in a Foreign Language, Chemtrails over the Country Club, Melodrama, and Daddy’s Home. What do all of these star-studded records have in common? Jack Antonoff.
Born in Bergenfield, New Jersey, the 39 year old producer, songwriter, and Grammy award winner has always been infatuated with music. After creating numerous bands with friends in his youth, his career truly took off with the hit single, “We are Young,” from his band Fun., with frontman Nate Reuss, Andrew Dost, and Antonoff. The band went on to be Grammy nominated, however each member chose to pick up side projects, leading to Fun.’s separation. However, this would lead Antonoff to create his current project, Bleachers. With hits such as “Don’t Take the Money,” and “I Wanna Get Better,” Bleachers continues to be a force in pop music, with their self-titled album being released in March 2024.
Antonoff’s production capabilities though were not at the fore-front of his achievements until the release of 1989, Swift’s fifth studio album. At the time, he had also reached out to Kesha after the news broke that a New York Judge denied the singer breakage of her contract with Dr. Luke. Via Twitter, Antonoff posted, “Don’t know what the legal specifics are, but if you want to make something together & then leak it for everyone I’m around… or just make something and wait on it till that creep can’t block you anymore. standing offer.” While Kesha did not take Jack up on this offer, to some, this put Antonoff on the map with female artists by exercising a power shift of male producers with female pop singers.
By 2017, you couldn’t miss Antonoff’s work. From Swift’s sixth studio album, Reputation, to Lorde’s sophomore album, Melodrama, to many he was a pop producing machine. 2018 brought St. Vincent’s MassEducation, 2019 created Kevin Abstract’s Arizona Baby, and so on and so forth. He had the incredible opportunity to enlist artists such as Diana Ross, Kali Uchis, Tame Impala, and Phoebe Bridgers to produce the 2022 Minions: Rise of Gru soundtrack only a couple of short years later.
As a fan of Antonoff myself, his ability to adjust his sound to today’s sound, while still keeping his signature touches is something very rare, yet vulnerable. He has stepped outside of several boxes working with artists of all genres, as well as respecting his own work with his band, Bleachers. I am a dedicated fan of a large portion of the artists that Jack has chosen to collaborate with, and while I have noticed shifts in each of their discography after working with Antonoff, these shifts are all around positive, each artist still keeping their distinctive sound through the records. Ella Yelich O-Connor, best known as her stage name Lorde, put it best in an interview with Vogue, in which “I think there’s an understanding with us that we’re going to do this for a really long time, and it’s going to be one of the great relationships of both of our lives.”