Jack Antonoff is nothing if not a songwriter who likes to feel something and then express that sentiment as vividly and boldly as he can.
Gone Now follows up his 2014 debut, Strange Desire, which was an unabashed love letter to the anthemic studio pop of the '80s. It's a market he's cornered so well that he's managed to become one of pop music's greatest collaborators by transmitting that gift of his through the work of big stars like Taylor Swift and Lorde.
On this sophomore album, Antonoff uses the widescreen pop lens he's established as an outlet for some of the pain he's experienced in his time. He doesn't do subtlety well, but his proclamations of big love and devastating loss are conveyed through audacious and grandiose studio arrangements that are even more ambitious than before.
His process seems therapeutic both for him and, by extension, the listener (he grew up an emo kid), even if these songs will prove to be divisive. Songs as brazenly earnest as the elevating "Let's Get Married," the auto-tuned "Foreign Girls" and the boy band-ish "Goodbye," which is the farewell he wrote imagining he was dead, walk a fine line between pop genius and irritating.
Of course, this is nothing new for Antonoff. Bleachers has always been a project that people either get or don't bother to try and get. Those who got on board with Strange Desire should have no problem connecting with the deep feels and big pop choruses that propel Gone Now. (RCA)