Milelong Mixtapes: Ep. #5

“Mile-Long Mixtapes”: Ep. #5

Getting Older & Feeling Younger

by Kellie M. Beck

 

“Woke up, I’m in the inbetween, honey.

All the hope I had when I was young, 

I hope I wasn’t wrong.”

 

Jack Antonoff’s Bleachers sophomore album, Gone Now,  begins with a whisper and grows quickly to a roar; Dream of Mickey Mantle sounds like the kind of song that starts off a coming-of-age movie with teen heartthrob, “Enter White Suburban Male Name Here”, but it echoes throughout the rest of the album as a call to arms– a call to let go and accept our past selves.

 

I guess that’s what I’ve been trying to do lately. 

 

In isolation for a year, facing college graduation, and hoping and praying that theatre gets back up on its feet in time for my Brooklyn move this August, I’ve been thinking about who I’d be if the pandemic hadn’t happened. I know we’re all sick of it– sick of talking about it, sick of dealing with it, just sick of this sickness. But anniversaries are nostalgic, and I’ve been hungry for an explanation of how I’ve changed over the past year– maybe if I can define it, I can live with it. 

 

Gone Now came out in 2017, three years after Bleachers’ debut Album Strange Desire. Antonoff has been candid about his first pass at an album– he has explained in several interviews that the album has a lot to do with learning to accept and cope with his sister’s death. But Gone Now, despite its recognition of grief, feels optimistic. I’ll take a crack at Gone Now’s thesis– growing up means accepting that things– sometimes horrible things– will happen to you. Growing up is accepting that who you are is who you’ve always been. And that most of our life will be an attempt to undo the ugly habits that those horrible things have caused in us. But if we can accept the horrible things for whatever they are– that is, random and inevitable, and yes, often quite painful, then they don’t have to become a part of us. 

 

It helps that Bleachers gets this message across in a series of anthem-esque, 80’s reminiscent tracks. Everybody Lost Somebody is, in my opinion, one of the albums strongest tracks in terms of concept. 

 

I think pain is waiting alone at the corner,

I’m trying to get myself back home, yeah,

Looking like everybody,

Knowing everybody lost somebody. 

 

The undercurrent of Antonoff’s album is a deep desire to move on. I think it’s important to differentiate the difference between wishing to start over, and wishing to move on. Perhaps that’s the biggest difference between his two albums. Strange Desire wishes certain things never happened. Gone Now wishes to not be hindered by them. 

 

So how do we accomplish Antonoff’s lofty goal?

 

He offers us a hint in the above excerpt, and in just about every track on the album. Despite our current isolation, it is important to remember that the human condition is something we have all lived. And although the details of our lives may differ, everybody has lost somebody, something. Every problem we have has likely been had before, by someone, at some point. Let’s Get Married says it plainly (over and over again, in the chorus): “don’t wanna walk alone”. 

 

The long winter’s ending. A terrible thing has happened to all of us over the past year. Whatever comes next, I don’t wanna walk alone.

 

I’ve been walking circles

Lost on Sunday morning

Tryna find my way back home

‘Cause I know I’ve been a stranger lately

I’ve been a stranger lately

I know I’ve been a stranger lately

Everybody passing

Can’t make out their faces

I’m tryna find a way back home

‘Cause I know I’ve been a stranger lately

I’ve been as tranger lately

I know I’ve been a stranger lately. 

 

 

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1 Comment on "Milelong Mixtapes: Ep. #5"


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Janice
1 month 19 days ago

It’s an interesting notion. I think a lot about what this year would have been, but less about who I would have been. But I think back to being a senior in college and how much of a defining time that was for me and my peers, and I think yes, we really could have become different people in that moment. Thanks for sharing this blog.