Jack Antonoff sprang to fame as part of the carnival-pop act Fun. — and lesser-known indie folkers Steel Train — but he’s made an even bigger name for himself as an electro-pop purveyor operating under the moniker Bleachers. Antonoff was a key collaborator in Taylor Swift’s phenomenal album-length leap into pop, 1989, and has also made a name for himself by remixing other pop powerhouses like Carly Rae Jepsen and Sia.
Today he’s continued the advancement of female artists in pop by sharing a reimagining of his new album, Strange Desire, featuring vocal contributions of talents like Tinashe, Charli XCX, MØ, Carly Rae Jepsen, Sia, and many more. It’s called Terrible Thrills Vol. 2 and it’s available for free. It’s also a pretty incredible update on the original. Not that Antonoff’s version isn’t interesting, but as he explains below, there’s something about female voices that really brings these songs to life. The full list of guests also includes: Sara Bareilles, Lucius, Elle King, Brooke Candy and Rachel Antonoff, Susanna Hoffs, and Natalie Maines.
Here are his thoughts on the project.
i love female voices. i wish i had one. when i write songs i typically hear things in a female voice and then match it an octave lower so i can hit the notes. that’s why so many bleachers’ songs are sung so low. i could change the key but i like things sounding like a male version of what in my head was a female-sung song. I’ve always written this way. so with that in mind i wanted to release a version of my record that spoke to how it was written and the ways i originally heard it in my head before i recorded and sang it. i think it’s important for people to know where the songs come from and why the songs come out sounding the way they do. i hear my music as my interpretation of a song I’m writing as a female in my head, so i wanted to make that a reality with the artists who inspire me to write in the first place.
i first had this specific idea 6 years ago when i was making the 3rd steel train album. that’s why this is volume 2 — because volume 1 happened for the self titled steel train album. the “terrible thrills” concept is something i see being a thread through different bands and projects i do. its non specific to any band or record – it’s just speaks to the way i hear music. i think every record I make should have a female companion record to go with it.
the process making this was all over the place. some artists fully recorded and recreated the versions, some i worked with them on. the collection is completely bizarre thing for me to listen to because it feels so personal as to how i write. it feels like the part of my process that I’m suppose to keep to myself or something and hearing it in headphones is utterly strange and wonderful.
one more note on TT is that this is and was always meant to be free for everyone to hear. this project took a year and tons of recording sessions and through that we all felt very proud that something as intense as a full album could be given to the people who bought the original work as a further look into it. I’ve loved how the strange desire record cycle has grown and changed constantly over the past year and a half. as i write this from the studio where I’m making the second bleachers album, i see terrible thrills as the final chapter for strange desire. ok- enjoy it!! talk soon.
You can download the album for free via Google Play and stream each song via Youtube below.