Strange Desire

There’s nothing strange about fun. guitarist Jack Antonoff’s desire to take his talents solo on this side project. You’re unlikely to hear a more earnest album than Bleachers' Strange Desire this year, nor are you apt to find a release more faithful to the spirit and sound of Top 40 radio in the late, great ’80s. With the help of super-producer Vince Clarke, Antonoff has crafted songs simpler and more direct than fun.’s mini-symphonies; they have as much in common with the heart-on-the-sleeve songs of his work in Steel Train, and occasionally recall Reagan-era touchstones like the Human League (“Reckless Love,” where Antonoff's lower register brings to mind Philip Oakey). The keyboard-driven hooks are big, broad and romantic, and when combined with the massed vocals, straightforward rhythms, and autobiographical lyrics—especially on the first single “I Wanna Get Better”—the effect can be affecting. Aronoff has admitted that the propulsive “Rollercoaster” takes its cues from Bruce Springsteen’s 1984 chart-topper “Dancing In The Dark,” but it’s possible to view the whole album as variations on that arena-sized theme. Taken in total, it all feels like “screaming from the overpass”—a collection of emotional release necessary for Antonoff, and certain to resonate with fans who want not just fun., but a chance to shout it all out.