By Alana Torres | 23 July, 2021
Photo Credit: Justin Bishop
If you are even remotely a fan of pop music, you are bound to know of the New Jersey local and mega-producer Jack Antonoff. He has worked with the likes of Lana Del Rey, Lorde, Troye Sivan, and of course, Taylor Swift. As the anniversary of Folklore by Swift and the recent release of Sling by Clario collided, I personally have been thinking about just how great of a producer and collaborator Antonoff is to many of my favorite artists. Recently Swift for Billboard said “There is a boundless enthusiasm in the way Jack makes music, and it’s an absolutely irresistible quality to find in a collaborator. The excitement he exudes in the studio is just so contagious...he genuinely, hopelessly, deeply loves what he’s doing.” That sort of passion is not only obvious to those he works with directly but to us the fans. The sheer range of styles he works within and with such skill is just insane. When he works with artists, their lyrics, style, and voice are amplified to another level of creativity. And for that, I decided to cover and discuss five of my favorite Antonoff produced tracks, in no particular order.
1.“Masseduction” - St. Vincent
This track starts with a synthy beat and a voice repeating. Clark’s voice is catchy and rhythmic. As the chorus starts it is just this infectious rhythm. There is an effect on her voice in the chorus that is simply so interesting and feels classic electro-pop. The beat has this crunch to it and an extremely cool guitar part. There are these screaming background vocals that feel Björk-esque. It just feels so classic. It really is no wonder that this song won Best Rock Song at the 2018 Grammys.
2. “The Lourve” - Lorde
Magic invades every second of this song. This track is one of the ones that Antonoff had a bit of influence in terms of the writing of the lyrics and I am eternally grateful for it. When Lorde and Antonoff write together there is an intimacy of the human experience throughout the song that is unmatched. These lyrics are perfectly underlined by a steady guitar part through the first verse and then the chorus kicks in with this pace that really captures this feeling of a new crush. It is just an entrancing quintessential sad girl summer song.
3. “Gold Rush” - Taylor Swift
If we want to talk about the musical interpretation of literal magic, this song is it. The intro is atmospheric and swirling, setting the perfect pace for the entirety of the song. The first verse clicks in and it's like whirl back into reality from a prior dreamy space. The music is just ideal and mystical. It evokes this exact feeling of what it is like to daydream about love. Swift’s lyrics combined with these swells and layered parts is just top tier art. You can listen to this song thousands of times and still not catch all the layers in production, just outstanding.
4. “Zinnias” - Clairo
This one is so special. It’s a testament to his sheer understanding of all currents of music as he helped Clario capture these intimate thoughts into a visceral experience musically. It has what I call a classic Antonoff guitar break. He tends to include these on songs he works on and they’re all so enjoyable but this one is so lovely it adds a different pace to the song. It’s after the first chorus and it enhances the lyrics before it. It makes you understand exactly what Cottrill feels in these daydreams. In all, it has this comforting feeling of walking through the suburbs with a joyful air, enjoying the domesticity Clairo talks about on the track.
5. “Don’t Take The Money” - Bleachers
would be amiss if I didn’t include this one. Some of Antonoff’s most interesting work is on his work for his band Bleachers. This song is one of my favorites of all time. It just is so energetic and addictive. The chorus and its rhythm make me want to stick my head out of a car on a rural road and scream along to the lyrics. I would do anything to hear it live to feel the energy I’m sure that is infectious and otherworldly. The vocals and instrument parts are just so particular. Synth-pop ballad of the century, do yourself the favor of listening to this one at full volume and let yourself be engulfed by its power.