Bleachers founder Jack Antonoff isn’t just a skilled guitarist and a charismatic frontman. He’s also a student of the game and a genuine fan of music, whether he’s digging through vinyl crates for Belle & Sebastian albums or judging whether or not new singles by Ariana Grande and David Guetta will become the song of summer 2015.
But how exactly does Antonoff size up his own work? The next single from Bleachers’ excellent debut album Strange Desire is “Like a River Runs,” and he actually just dropped an EP of the same name today. (The EP also contains a version of the song by Sia as well as the b-side “Dreams Aren’t Random.”) When EW got Antonoff on the phone with summer tour partner Charli XCX to judge the potential songs of summer, we asked whether or not they thought “Like a River Runs” could climb its way up the charts and into the hearts of beach-goers everywhere.
He has his doubts. “It’s a really sad song,” Antonoff admits. “I guess you can dance and cry to it. That’s what I thought about when I wrote the song. I wanted it to be a song that if you put it on with a bunch of people, you could be like, ‘Oh, this song feels so good,’ with that beat and the melody and all that stuff. But if you lay in bed at home alone, you could listen to the lyrics and they’re all about loss and trying to move on without becoming too complicated a person.”
Antonoff also said that “Like a River Runs” was hugely important for the development of Strange Desire. “It’s the first song I wrote for the album,” he says. “So it’s really special to me because it become the sort of mission statement for the whole album.”
At least one person is hugely looking forward to seeing Antonoff perform “Like a River Runs” during the summer, and that person’s name is Charli XCX. “I want to learn all the words to all the songs on Jack’s album before we go on tour so I can sing along on the side of the stage every night like a really annoying person,” she says. “It’s going to be cool. I think we’re going to have a really good time on tour together.” You can join Charli’s singalong when the Charli and Jack Do America tour kicks off on July 21.