I Wanna Get Better // The Bleachers
Today I want to direct your attention to a song that I consider to be a musical opposite -- Musical opposite meaning a song that sounds cheery and upbeat, but after listening to they lyrics you realize is actually quite dark and sad. ‘I Wanna Get Better’ by the Bleachers definitely meets the mark of having deep messages hidden behind masks of lively sound. ‘I Wanna Get Better’ reached the top of the Billboard Alternative Song Charts in July 2014 after listeners found themselves relating it back to their own lives and wanting to “get better”. As if the music video – representing a psychologist who finds himself to be even less put together than his patients – isn’t enough to convince viewers that there’s something bigger going on, lead singer and former lead guitarist for Fun Jack Antonoff, even admits to the darkness behind the words. In an interview with Rolling Stone when speaking of the album from which the song emerged ‘Strange Desire’, Jack says that, “… it’s the story of my existence so far and a lot of the things I struggled with.”
After listening to it on repeat, the album clearly illustrates the battle between facing pain and finding hope when experiencing loss and disappointment. “It feels joyous, but for me it’s very desperate… a lot of things on the album, including this song, are about loss”, states Antonoff. This loss he mentions refers back to the passing of his sister back in 2001 who died of cancer, along with the passing of his cousin the next year who lost his life in the Iraq War. Losing two people who were so close to himself in such a short amount of time was very hard on the musician as it would be for anyone.
His struggles are plain to hear in his lyrics “I traced my faith to a broken down television/ And put on the weather/ And I’ve trained myself to give up on the past cuz’/ I’ve frozen time between hearses and caskets…” Meaning, that due to the recent events in his life he’s begun to lose his faith and he’s given up on thinking about how he could have changed the outcomes. The next line of lyrics also refers to another type of loss, “…Lost control when I panicked at the acid test/ I wanna get better”, relates back to a dangerous acid trip the singer went on after the recent events in his life which almost lead to a death of his own. Thus, making him realize that he wants to get better. From the cries of loneliness, death, and loss the upbeat pop instrumentals molding with the deep emotional lyrics, are why ‘I Wanna Get Better’ should definitely be considered a “musical opposite”.