One of the defining characteristics of New Jersey — let’s face it— is that it’s in the shadow of New York. Jack Antonoff not only recognizes this, but turns it into a positive.
Antonoff, formerly of Steel Train and now the guitarist for fun. as well as the leader of the side project, Bleachers, sees his Shadow of the City festival, which he will present outdoors at the Stone Pony in September, as the first in an annual series. He explained the name this way, in a RollingStone.com interview: “I’ve spent almost my entire life in New Jersey and there is a hope and anthemic quality that is in the music born there that comes directly from being in the shadows of one of the greatest cities in the world. It’s forever a shitty younger brother. Growing up in NJ I didn’t understand how incredible this was. It’s not till later in life that I realize it is at the core of who I am. Someone who grew up in the shadow of the city and always felt less than and used music to create something bigger.”
Antonoff has had his biggest hits with fun. (“We Are Young,” “Some Nights), though Bleachers, which released its debut album, Strange Desire, last summer, has earned a substantial following in a very short time, due primarily to the explosive, angst-filled single “I Wanna Get Better.” Bleachers will headline Shadow of the City.
New Jersey celebrated its 350th birthday last year. And in the 350 Jersey Songs series, we are marking the occasion by posting 350 songs — one a day, for almost a year — that have something to do with the state, its musical history, or both. We started in September 2014, and will keep going until late in the summer.
If you would like to suggest any songs to be included, please let me know in the comments section underneath the video. And if you want to see the entire list, either alphabetically or in the order the songs were selected, click here.