"I Wanna Get Better" by Bleachers // 7" clear vinyl & 10 Year Anniversary!

"I didn't know I was broken 'til I wanted to change"

Ten years ago, "I Wanna Get Better" was released as the debut single by Bleachers! Looking at it now, it feels representative of the band's mission statement, the thesis of all Bleachers' music that was to come after. Everything from the past decade stems from this song and the deeply moving message behind it. I never really heard a song quite like it before and I have been forever changed ever since I first heard it. 

Bleachers was at first meant to be a solo side project for Jack Antonoff, but over the years it has grown into so much more. At the time he was the guitarist in fun. and wrote much of Bleachers' debut album while touring with them. It has been so incredible to witness the evolution of Bleachers after all of these years. In that short amount of time, Jack would also go on to become one of the most influential producers and songwriters of the decade, collaborating with some of the most incredible artists in the world on generation-defining music. 

He is very autobiographical in his approach with songwriting, this song in particular is meant to tell his whole life story up to that point. In an interview with MTV in 2014 he said, "It had to be perfect because I was condensing all of me into one song." There is a heaviness to it masked behind a bold synth-pop instrumental. Key events in Jack's life inspired "I Wanna Get Better", as well as much of Bleachers' music that was to follow. Bleachers as a concept began because the songs he was writing at the time were far too personal to be for anyone other than himself to perform. "There was 9/11, my sister died of brain cancer in 2002 at age 13 and my cousin died in the Iraq War in 2003. So a lot happened in a short span of time. It was an end to an age of innocence. I had PTSD and rarely left the house, and I disassociated from everyone for a long time," Jack said in an interview with USA Today in 2014. "This album is about that and finding a way to move on, without leaving it behind."

This song details Jack's desire to get better, but at the same time not really knowing where to start. A lyric that has always stood out to me is; "Woke up this morning early before my family, from this dream where she was trying to show me, how a life can move from the darkness, she said to get better".

After going through deeply traumatic experiences, "I Wanna Get Better" also acknowledges that a piece of yourself isn't quite the same anymore, and it will never be again. His loss of innocence is depicted in a way that I never really heard described in a song before, the way he so openly talks about his pain and grief is so admirable. "I chase that feeling of an eighteen year old who didn't know what loss was, now I'm a stranger", Jack sings, "And I miss the days of a life still permanent, mourn the years before I got carried away".

I think everyone will be able to recognize a piece of themselves in this song in their own unique ways. Regardless of the reasons why, "I Wanna Get Better" is a universal statement. Much of Bleachers' music thus far really does deal with the lifelong journey of getting better and acknowledging that healing from these traumas isn't linear. Songs like "Everybody Lost Somebody", "Dream of Mickey Mantle", "I Miss Those Days" and "91" are among the most notable songs in the band's discography that capture these emotions in such a potent way as well. 

"I remember putting "I Wanna Get Better" out and thinking it would be too much for everyone. I felt it had to be released because I was noticing a silencing in me and wanted to literally ramble off my life story up to date in one song," Jack wrote on Instagram for the song's tenth anniversary. "I felt the need to shout it to nobody. What it actually was was a message in a bottle thrown out there for our people to come together and find each other. I found you and we found each other. I could spend so much of my time over the past decade feeling misunderstood or frustrated by how things can be seen versus the truth of what they are, but I never needed to because since the birth of this song I always know where to turn. I always know who I’m speaking to. I always know where the truth exist for me. If I feel misunderstood, you’ve given me the ability to go out in the world and be bold and you’ve given me the ability to be bold with you."

To celebrate the anniversary of "I Wanna Get Better", I thought it was also the perfect time to highlight the vinyl single I have of the song. I got it on the band's website in 2021, which is the crystal clear second pressing of the record. It was first released on blue vinyl for Record Store Day in 2014. I love listening to Bleachers on vinyl and have amassed a pretty big collection of their music over the years, they are among my very favorites that I own! I would love to see them release more 7" vinyl singles in the future because the quality is always top tier and their single art is always so captivating.

I've written about Bleachers many times over the years and how much Jack Antonoff's music has changed my life. I even got the chance to meet him in 2021 and it was the most amazing experience! I will never ever forget that day. The memories I have with Bleachers' music are infinite and I will always cherish that connection to this music. They have been the soundtrack to my life for so many years and I will forever be grateful for that! I will never forget seeing Bleachers live for the first time in 2022 at Radio City Music Hall and hearing "I Wanna Get Better" live after all of those years. Everyone felt so connected in those moments, it was surreal. I never experienced anything like it before, but if you ever saw them perform this song live before than I'm sure you'll understand.

The pursuit of wanting to get better and finding the power within yourself to change is such a moving message, one that connects through so much of the Bleachers' music. At the end of his Instagram caption for the tenth anniversary of "I Wanna Get Better" and the start of Bleachers, Jack wrote, "I love this song for many reason, but today I love this song because it started our world. we’ve come so far and we are also just getting started. Happy decade one of Bleachers to my people." 

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of Bleachers' music on vinyl*, I would really appreciate if you would do so through my affiliate link*, which I may earn a commission from. Their albums are among my very favorite in my entire collection and I'm sure they will be for you too! 

I have a lot of new Bleachers content coming soon, which I hope you will come back soon to check out if you're interested! Their self-titled fourth album is set to be released in March, and the ten-year anniversary of Strange Desire is this summer, I will definitely be writing detailed reviews of both! I am also seeing Bleachers live again this June, which I will be sharing my full experience of & tons photos on here too! In the meantime, I would love for you to check out my experience meeting Jack at Electric Lady Studios in 2021 and seeing Bleachers live at Radio City Music Hall in 2022 - many more are linked below!

I can't wait to see what the next decade will bring for the band! Bleachers forever! 🍅

-Melissa ♡

All photos are my own!

*affiliate links are featured throughout this post. I may earn a commission from qualifying purchases. -- Melissa Kacar is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com

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