This article originally ran in August 2021, but we’ll be updating it for years to come, because Jack Antonoff cannot be stopped.
Jack Antonoff remains booked and busy.
Antonoff, former member of fun. and current frontman of indie pop group Bleachers, is the most sought-after producer in the pop world right now, full stop. This, like any gust of fame, comes with a harsher magnifying glass. Antonoff has turned into a bit of a polarizing figure recently; many love the signature flourishes he adds to tracks, while others think he’s becoming formulaic.
Wherever you stand when it comes to the Antonoff discourse, it’s worth highlighting his resume of contributions to modern pop. Not to mention his six Grammy Awards; he was nominated for Producer of the Year in 2020 and 2021, and won the category again in 2022.
With Bleachers, Clairo and Lorde releasing Antonoff-produced projects in rapid succession over the course of 2021 and Antonoff showing no signs of leaving the studio throughout 2022, we found this to be the perfect time to take on the gargantuan task of ranking every song the ‘80s loving advocate of main character energy has ever produced. To be clear, this isn’t a ranking of Swift or Del Rey’s discographies; rather, we set out to illustrate a map of Antonoff’s growth and influence as a producer, while highlighting the varied and unique merits of each song.
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The ground rules: this list excludes songs on which Antonoff might have co-written/composed but had no hand in as a producer, as well as most remixes, voice memos, and Del Rey’s spoken word album. We’ve also left out unreleased songs, and have combined interludes/instrumentals when appropriate. Bonus tracks were fair game.
The usual suspects appear on the list of over 240 songs — namely, Taylor Swift, Lorde, and Lana Del Rey — but there are moments with artists like Kevin Abstract, St. Vincent, and Clairo that have allowed Antonoff to experiment with different musical brushstrokes, expanding his palette of production skills. In examining his production discography, some of his quirks become abundantly clear. He knows his lane, and he can achieve excellence there.
Meanwhile, some of the less favorable sentiments bouncing around about Antonoff seem to lump him in with his frequent collaborators. In a 2021 conversation with the New York Times ahead of the release of Solar Power, Lorde pushed back on the idea that she was making a “Jack Antonoff record,” rightfully resentful of the idea that she was just another feather in his cap. Antonoff is not who made Lorde great; he’s also probably not to blame for that 2021 record being relatively lackluster.
What the list does reveal, though, is that Antonoff’s reputation as a pop superproducer is the result of years of dedication and a bit of healthy experimenting. At one point does developing musical motifs become repetitive instead? Just how much of an impact does Antonoff’s involvement have in the reception to a new release? While we might not have all the answers, we do have this ranking, listed in order from the songs we’re happy to forget, to the songs we stan(tonoff). Scroll to the end for the full playlist.
— Mary Siroky