I Wish He Would Anton-less

A series of hard-hitting questions for pop's most present producer.

I Wish He Would Anton-less
Cursed polycule vibes

Inescapable pop producer Jack Antonoff abruptly ended an interview with the Dutch publication NRC this week after being asked whether he was contributing to Taylor Swift's forthcoming album, The Tortured Poets Department.

The interview was ostensibly tied to Antonoff's own music as frontman of the band Bleachers. Their self-titled fourth album was just released, opening at No. 62 on the Billboard Hot 100 and satiating the tastes of those who were hoping for another Bruce Springsteen record before he went back out on tour.

Swift's collaboration with Antonoff certainly put him on the map beyond "that guy from Steel Train" (if you're a specific type of record freak), "that guy in fun., right?" or "Lena Dunham's boyfriend." He's co-written and produced songs on her last six albums (starting with 1989) and all of her re-recorded albums. He's since worked with a murderer's row of well-respected, mostly female artists (Lana Del Rey, Lorde, St. Vincent, Carly Rae Jepsen, The Chicks) and has won three Grammy Awards for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical - as many as Quincy Jones, David Foster or Pharrell Williams.

We're going hater mode for the rest of this piece, so I at least want to mention a Bleachers song I do think absolutely slams. No irony.

I can see why Antonoff would bristle at being asked about Swift while promoting his own, respectably received work. But you don't just work with one of the most famous people on the planet and expect not to be asked about it (unless, of course, your publicist has asked that writers not do that) - and you, ideally, don't dismiss the ask as "clickbait."

Ultimately, it's my hope that the writer (who I'm sure is pleasant and, as a European, probably nonplussed at Antonoff getting so testy) at least did the classic move I was taught in journalism school: saving the controversial question for last, just in case your access is cut off as such. With that in mind, I'd like to share with you a list of 10 questions I would save for the end of an interview with pop's most ubiquitous guy.

  • You look like you're afraid of bees. Are you? It's OK, we can smell our own.
I mean, come on.
  • Your production discography is incredible. Why, then, are you so bad (at best) or disinterested (at worst) at talking about the creative process? Have you even read a single issue of Musician?
  • Recently, you got weird about a journalist's line of questioning. Did you learn that from Lana?
  • Has the question of "stylist" ever come up?
The Bobby Kennedy pin...I mean, huh?
  • Seriously, has it? What's in the bag?
If I were accepting my third Grammy for Producer of the Year, Non-Clasical, I'd have found a place to put my random sack that wasn't "in my hand, on stage."\

I just want to take a second to shout out this maniacal song, which turns a side project that was not originally a band into a "We Didn't Start the Fire"-style recitation of some sort of deep lore, complete with saxophonists doing the Charleston for some fucking reason.

  • Were you really mad about Dimes Square, or an article you read about Dimes Square?
  • For the love of God, can you explain this cover?

Words fail.

I gotta tell you: I was at this show, and I did not get any vibes from these two. This is either because a) Jack Antonoff is a decidedly un-sexual man or b) I am incredibly aloof about such vibes. (Two unconnected friends once went home together at a party I threw, and it was like watching a galaxy being born, to me. Yes, this is a me problem.)

  • Your hero, Bruce Springsteen, guested on one of your albums. Have you discussed producing anything of his? (This would only cause an abrupt ending by my reaction of a sigh of relief or groan.)

I suppose I should applaud the kind of charmed life that lets you transition from experimenting with "what if Bruce Springsteen made a-ha albums" to "actually getting Bruce Springsteen out of Thrill Hill for a few minutes."

Thanks for your time, Jack. I look forward to never interviewing you, and you never hanging up on me.