Sam Schube, writing for GQ:
This is new. Antonoff, now 33, used to be a secret weapon. He started touring the country at 15, was signed to legendary pop-punk label Drive-Thru at 18. And then he linked up with some old touring pals to write world-eating pop jams as Fun. You remember the songs—“We Are Young,” “Some Nights”—because they destroy at weddings, bar mitzvahs, graduation parties, and bars. Along the way, he became something of a pop guru—not a gun for hire, but the rarest kind of collaborator. Armed with his own sonic signature, forged in vans and clubs and small theaters and bedrooms, he also had a willingness—a need—to be a true partner.
No artist shaped the sound of pop music in 2017 more than Jack Antonoff — if only because Jack Antonoff practically was the sound of pop music in 2017. Whether he was putting out music with his solo project, Bleachers, or writing with artists such as Taylor Swift, Lorde, and St. Vincent, the prolific producer was all over your favorite records this year.
Plenty of festivals claim idiosyncrasy and don’t offer it at all. At Shadow Of The City, you truly feel like you’re at one guy’s event, from seeing his family mill around the festival grounds to those grounds’ intentional proximity to Jersey lore. (Throughout the day, you can escape the sun by going inside the Stone Pony and chilling at its dive bar corner or squinting up at the guitars lining the wall from past performers.) Antonoff’s drawing on experience here, not just from a youth spent in Jersey but from years of the touring grind and playing festivals. There’s an over-saturation in that world, a sameness. And though Shadow Of The City isn’t intended to grow beyond its specific boundaries, to some extent it feels like an antidote to all the rest of it. “The whole point was, what are other festivals doing and let’s do the opposite,” he explains.
Clark and Antonoff had met casually around New York but hardly knew each other until they somehow wound up having what he described as an emotionally intense dinner together at the Sunset Tower in Los Angeles. “She was very open about the things in her life,” Antonoff said. “That’s what I was interested in. Continuing to reveal more and more. I said, ‘Let’s go for the lyrics that people will tattoo on their arms.’”