Jack Antonoff Debuts Zadie Smith’s Bleachers Co-Write ‘91’ for Tiny Desk

A month ago, Jack Antonoff once again proved his far-and-wide musical reach, revealing in an interview that none other than novelist, essayist, and former cabaret singer Zadie Smith has a songwriting credit on a track from the upcoming third Bleachers album. Now, you can hear Smith’s songwriting chops yourself, with Antonoff debuting the new song, “91,” during Bleachers’ July 12 NPR Tiny Desk (Home) Concert. Like some of the best Tiny Desks of the pandemic era, “home” isn’t quite the term for this one — Antonoff performed outside Electric Lady Studios in Manhattan, where he recorded Take the Sadness Out of Saturday Night (out July 30) and worked with Smith (complete with one tiny desk). “It’s ’91, the war is on, I watch in black, white, and green / My mother dances around like there ain’t no rip in the seam,” he opens the song, in a fittingly literary juxtaposition. Antonoff performed a toned-down take of the song on piano, backed by a keyboardist and two saxophonists, but has also teased that the recorded version of album opener “91” features strings arranged by Annie Clark, a.k.a. St. Vincent, and performed on violin by Warren Ellis of the Bad Seeds. In the meantime, let this performance of “91” take the sadness out of Monday afternoon, and stick around for new cuts of previously released singles “Stop Making This Hurt” and “chinatown.”

Bleachers Debuts Zadie Smith’s Co-Write ‘91’ for Tiny Desk