I Wanna Get Better

"I Wanna Get Better" is a song by American indie pop act Bleachers. Written and produced by frontman Jack Antonoff and John Hill, it was released as the lead single from Bleachers' debut studio album Strange Desire on February 17, 2014, through RCA Records. "I Wanna Get Better" topped the Billboard Alternative Songs chart, becoming the band's first number-one single, and also reached the top ten of the Hot Rock Songs chart. Its accompanying music video stars Antonoff as a therapist and was directed by his then girlfriend, actress and filmmaker Lena Dunham.

"I Wanna Get Better"
Single by Bleachers
from the album Strange Desire
B-side"Vince Clarke Remix"
ReleasedFebruary 18, 2014 (2014-02-18)
  • Jack Antonoff
  • John Hill
Bleachers singles chronology
"I Wanna Get Better"


"I Wanna Get Better" incorporates cut-up piano notes and samples into its arrangement; Antonoff's vocals range from baritone to "shout-along anthemic."[1]

Antonoff considers the song his "mission statement" because it goes through every bad thing that has happened to him.[2] Antonoff has stated that "the message is heavy, it’s not dumbed down"[3] with the verses being literal and the inspiration coming from a place of sorrow following the events of 9/11, his sister's death in 2002, and his cousin's death during the Iraq War in 2003.[4] In regards to the line "lost control when I panicked at the acid test", Antonoff has stated that he "had a horrible experience" with acid and it changed his life.[3]

Music video

The official music video for "I Wanna Get Better" premiered on March 27, 2014, and was directed by actress and filmmaker Lena Dunham, frontman Jack Antonoff's then girlfriend.[5] The video depicts a day in the life of a therapist (Antonoff) who, after getting dumped by his girlfriend (Kimiko Glenn), proceeds to his office and meets a variety of clients, all of whom are depicted describing their own personal problems and lip-synching to the song's lyrics.[5] Comedian Retta and actor Mike Doyle play a couple who are suffering from marital problems, actor Rizwan Manji plays a highly-strung patient who gets distracted by "Bring Your Daughter To Work" Day, and actress Mary Kay Place plays a patient who "creates drama".[6] Antonoff described working with Dunham as "fun", adding: "I didn't have to do anything. I felt, obviously, completely supported. It was nice to be in a position where you can’t fuck up."[7]

Critical reception

"I Wanna Get Better" received critical acclaim, with some reviewers labeling it as one of the best songs of 2014.[8][9] Michael Tedder of Spin lauded the song, writing that it is "an example of an artist so succinctly summing up their entire raison d’etre in one song that the accompanying album becomes superfluous".[9] Tim Sendra of AllMusic called "I Wanna Get Better" a "flat-out excellent pop song",[10] while Josh Terry of Consequence of Sound felt it was one of the album's best tracks due to its "abounding optimism, complete with a monster, scream-it-at-the-top-of-your-lungs chorus".[11] A staff member for Sputnikmusic described the track as "upbeat, anthemic, sweeping, and memorable".[12] Both Jon Dolan of Rolling Stone and Mat Smith of Clash named "I Wanna Get Better" the highlight track from the album.[13][14] A more mixed opinion came from Mack Hayden of Under the Radar; he praised "I Wanna Get Better" and fellow Strange Desire track "Rollercoaster" as "great pop rock singles", but commented that "if you can listen to them more than three times without looking for something better, you're a more generous listener than me".[15]


The music video cast features Marietta Sangai Sirleaf who is also known to be the cast from the Netflix series Good Girls.

Chart performance

Commercially, "I Wanna Get Better" remains the most successful Bleachers single to date. In the United States, it peaked at number one on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles,[16] number ten on the Hot Rock Songs chart,[17] and number five on the Rock Airplay chart.[18] It was later certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America, denoting shipments of over 500,000 copies.[19] The single also achieved international success, peaking at number fifty-two on the Belgium Ultratip Flanders chart,[20] twenty-one on the Canada Rock chart,[21] eighty-one on the Japan Hot 100,[22] and number forty-nine on the Mexico Ingles Airplay chart.[23]

Track listing

Digital download[24]
1."I Wanna Get Better"3:24
Total length:3:24
7" vinyl[25]
1."I Wanna Get Better"3:24
2."I Wanna Get Better" (Vince Clarke remix)4:34
Total length:7:58



Region CertificationCertified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[19] Gold 500,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Since May 2013, RIAA certifications for digital singles include on-demand audio and/or video song streams in addition to downloads.[29]

Release history

Country Date Format Label Ref.
Australia February 18, 2014 Digital download RCA Records [24]
United States [30]
March 10, 2014 Adult album alternative radio [31]
March 11, 2014 Modern rock radio [32]
May 27, 2014 Contemporary hit radio [33]
June 2, 2014 Hot adult contemporary radio [34]
United Kingdom June 18, 2014 Digital download [35]


  1. Martins, Chris (February 18, 2014). "Fun.'s Jack Antonoff Launches Bleachers With Ecstatic 'I Wanna Get Better'". Spin. Retrieved June 17, 2014.
  2. Jada Yuan (June 18, 2014). "Jack Antonoff, a Pop Star a Mother Could Love". Vulture. New York. Retrieved July 27, 2014.
  3. Tracy Bratten (April 9, 2014). "OffBEAT with Bleachers | iHeartRadio". iHeartRadio. Clear Channel Communications. Retrieved July 27, 2014.
  4. Korina Lopez (July 14, 2014). "Jack Antonoff has a 'Strange Desire' for the '80s". USA Today. Gannett Company. Retrieved July 27, 2014.
  5. Blistein, Jon (March 27, 2014). "Lena Dunham Directs Video for Jack Antonoff's Solo Project, Bleachers". Rolling Stone. Retrieved June 17, 2014.
  6. Marshall, JoJo (March 27, 2014). "Lena Dunham directs new Bleachers video for 'I Wanna Get Better' — watch it here". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved June 18, 2014.
  7. Duboff, Josh (April 14, 2014). "Fun.'s Jack Antonoff Talks New Band Bleachers, Working with Girlfriend Lena Dunham, and Why Taylor Swift 'Stands Above Everyone Else'". Vanity Fair. Retrieved June 17, 2014.
  8. Solomon, Blake. "Bleachers - Strange Desire". AbsolutePunk. Retrieved February 21, 2016.
  9. Tedder, Michael (July 14, 2014). "Jack Antonoff Wants to Get Better on Bleachers' Couch Trip, 'Strange Desire'". Retrieved February 21, 2016.
  10. Sendra, Tim. "Bleachers: Strange Desire". AllMusic. Retrieved February 21, 2016.
  11. Terry, Josh (July 13, 2014). "Bleachers – Strange Desire". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved February 21, 2016.
  12. "Bleachers: Strange Desire". Sputnikmusic. July 15, 2014. Retrieved February 21, 2016.
  13. Dolan, Jon (July 15, 2014). "Strange Desire". Rolling Stone. Retrieved February 21, 2016.
  14. Smith, Mat (June 7, 2015). "Bleachers - Strange Desire". Clash. Retrieved February 21, 2016.
  15. Hayden, Mack (August 27, 2014). "Bleachers: Strange Desire". Under the Radar. Retrieved February 21, 2016.
  16. "Bleachers Chart History (Bubbling Under Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved June 20, 2014.
  17. "Bleachers Chart History (Hot Rock Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved June 8, 2014.
  18. "Bleachers Chart History (Rock Airplay)". Billboard. Retrieved June 8, 2014.
  19. "American single certifications – Bleachers – I Wanna Get Better". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 
  20. "Ultratop.be – Bleachers – I Wanna Get Better" (in Dutch). Ultratip. Retrieved June 8, 2014.
  21. "Bleachers Chart History (Canada Rock)". Billboard. Retrieved July 31, 2014.
  22. "Bleachers Chart History (Japan Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved March 27, 2016.
  23. "Bleachers – Chart History: Mexico Ingles Airplay". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved March 27, 2016. (subscription required)
  24. "I Wanna Get Better – Single by Bleachers". iTunes Store (AUS). Apple. Archived from the original on June 17, 2014. Retrieved June 17, 2014.
  25. "I Wanna Get Better (7-Inch Vinyl)". myplaydirect.com. Archived from the original on April 8, 2016. Retrieved March 27, 2016.
  26. "Bleachers Chart History (Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved May 30, 2017.
  27. "Hot Rock Songs: Year End 2014". Billboard. Retrieved December 21, 2014.
  28. "Rock Airplay Songs: Year End 2014". Billboard. Retrieved December 21, 2014.
  29. "RIAA Adds Digital Streams To Historic Gold & Platinum Awards". Recording Industry Association of America. May 9, 2013. Archived from the original on May 22, 2016. Retrieved May 9, 2013.
  30. "I Wanna Get Better (2014)". 7digital (US). Archived from the original on June 17, 2014. Retrieved June 17, 2014.
  31. "Future Releases on Triple A (AAA) Radio Stations". All Access Music Group. Archived from the original on March 7, 2014. Retrieved June 17, 2014.
  32. "Future Releases on Alternative Radio Stations". All Access Music Group. Archived from the original on March 7, 2014. Retrieved June 17, 2014.
  33. "Top 40/M Future Releases". All Access Music Group. Archived from the original on May 22, 2014. Retrieved June 17, 2014.
  34. "Hot/Modern/AC Future Releases". All Access Music Group. Archived from the original on May 30, 2014. Retrieved June 18, 2014.
  35. "I Wanna Get Better – Single by Bleachers". iTunes Store (GB). Apple. Archived from the original on June 18, 2014. Retrieved June 18, 2014.
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