Jeff Rosenstock has his roots set in ska and punk rock music, once singer and guitarist for Bomb the Music Industry!, a band that formed in 2004 and disbanded (heh, see what I did there?) just last year. Fortunately, the band’s bright melodic approach to punk is mostly gone by the time Rosenstock released this album. Although Rosenstock never seems to take himself too seriously, most obvious in the title of his last solo album “I Look Like Shit” and scenes in the feature track Nausea’s music video, the lyrics border on a dark edge.
Compared to his last solo album, this new album is on it’s own level. Rosenstock mixes a combination of tight instrumentals with quipping, and seeming raw type vocals that some might find enjoyable and some might have trouble getting around. Along with the versatile vocals, the variance in songs gives the album a seamless flow, from the folk inspired sound in ‘Beers Again Alone’ to a more aggressive rock in ‘You, In Weird Cities.’
Along with his brighter voice, the lyrics showcase the doubts and second thoughts that we all have when growing and trekking through life.
Nausea’s lyrics seem to encompass it best: “I got so tired of discussing my future/ That I walk through my life like I’m the only one/ With evenings of silence and mornings of nausea/ Shakin’, sweatin’ and don’t throw up, oh no”
He also gives off a mid-life crisis tone in ‘You, In Weird Cities‘ and these doubts come through in ‘Novelty Sweater,’ and in ‘Hall of Fame‘ when he says “nobody loves you, they’re waiting for you to fall and take your place.” Even when dark, he’s able to take on a playful tone during ‘Beers Again Alone,‘ you can just see the group of friends who have had one too many, at a bar, singing this song on the top of their lungs.
Rosenstock’s view on death and his lack of a family at 32 seems to be a big deal and fuels his lyrics and creates an album that is not only strong and mid-life crisis filled, but versatile and cohesive.
FAVE TRACKS: Get Old Forever, You, In Weird Cities, Nausea, Beers Again Alone, Hey Allison!
LEAST FAVE TRACKS: Novelty Sweaters, Polar Bear of Africa, All Blissed Out
Get Social: Jeff Rosenstock’s Twitter
Merch/Extras: ‘We Cool?’ Starburst Vinyls (limited: only about 1,000 of each color printed!)
By Yalda Etemadi