Review Summary: Three Cheers for Disappointment is a fun, energetic and passionate album that is guaranteed to go down as one of the best ska albums of all time.
Over the past decade Jeff Rosenstock, has become somewhat of a legend in the underground punk scene, and for good reason. Through his career in both The Arrogant Sons of Bitches and Bomb the Music Industry! he not only showcased some of the best song writing in the genre in years and mastered his unique blend of pop punk and ska, but set an example for what it truly meant to be DIY. All of his projects since the release of this have been put up for free download on his record label’s website, with an optional donation bin set up to support the bands, putting bands that press out records for 20 dollars a piece to shame. And all of this can more or less be traced back to this release and the inevitable split of ASOB.
The best way one can really describe this album is simply fun. You can expect what you’d typically hear on a ska album; horns, very fast upbeat songs; but done much more creatively than almost any other ska band out there has. The horn section, while still prevalent, is not overdone or simply thrown in for the sake of it being a ska album. Instead, they come in and out throughout each song, playing their own interesting melody that works off the melodies of the other instruments and vocals to create a very vibrant and bouncy sound. And on that note, where the album possibly succeeds the most is in being catchy. Each song moves from a catchy intro to a catchy verse to a catchy chorus, and by the end of your first listen you’re guaranteed to have the melodies of one or two of the songs engrained into your memory. All these elements combined create an energy that is maintained through almost the whole album, with each song feeling just as fast and energetic as the last.
The vocals switch between group vocals and Rosenstock on his own, but are always yelled and generally very angry, and this theme is coherent with the lyrics. The lyrics can most easily be described in one word, that being, well, disappointment. The disappointment of finally getting out of high school and feeling free, only to realize that the real world is no less formulaic than the bell to bell monotony of school. The disappointment of trying to succeed as a musician, only being told who to be and what to play by record labels in favor of financial success. The disappointment of being hurt by people you thought were your friends and falling into depression. And finally, getting fed up with all of bull*** of the real world and holding a middle finger to all of it. This disappointment and anger is where the band draws a lot of its energy from though; they channel this anger through their music to make ten times more passionate and energetic.
Though if every song was just an assault of energy its formula would wear off fast, but fortunately they tone down their sound on a few songs to give the listener a break, and really showcase how diverse of musicians they are. After almost 15 minutes of pure chaos in the beginning, ASOB tone it down with RocketRocketRocketship, which is a much slower song that has almost a reggae vibe to it in the beginning. Have Fun Rotting By Yourself, one of the most memorable tracks on the album, which shows ASOB slowing down for a more depressing song driven by the acoustic guitar with Rosenstock singing solo, which then escalates into group yelled vocals focusing on depression and being alone. It’s these slower moments on the album that keeps it engaging and keeps it from becoming boring.
With all this put together, ASOB have created what’s one of the best ska albums ever, crafting their own unique sound that few other bands have come close to matching. This is easily one of the most fun, catchy, energetic and passionate albums ever, and is guaranteed to leave you in a good mood by the end.