Jeff Rosenstock
We Cool?


4.0
excellent

Review

by Green Baron USER (159 Reviews)
March 12th, 2015 | 939 replies


Release Date: 03/03/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: We're always cool, Jeff.

When Bomb the Music Industry! disbanded in 2014 following nearly a decade of giving away their music for free and redefining the DIY punk ethic, many wondered what would happen to Jeff Rosenstock. As the group’s creator, songwriter, producer and frontman, Rosenstock was the driving force behind the Long Island collective’s success, starting the self-professed “very first donation-based record label” and gaining a huge following with it. Although he initially became known for the ska-punk of The Arrogant Sons of Bitches and the first few Bomb the Music Industry! records, his sound has drifted away from his origins and more towards indie rock and power pop.

We Cool" sounds like the album that Bomb the Music Industry! would have made after Vacation. Simply put, it’s the next logical step in progression following their 2011 swan song. There’s a fair deal of experimentation, including the alt-country of “Beers Again Alone” and the harmonica ballad “All Blissed Out”. However, during other parts of the record Jeff just sticks to what he knows well, and in the process creates some of the best songs he’s ever written. Energy was the primary foundation behind Bomb the Music Industry!, and the frenetic, speedy pace of tracks like “You, in Weird Cities” and “Hey Allison!” are filled with the same wild spirit that he’s rocked for the past ten years. The former is without a doubt, the standout song from the album. It’s definitely one of the fastest here, and the guitarwork is spectacular, especially the solo at the end. It’s Jeff that steals the show, though, as his boisterous vocals are what drives the tune. “You laughing with me getting lost in weird cities, ‘cause we’ll never go back, we’ll never go back”, he cries, and every word that he says comes off as incredibly genuine and passionate. This is a love letter to that one person who can always bring sunshine into a cloudy day, and he sells it.

Lyrically, We Cool" deals with some pretty depressing and poignant subject matter despite the bright and upbeat instrumentation. Whether it’s the death of a loved one or the constant nights getting drunk at home alone, the hefty topics discussed are cancelled out by the overall vibrant mood. “Nausea” features a fun, sing-along chorus with piano and handclaps backed by lines like “I’ve started avoiding the people I love / Evenings of silence and mornings of nausea, shake and sweat and I can’t throw up”. It’s so easy to get lost in the anthemic energy and not realize just how pensive Jeff can be. Despite being only 32, several lyrics are reminiscent of a midlife crisis-like struggle; “Polar Bear or Africa” discusses his fears of people forgetting him after his death, while “Hall of Fame” is about the realization that even friends are willing to watch you crash and burn. Bomb the Music Industry! certainly contained their fair share of downer lines, and We Cool" for the most part is the continuation of that.

With that said, there are still a few shortcomings that knock down this album a few notches. “Novelty Sweater” definitely could have toned down the Weezer worship just a little bit, and “All Blissed Out” is an experiment that just doesn’t quite work as well as it should. Then again, there’s plenty of greatness to neutralize the mistakes. We Cool" flows amazingly well, with the tracklisting running almost flawlessly. Every song is placed in a spot that would bring out the most of it, and there’s never a stretch that feels either overly samey-sounding or weak. Whenever Jeff sings, you can hear the emotion in his voice, and at times it’s even pretty cathartic (see: the sudden explosion in sound on “Get Old Forever”).

All in all, though, We Cool" shows that Jeff knows exactly what kind of musical path he’s taking, and it’s one that perfectly fits the place he is. This is a varied album, with styles ranging from country to power pop to punk to alt-rock, but it still feels like a continuation of the Bomb the Music Industry! sound with some new flavors thrown into it. At this point in his career, songs like “You, in Weird Cities” or “Polar Bear or Africa” are exactly what he needs to make in order to establish himself as a credible solo artist free from the chains of the BTMI name. Jeff is still the same charismatic, personality-filled man he was when he fronted his old bands, and this album proves that he has what it takes to continue making quality music on his own.



Recent reviews by this author
Linkin Park One More LightIncubus (USA-CA) 8
Highly Suspect The Boy Who Died WolfFrom Ashes To New Day One
Frank Turner Mittens3 Doors Down Us and the Night
user ratings (470)
Chart.
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
helpoemer420 (5)
nothing's forever dude...

deathschool (4)
Familiarity doesn't have to coincide with stagnation....



Comments:Add a Comment 
Green Baron
March 11th 2015


24169 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

seriously, if you have a chance to see jeff live soon, do it. worth every penny. or in my case, none

Lakes.
March 11th 2015


543 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

lol hong

Green Baron
March 11th 2015


24169 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

U not much of a btmi fan are you arcade

sunbathory
March 11th 2015


116 Comments


btmi r significantly better than this but this is still pretty fun

Green Baron
March 12th 2015


24169 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

not sure if this was the best starting point really

dimsim3478
March 12th 2015


7782 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i agree that "all blissed out" doesn't quite feel fully formed but it's still very enjoyable and serves as a perfect bridge between "hall of fame" and "the lows".



"novelty sweater" is straight up fantastic; sounds like weezer but jeff takes that sound and really makes it his own on that song

danielito19
March 12th 2015


11983 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

all blissed out fucking rules

Green Baron
March 12th 2015


24169 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

never knew Jeff produced TSSTB, might give it a shot based on all the good press I've heard about it

demigod!
March 12th 2015


49290 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

good review hong



finally gonna pick this up and jam it tomorrow. ST0KED

Digging: Orbital - In Sides

Green Baron
March 12th 2015


24169 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

the blue swirl vinyl of this looks amazin

danielito19
March 13th 2015


11983 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

does he have a merch table this tour

Lakes.
March 13th 2015


543 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

very soothing album

BMDrummer
March 13th 2015


14129 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

so good

Green Baron
March 13th 2015


24169 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

No Merch table, I just bought the record a the store he played in

danielito19
March 13th 2015


11983 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

hmmm i am hoping i can pick this up and have him sign it when i see him. fifteen days remain.

demigod!
March 13th 2015


49290 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

IT IS MINE

http://i.imgur.com/4uUBYDo.jpg

TenSecondsToThink
March 13th 2015


1664 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

IT DOESN'T SUCK"!!!!!!!!!!

Green Baron
March 13th 2015


24169 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

whoa did Jeff handwrite that? how?

NightProwler
March 14th 2015


7005 Comments


Great review, man. I really like this record, I think I prefer to the four BTMI! albums I've heard. (GISP blasphemy!)

dimsim3478
March 14th 2015


7782 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i'm pretty sure everyone ever prefers every single BtMI! album over this one, except for Get Warmer, although there's definitely some people who would also take Get Warmer over this.



not to disparage this record at all, because it's amazing regardless.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2017 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy