Review Summary: nothing’s forever dudeWORRY.
was an existentially dark record for Jeff Rosenstock; not only as a musician, but as well as a human trying their way to grasp the societal turmoil we’ve plunged ourselves into in recent years. The music and intricate production that stroked the backgrounds of its canvas were extravagantly bright and colorful, but the lyrics Jeff expelled out through the cathartic shards of introspection and BPD-esque character-shifts that grazed lightly to the surface had detached the album. Not only from anything Jeff has ever done — but anything ever done in convention about modern music along with the demand for cohesion we’ve standardized for it. While its forefronts portrayed bright images of governmental conflict and the malaise that comes with growing up, relayed by Jeff’s signature anxious independence of course, nobody really pondered what would happen to Jeff’s music if it started to sound more and more like the lyrics he wrote. With the infinitely more nervous electronics, the hesitant guitars, and a bass tone that even scares the bass tone from the new Glassjaw record, there was not much that could show how Jeff would evolve as a musician so immediately and daringly as it does with POST-
. The album is nearly hypnotizing from the getgo, with the record opening up with a 7 and a half minute garage-rock influenced ‘state of the union address’ in the ambitious “USA”. In true unhinged-Jeff mannering, the track takes you singing along yet losing your mind in a fucked up ambient sleepwalk as the piece comes to its bittersweet conclusion. It’s obvious that Jeff seems to be taking more of a grasp towards the more experimental and controversial cuts of his, such as “All Blissed Out” and “Darkness Records” off of 2015’s we cool?
, as well as honing in the best possible cuts he knows how to. With the vivid, imminent, and self-aware experimentation on POST-
, along with the cruel, anxious bite of its message, once again, Jeff Rosenstock owns his anomaly status as he makes it all work marvelously with the push forward into existential oblivion that is POST-
Jeff is a tired man too. It should be evident, especially to those of us that have been sticking around for long enough. I mean — for fuck’s sake — the man is 35, married, and has been doing this since he was around 15 years old. Sometimes, aspects of lifestyle and perspective just take their toll on people, no matter how young or old one may be. This is the message that Jeff has been trying to portray his entire career though it seems, but only in 2018 after all the senseless despair, death, and destruction we’ve put ourselves through yet try to run from, all in the same moment, only now as a society can we firmly embrace such an album without any sense of alienation or isolation. The beautiful thing about growing up, and growing old, however, is that it never truly stops for those who care. That’s what makes Jeff’s evolution as a person so much more infinitely intriguing than most other people we come into contact with — as a collective people and as individuals amongst ourselves. Because he puts everything he has on display for everyone to see — like an open book with a lot of bookmarks — it makes such artistry, even if flawed and unadulteratedly raw, stand out as real in a time that music increasing into a larger, and larger divide among listeners. So as a fanbase over the years, we’ve watched Jeff’s mannerisms towards politics and existence shift up, down, around, and back again from the summer-fueled and manic look into life’s daily bickerings on Vacation
, then later to the tune of the cold and jumpy WORRY.
, and now to the haunting purgatory of swinging fists at taxi cabs, and cashing unemployment checks that is both Jeff’s debut we cool?
and more importantly today’s POST-
Most things about POST-
absolutely shouldn’t work at all. Nothing in it or surrounding it adds up to any sort of decent
conclusion whatsoever, yet Jeff winds up taking the idea of preconception and shoving it down the dirty toilet in a greased-up 7/11 bathroom. From the quirky ambient interludes, to the odd song lengths (two of Jeff’s longest cuts at 7 and 12 minutes respectively, with his shortest track also here at 4 seconds), and the more felt absence of some of his catchier tendencies in these songs, it just doesn’t make sense. Literally even the entirety of “Melba” feels like it shouldn’t work but it’s just catchy enough and beautifully image-evoking enough that it solidifies itself as one of Jeff’s most loving and anthemic cuts to date. Everything about POST-
is the absolute antithesis of WORRY.
in not only how it is presented, but also how it is structured. POST-
feels like it’s all song based, with everything culminating in the two centerpieces that both open and close the album (“USA” and “Let Them Win” respectively) whereas WORRY.
was more of an album for the sake of being an album, and was just content with existing but anxious about it. POST-
takes the anxiety and effervescence of Jeff’s past material, and dips it into a sleeker metallic realism that somehow paints a better picture of the modern American better than WORRY.
or we cool?
The true beauty of Jeff’s musical evolution on POST-
is not its convenient consistency, or the more ambient production, but perhaps the messages entangled in the mess. POST-
is a record that’s absolutely fed the fuck up with having to force happiness to stay alive, when it clearly doesn’t work. Through tracks like the triumphant “Let Them Win”, “Melba”, or even “Powerlessness” we feel a bit more gritty and angry with our viewpoints, rather than reserved and contemplative. Jeff writes these songs in such an honest and loyal way it makes POST-
more of a record about not trying to suppress pain by forcing happiness, he makes it a record about planting your feet into the cement below you, and swinging your fists at the sadness so it can never win — not if you try hard enough. Through tales of Polish bars, TV Stars, and even old scars, it may seem to be one big mess to some, but you have to appreciate how beautifully intertwined and threaded together it is to get it. We’re all tired and bored too at this point Jeff, and POST-
serves as a reason to stop being so mopey and bitter with ourselves and to channel that into something we can change the world with, no matter how much time that could take. We’ll never let them win, and maybe nothing will ever be the same, but as long as Jeff is as Jeff does, everything will be alright, and that’s so much fucking better than any Bomb The Music Industry! reunion could be.