Review Summary: Dance the pain away with bubbly pop musicPush Back
is not what I was expecting. Kelce Galluzzo - who performs under the handle of Jetty Bones - has not been a pop artist in the traditional sense, the trio of EPs she’s released in the last few years have all been a hodgepodge of pop-punk, midwest emo, and indie rock. Sparking comparisons to early Paramore, Kelce Galluzzo quickly set herself apart with razor-sharp melodies, introspective lyrics, and just enough twinkly guitar riffs to satisfy the greater midwestern United States, and although all of her prior music is catchy, it’s never been unapologetically pop the way Push Back
is. Guitar largely takes a backseat to electronics, piano, R&B beats, and there’s even a sprinkling of alt-country in there, and the record is all the better for it as the eclectic nature of the music perfectly fits the constant back and forth in Kelce’s head of “I just want to die/I just want to dance”. And it all comes together, it all works, largely because the music is so unapologetic in its diversity, and the lyrics about depression and staying sober are so confident and straight-forward. Coming off of three excellent punk releases Push Back
is not what I was expecting, and that’s more than fine.
Lyrically, Kelce puts all her emphasis on the process of struggle rather than the conclusion - someone who by all accounts is experiencing success, but doesn’t want to be seen as a role model, and doesn’t want to take for granted that one is always in the process of getting better. This passage toward the end of "Bad Time" perfectly sums up the crux of what Kelce is trying to convey with Push Back
- “I don't deserve the high appraisals / For pretending that I'm stable / Or crying underneath the tip jar on our merch table / So if you wanna call me your role model / Well, I have some qualms with that / There are many better options / And that's just a ***ing fact”.
Kelce’s voice carries the frenetic tone of the lyrics with pin-point precision, specifically with the rapid-fire rhyming in the opener and That’s All that feels like three songs worth of lyrics squeezed into its sub-two-minute runtime. The music is as eclectic as the ideas bouncing around in Kelce’s head, and it’s not often that an album will be bold enough to transition from a country track to a midwest emo song. Adding to the diversity there’s the delightful 80s pop revivalism of Nothing, the theatricality of "Waking Up Exhausted" and "Bad Time" that reminds me of peak My Chemical Romance, and the drifting chopped up vocal snippets in "Everything" that have been stuck in my head for days. The near-constant shifting of musical tone fits the dark, spontaneous, and often humorous lyrics to a tee, and the transition from pop-punk heroine to fully-fledged pop star is a fitting transition for a project as consistently great as Jetty Bones.