So far so good, nothing’s changed except the year and we’re all still here. If you have resolutions, give them up. Just be better, don’t be a jerk to people and keep moving forward. Let’s all just evolve for the better. With that said, I’m here and we’re making changes. Obviously, this is still going to remain the same but my intro isn’t anything more than just that, an intro. Enjoy.
First off, I LOVE this friggin’ album. Too much for you there? Can’t really help it because this is the first release of 2018 which dropped on January 1st. Fans will know Jeff Rosenstock from his former group Bomb The Music Industry! which also included Laura Stevenson who’s had her own successful career. He’s performed in a number of projects throughout the years and while he’s been part of numerous recorded albums this one here is his fourth solo full-length (if you include his 2012 mixtape debut I Look Like Shit) and follow’s up last year’s insanely good Worry. So, what is it about Jeff Rosenstock’s POST- (Quote Unquote/Polyvinyl) that’s so damned appealing? Well, from the start of the album Jeff Rosenstock and his cohorts don’t begin to dismantle any particular genre of punk-enthused sounds, instead expounding on it with an instrumental literacy I haven’t heard in years. Sure, POST- may take cues from those that came before them but the music structures are deliberate and perfect. “USA” is a smart man’s punk joint that does nothing to cradle millennials into safety but rather drags them through mosh pits in order to toughen those little bitches up. When Rosenstock sings, “…Trapped in my room while my house was burning to the motherfucking ground” you know you’re in for something angry and self-reflective with no fucks given at any point. And that power continues with “Yr Throat, a more frantically paced number which I can appreciate as keyboards are filtered through it giving it an extra pep rhythmically.
This is where things vary as Jeff Rosenstock isn’t averse to change. “All This Useless Energy,” moves a bit slower and would have Frank Black applauding, wishing he wrote this song. It’s filled with clever hooks, effected-vocals, dissonance, and all the beauty in a song you could wish for but it’s like I said, Rosenstock ain’t here to reinvent the wheel, but to make that shit go faster. Or slower. You get some more self-reflection with “TV Stars,” and whether or not he’s referring to himself, I’m sure a number of artists are surprised at their own success opening the track with “I can play piano all I want / like I’m fine I can get away with it / if I’m acting like I’m drunk onstage / And your shocked I’m playing anything / I’ll get away with it.” This slower number is your standard verse-chorus-verse construct, but it also shows Rosenstock’s willingness to allow listeners to hear more of what he’s capable of doing, whether it’s straight away or bludgeoning your senses with his own variation and style. You may get more of that on “Melba” it turns into a beast of a song midway through. And those harmonies! My God, the harmonies! It’s brief but it’s an attention grabber. “Beating My Head Against The Wall” seamlessly follows, blending in with the last track. It’s less than 2 minutes in length but he doesn’t need anything more than that for this anthemic punk track, filled with hand claps and all. And then there’s “Let Them Win,” an 11-minute track that pulls out all the stops! Literally, it keeps going in grandiose fashion and you’ll be happy Rosenstock and his band do. Walls of guitar, thick rhythms and keyboards accentuating everything here. After the 5:30 mark things get softer. Some may think it’s self-indulgence but WTF, just enjoy the mellowness of the ending. I know I do. POST- is without a doubt, a fantastic journey of an album. It’s the beginning of the year and the bar is set pretty high. Let’s see who’s up to the task of reaching a Jeff Rosenstock standard.