Well, 2018 certainly started off strong with a surprise album release from Jeff Rosenstock shortly after his secret set with PUP in Philadelphia. As is tradition with the man who pretty much pioneered it with his Quote/Unquote Records, the album POST is pay what you want through his Bandcamp and label website.
His 3rd solo album released under his own name (TECHNICALLY I Look Like Shit was a compilation of demos), POST is more experimental than both We Cool and Worry. While both those albums were known for upbeat powerpop/punk ballads, over the course of the nine songs on POST, Rosenstock expands on the usual song structure formula.
Take opener “USA” for example, a 7 minute social commentary that starts off with Rosenstock sounding as weary as ever before an instrumental reminiscent of Bomb The Music Industry’s “All Ages” kicks off for a few minutes in the middle which then eventually crescendos into a pissed off “We’re tired and bored!” call to arms. Slower keyboard driven ballads like “TV Stars” and “9/10” are unlike anything he’s done before, yet still remain catchy and doesn’t feel out of place on the album at all.
Of course there’s still the classic power-pop/punk we’ve come to love from him. Songs like “Yr Throat” could easily pass for a BTMI song with it’s catchy chorus, clap breakdown, and addictive melody while “Beating My Head Against A Wall” may be the catchiest song I’ve heard from him in a long time and with it’s simple chord progressions very reminiscent of early 70s punk bands like The Ramones or The Buzzcocks.
Lyrically, POST is darker, wearier, and more anxious than both Worry and We Cool. Sure, both of those albums, like all of his band’s releases have some pretty dark lyrics dealing with depression, but always had a sense of optimism underneath of them. POST deals with the weariness of our political climate, isolation, and just the complete feeling of hopelessness to change anything. Take the song “Powerlessness”, a song about wanting to change the system but asks “How can you solve all the problems around you when you can’t even solve the ones in your head?” or “Yr Throat” which asks “What’s the point of having a voice when it gets stuck inside your throat?”
The album does end on a positive note though, an 11 minute (yes you read that right) anthem about not letting the world get to you and to keep fighting no matter how exhausted you are, with a chorus of “We’re not gonna let them win, oh no” before closing out with 5 minutes of synth instrumentals. It’s an all too relatable protest song: tired, beaten, little motivation, but still refusing to give up.
Another solid release from Jeff Rosenstock, POST will resonate with anyone who is exhausted from our current political culture yet feels completely powerless to change anything. Jeff Rosenstock managed to change things up a bit on POST without having anything sound out of place, and as a whole the album works really well.