It would be difficult to argue that the 2010s have been, as yet, a strong decade for punk music; it’s lacked quality, quantity and the raw vitriolic energy we were so generously doused with in during the 70s, 80s and even 90s. Nonetheless, one name sticks out as the decade’s torchbearer for punk music: Jeff Rosenstock. The Long Island singer-songwriter, just in the last few years, has released the fun We Cool?, as well as the beautiful, yet cacophonous Worry (before that the punk veteran was in both Bomb The Music Industry! and The Arrogant Sons of Bitches).
2018 got off to an exciting start upon Rosenstock’s third solo album POST- being released, previously unannounced. We were gifted a 40 minute ride with the widest palette of genres as yet employed by Jeff and the band. The first ‘real’ track on the album, ‘USA’ sprawls itself elegantly across seven and a half minutes, raging through Jeff’s traditional sound of ragged melodic punk, a vocal heavy indie pop section and into two extremely catchy subsequent chants of “we’re tired and bored” and “Et tu, USA?”.
Throughout the next portion of the track-listing we encounter the acoustic guitar and fuzzy bass-led ‘All This Useless Energy’, which leaves its chorus and wailing guitar lines hanging ominously in your head for days; ‘Powerless’, which acts as a poignant call back to Jeff’s roots in ska-punk as its off-beat guitar strumming carries the tune along cheerily before becoming more rhythmically straight, while lyrics tell a story of struggling to date out of personal fears; ‘TV Stars’, which is a balladic narrative of feeling useless and unimportant.
‘9/10’ is one of the strongest songs on the album, possibly even of Jeff’s career. It manages perfectly to balance his boyish immaturity (mentions of social awkwardness, smoking pot and largely being confused) and his gradual growing up (shown through harmonically interesting music, admittance of his own failures and a display of increasing willingness to emotional commitment). Accompanied by quirky guitar parts and a warm fuzzy synth-bass, ‘9/10’ is infinitely likeable, quite aptly summing up Jeff and the album.