Some people seize the moment, while others wait for the moment to seize them. In the Fall of 2016, Jeff Rosenstock seemed to be doing a bit of both when he released his break-out solo effort WORRY. at a precise moment in time when all anyone with half a brain could do was worry. After years of playing in various punk bands with a fiercely DIY-aesthetic, Rosenstock finally seemed to be taking advantage of all his skills at once, by releasing an album that seemed to embody all the anxiety and frustration that would befall America a mere 3 weeks after its release. Which is why despite WORRY. making a respectable #7 on my top ten of 2016 list, it was undoubtedly the album from that year I kept listening to the most while clenching my way through the dregs of 2017.
So it seemed appropriate that Rosenstock would release his follow-up on January 1, 2018, as if to give us (or at least rock-guys like me) a weary antidote for whatever shit this new year would bring us. And a month in, POST- has more or less filled that itch, for better or for worse. The album’s opener “USA” and it’s opening lyrics have been a sort of mantra for me, with its feelings of being “dumbfounded, downtrodden, and dejected” while supplying the image of being trapped in your room while your house is burning to the “motherfucking ground”.
You’d think this kind of helplessness would just come off of as whiny and nihilistic, but that just ain’t Jeff Rosenstock’s style. The dude has an affable kind of neuroses, where you can tell he’s just as scared as all of us about what the future will bring, but at the same time seems to be laughing at the ludicrousness of it all. And yet, there’s also a kind of charming sincerity that comes out in the album’s more introspective tunes. All of which reaffirms what WORRY. established – the man can wear many hats, and because he’s got such a winning musical personality underneath those hats, 9 times out of 10 he comes out on top.
I think what makes POST- just as effective of a record as WORRY. is that even though it does feel timely, none of it is going out of its way to do so. It just feels very appropriate for the extreme highs and lows we seem to be living through in our current news cycle, but without commenting too much on it overtly. POST- also has a bit of an interesting structure, in that it features a bunch of reasonably lengthed tunes bookended by two sprawlingly cathartic singalongs. The first being the aforementioned “USA”, while the album ends on the just as immediate “Let Them Win”, with its comforting refrain of “We’re not gonna let them win./Oh noooo!” Which admittedly, is an easier sentiment to believe on some days than others. But having albums around like this makes it a heckuva a lot easier.
Favorite Tracks: “USA”, “Powerlessness”, “9/10”