New Music: Jeff Rosenstock

By Jason Herring, January 23 2018 —

My nearly annual New Year’s resolution is to stay on top of new album releases throughout the year. Like most resolutions, it quickly and invariably collapses, as unlistened albums begin to populate my Spotify saved list at an overwhelming rate.

But everyone’s favourite punk dad Jeff Rosenstock made settling into 2018 easy after he dropped his third solo album, POST shortly after clocks struck midnight on New Year’s Day. The timing was fitting, as Rosenstock — a New York ska-punk mainstay known best for his work in Bomb the Music Industry! — takes stock of the state of his country and his psyche while preparing to move forward.

This is most clear in the album’s opener, “USA,” a song with a seven-and-a-half minute runtime that more than doubles the
longest track length on either of Rosenstock’s first two solo efforts. And though Rosenstock sounds as fired up as he ever has, it slows into a dreamy, molasses interlude. “USA” reflects political exhaustion, as the energy and passion that fuels protest dissipates. The song’s epitaph — “et tu, USA!” on repeat — emphasizes that though individual effort may falter, it’s vitally important to sustain anger towards those who perpetuate inequality.

Though not as politically potent, the remainder of POST is no less insightful. “Yr Throat,” a lament on political agency, is a return to short-and-sweet punk and stands as the record’s catchiest cut. “Beating Your Head Against the Wall” nails the frustration of trying to give the time of day to someone with political views that are fundamentally different than your own. Rosenstock’s classic sad-sack ballads aren’t entirely absent either, with “9/10,” about riding public transit while stoned, fitting the bill.

It all culminates with “Let Them Win,” a song planted squarely in opposition to an unspecified “them,” though it’s not hard to figure out who Rosenstock is talking about. With the same passion as “USA,” a flood of voices scream in opposition to “them” — to enemies of progress, to those who strengthen systems that oppress — and those voices continue to scream in spite of exhaustion. They scream with an unfaltering belief that this year will be different.

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