Jeff Rosenstock - POST- Album Review

Story posted January 16, 2018 in Arts & Entertainment by Lilly Adams and Chandler Copenheaver.

Long Island native Jeff Rosenstock has had quite a diverse musical career, having been associated with numerous different genres since the mid-90’s. From grunge rock to experimental folk rock, to indie punk, Rosenstock has slowly used these varied artistic directions to mold his current ambition of revitalizing pop-punk. Rosenstock’s experimentation came into true fruition with 2016’s Worry., a 17 track album that bluntly tackled the controversial topics of police brutality and gentrification through breakneck medleys that were labeled as punk’s answer to The Beatles’ Abbey Road. With his new album POST-, Rosenstock maintains that political fervor, though in a more introspective and intricate manner.

POST- has Rosenstock firmly focused on the events of the contentious 2016 presidential election and the political fallout post-election. Though instead of filling his album with succinct political anthems, Rosenstock mixes in a handful of songs that explores the apathy created by lacking political agency. While it’s an important topic to explore, Rosenstock fails to delve deeper than surface level save for only a handful of songs. For every “TV Stars” or “9/10” that use that introspection as a lens into the societal failings that led to Donald Trump’s presidency, there is an “All This Useless Energy” or “Powerlessness” that are too lost in processing abstract internal emotions to fit into a grander context.

On previous records, Rosenstock would channel his strong and unique personality into his songwriting rather than it serving as the subject matter of his songs. While there’s nothing wrong with moving in this direction artistically, Rosenstock does little to offer anything new to this emo style of pop-punk that hasn’t been done for nearly a decade before him. Unfortunately, Rosenstock’s songwriting, while still heads and shoulders above his pop-punk contemporaries, feels like it’s taking a step back compared to his previous albums for this very reason.

This step back is most prevalent on “USA” and “Let Them Win,” which serve as Rosenstock’s second foray into incorporating medley/progressive inspired songwriting styles since using it them for the second half of Worry. In comparison to those last nine songs of Worry., “USA” and “Let Them Win” lack a severe sense of charisma. Rosenstock and his band’s performance chops and personality are flatters this time around, feeling instead like extended crescendos rather than innovative combinations of vastly different styles. Though the complex songwriting style found on “USA” and “Let Them Win” can be effective with the right subject matter, it fails to elevate the emotional resonance of the subject matter by spreading too little too thinly. It’s exciting to listen to, but it serves more as flair than artistic innovation.

Still, despite POST- feeling like a step back for Rosenstock, a step-back from such great records like We Cool? and Worry. is still leaps and bounds above everyone else currently putting out music in pop-punk right now. POST- may be a weak “Jeff Rosenstock” album, but still remains an entertaining and effective pop-punk album. It makes the societal and political statements a great pop-punk album should, even if its ambitious nature doesn’t totally pan out.

Rating: 7/10

 

Lilly Adams is a freshman majoring in film/video studies. To contact her, email lillyadams11@gmail.com

Chandler Copenheaver is a senior majoring in public relations. To contact him, email chandlercopenheaver@gmail.com.

About the Contributors

ChandlerCopenheaver's photo

ChandlerCopenheaver

Senior / Public Relations

Chandler Copenheaver is a Production Director and Arts Director of CommRadio who has been a member of CommRadio since the spring of 2015. Chandler’s responsibilities entail managing the production department, managing the arts department, creating audio commercials for CommRadio and external organizations, scheduling commercial blocks, and writing editorial content related to the arts. Chandler Copenheaver has worked most recently at Arlington Thrive in Arlington, VA as a Development & Program Intern, WellSpan Health in South Central PA as a Public Relations & Marketing Intern and served as a teaching assistant for the Penn State course BiSci 3 Environmental Science. Chandler aims to work in the fields of Public Relations, Communications Strategy or Communications Management. Follow him on Twitter @C_Copenheaver or email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Lillian Adams's photo

Lillian Adams

Freshman / Film/Video Studies

Lillian Adams is a writer and contributor for the Nittany Lion Record Club, a department in CommRadio dedicated specifically to the analysis and reviews of current albums of 2017, and the former albums of the past. She is currently a member of the Critically Acclaimed Movies Club, Asylum music club, and SOMA. She also is a regular PA on multiple student films on campus. She is always looking to expand her knowledge in the fields of cinema and music, and is excited to see what opportunities Penn State will bring her. To contact her, email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).