On his fourth solo effort, ‘bomb the music industry’ frontman Jeff Rosenstock explores the uncertainties of having a sense of purpose and individuality in the midst of hard-hitting socio-political issues that have plagued over the world in recent years. Post delivers a strongly anthemic 10-track record that attempts to make sense of Rosenstock’s own anxiety and the anxieties of a post-election America in the form of his typical punk-rock style musicianship.
Much to the surprise of many fans, Rosenstock dropped Post completely unannounced on the first day of 2018, a bold move that pushes forward a great sense of urgency of the relevancy behind the record. Rosenstock supposedly wrote the record in the days following the inauguration of president Trump, surrounded by a snow-covered landscape as he composed alone in a mountaintop trailer. This urgency really shines through in his songwriting on this record. Fast tempo power tracks ‘Powerlessness’ and ‘Melba’ do a good job of showing this in its truest form, galloping guitars and consistent speedy snare fills bring about a great sense of movement and acceleration, often reaching a climax in a shrieking guitar solo or thick vocal break-down.
While the album contains many different political undercurrents, the album’s attention focuses more on the personal sense of where we fit in as individuals in the midst of a troubled political climate. The lyrics on post are ridden with insecurities, asking ‘what’s the point in having a voice if it gets stuck in your throat’ on the chunky and cathartic ‘Yr throat’. This almost nihilistic approach to these themes continues throughout, with tracks such as ‘powerlessness’ asking ‘”How can you solve all the problems around you when you can’t even solve the ones in your head?”’ This self-doubting nature to his lyrics is what fans have come to expect from Rosenstock’s style, with albums We cool? and Worry also showing this. However, this is also mirrored with a sense of hope and optimism, with the record going between the two to give us a deep and personal look into Rosenstock’s viewpoints on the issues he is expressing.
The album begins with a six-second opener comedically titled ‘mornin!’, before launching headfirst into its first full track titled ‘USA’. ‘USA’ is a grand 7-minute epic which immediately sets the tone for the rest of the project with Rosenstock’s weary defeatist lyrics and instrumentation.The track begins with Rosenstock’s typical pop-punk style of high-end melodic lightly distorted guitars, overlayed with chunky low-end bass riffs and hard-hitting cymbal-heavy drums. This artistical style of punk rock carries on over the rest of the albums 40 minutes, rarely straying away apart from a few segments in songs such as Billy-Joel-esque ‘Tv stars’ and ‘9/10’, where piano and synth-based instrumentation is used in favour of guitar riffs to highlight more emotional vulnerability and melancholy.
Whilst Post has many similarities to its equally political and widely acclaimed predecessor Worry, the tracks found on Post are a lot more refined in structure and overall sound quality, and less sporadic and surprising than its predecessor. The constant twists and turns in songwriting found in Worry don’t stack up nearly as much on Post; however, this isn’t to say that this record is devoid of these moments completely. Closing track ‘Let them win’ is an anthemic rollercoaster ride of structures and musical pallets. The track plays out in a similar fashion to opener ‘USA’, with anthemic chanting and buzzy and impressive experimental guitar solos soiled throughout, backed with his typical emotional vocal pallet that does an excellent job in showing Rosenstock’s anger towards the issues he is singing about. The track then goes through a brief acoustic ballad type passage, another typical characteristic flavour that can be found in his prior works, before ending on a beautiful yet haunting drone that ends the album in an almost serene way. This greatly compliments the sense of optimism and hope that the album ends on, with the track mentioning how ‘we’re not going to let them win again’; reflecting how determined and driven Rosenstock is for change in the world we are living in.
Post is 40 minutes of no nonsense power punk anthemic ballads, exploring how the uncertain socio-political climate the world has been dragged into affects us and why it’s important to stay hopefully for change in the near future.