Jeff Rosenstock – POST-

Jeff Rosenstock is essentially the charlatan fraud, snake-oil salesman, cult-leader of the crumbs that are left in underground punk rock (after the PC movement destroyed most of it). A former rich kid from Long Island, this privileged/white honky/male-feminist has spent years pretending to hit bottom, trying to market himself as the most underground person alive, which is not only pretentious as hell, but it’s also just obnoxious. Quite frankly, Rosenstock is a living, breathing embodiment of Pulp’s song “The Common People.” If he called his dad, he could stop it all. How Rosenstock ever got over with a small niche of a niche crowd is puzzling on one hand, but makes perfect sense on the other. Most people are fools and swallow any kind of contrived, safe, Sesame Street bullshit easily, especially when it’s marketed as anything else. But Rosenstock’s schlock continues to be thought of by some as this edgy alternative to everything, while at the same time he’s supposed to be a lyrical and musical genius that if you don’t get, you’re just too dense or too mainstream to get anything, man. I don’t hear it/buy it – I didn’t drink the Jeff Rosenstock Kool-Aid, obviously.

The new Jeff Rosenstock record, POST-, continues the annoying tradition of his earlier work. To the forefront is “USA,” which is, you guessed it, anti-USA. So edgy. YAWN. But the lyrics of the song are so extremely vague and non-direct, as if Rosenstock is actually afraid to be blatantly anti-US, thus backing up my earlier “Sesame Street bullshit” claim. With lyrics like… “Dumbfounded, downtrodden and dejected/ Crestfallen, grief-stricken and exhausted/ Trapped in my room while the house burned down to the motherfuckin’ ground,” you can’t help but cringe a little. Wow, that’s genius stuff right there. “See, it’s punk rock ’cause he said a curse word” (said in hick voice). Talk about hackneyed and trite. The whole record is like that, it’s like listening to a poetry slam performed by high school students. “USA” is musically repetitive, which is forgivable, but it drones on and on for seven and a half minutes of pure misery. At one point the song is doing it’s best to turn into an anthem where the lyrics “We’re tired, we’re bored” are repeated over and over again as if that’s SO deep and meaningful – PUKE – but tired and bored is how I felt after listening to this hellacious auditory pyramid scheme.

As if “USA” wasn’t mind-numbing enough, the album’s closer, “Let Them Win” (obviously also political), is eleven minutes too long as well, five minutes of that time being one meaningless sustained note on a synth. Will the next record end with five minutes of fart noise? BTW, Rosenstock is still a horrible vocalist with no original style or anything naturally satisfying to his voice. He just sounds like a petulant pissed off Boy Scout screaming at a wall off key, pathetically pleading with anyone who will hear him out to “PLEASE, LOOK AT ME! I CRAVE ATTENTION SO BAD! (I just pretend I don’t).”

Jeff Rosenstock