Hey there fellow tourists, welcome back for another Souvenir of the Week! I hope all is well and that if you had to do taxes this year that you got them all turned in on time and that you got at least a little something back for all your hard work. If you’re looking for things to spend your refund on then do I have a souvenir for you. This week’s souvenir is the latest Jeff Rosenstock album We Cool?, which after you read about and listen to I’m sure you’ll be interested in buying it at a store near you during the upcoming Record Store Day.
Jeff Rosenstock is the solo project of, you guessed it, Jeff Rosenstock which he started putting out material for back in 2012 after his other project Bomb The Music Industry! broke up. To those who don’t know much about Bomb The Music Industry! (abbreviated BTMI!) here is some quick info on them; started in the early 2000s by Jeff Rosenstock after his old ska band Arrogant Sons of Bitches disbanded, BTMI! was a punk band that had influences of indie, ska, and folk music. They did a bunch of cool stuff over their career such as putting all of their music online for free, playing mostly all ages shows with $10 or less tickets, and even occasionally letting fans play with them at shows. I could probably go on forever about BTMI! so to find out more about the band just check out the post I did about their album Vacation last May (click ->here<- if you’re too lazy to type.) Back to Jeff Rosenstock as a solo project, We Cool? is his latest album having come out just a over a month ago. Even though it was also released through the label SideOneDummy Records, Jeff was still able to release it through his donation based label quote unquote records where you can download it totally for free if you want to.
We Cool? can be considered both Jeff Rosenstock’s first real full length album as well as his second one, depending on how you view his first release I Look Like Shit. Either way you categorize it, this album is extremely solid overall and is quickly becoming my favorite album of the year so far. Treading a lot of familiar topics from Jeff’s previous projects and retaining an overall similar style, this album will feel like a big welcome back hug to those already in love with the music. However, if this is your first introduction to Jeff and his music then don’t be afraid that you will have to listen to a bunch of other albums in order to be able to get into this one. In truth I think that this might be one of Jeff’s more accessible releases overall. The production value feels a lot higher on this album than most of his other works and it feels like it was trimmed downed to just the essentials, while still retaining the weird and varied amount of instrumentation and sounds that Jeff is known for. It’s also able to have a poppier feel to it while still retaining its depth and earnestness, which usually isn’t that easy of a feat to accomplish.
That aspect of this album is really a big part of what makes it so great. On the surface level, the album overall has a pretty upbeat and almost happy feeling to it. However, when you listen closely to the lyrics you can feel a lot of sadness. Now, before you write off this album because you don’t want to listen to another sad punk album let me assuage your fears. A lot of the songs cover a lot of relatable topics such as feeling like you aren’t were you’re supposed to be in life, dealing with loneliness, and losing friends to various aspects of life like death, distance, or responsibilities. These songs come off as earnest and sincere and instead of being extremely slow and somber most of them are actually pretty upbeat. They feel really cathartic in a way because they are able to articulate issues that a lot of people have in a very earnest and catchy way, allowing for listeners to spiritedly join in to songs by singing along even on their first run through the album. And even if these songs don’t stir any feelings of sympathy or commiseration there sure to at least stir up feelings of empathy with how Jeff presents these topics. Some of my favorite examples of these cathartic upbeat sad songs are Get Old Forever, Nausea, and You, In Weird Cities.
My favorite tracks off of this album are: Get Old Forever, You, In Weird Cities, Nausea, I’m Serious, I’m Sorry, Polar Bear Or Africa, All Blissed Out, and Darkness Records. I especially recommend this album if you want to have some cathartic shout singing, but even if you don’t need that this is a really solid album and I’m sure you’ll find other aspects about it that you like that I didn’t cover. Also, if you’re into cello then you should at least check out the last track Darkness Records which has a pretty sweet cello part at the end which was done by a good friend of mine. Shameless plugs aside, I hope you all enjoy this album as much as I did and be sure to look below for a link to download the album. Thanks for reading, happy listening, and I’ll see you all next time!
(pssst, click right -> here <- to download this rad album for free or however much you want to donate)
Photo credit: https://jeffrosenstock.bandcamp.com/
Original Punk Rock Tourist photo taken by Monique F.