Jeff Rosenstock – “We Cool” Review

Posted: by Alex



No one can spot the optimism in the depressing, tedium, mundane tendencies of life as well as Jeff Rosenstock. As I type that I can’t tell if it sounds complimentary or condescending, but I mean it as a sincere compliment. In fact, while he may have honed this craft over years of performing as Bomb the Music Industry!, he has perfected it here on his solo debut, We Cool?

It seems Rosenstock can find joy in almost anything, even when he’s sad. Any other lyricist could not juxtapose the sadness of “Nothing makes me laugh/Nothing makes me smile” with an immediate following of “But when I listen to your records/I don’t need to look at pictures/It’s like I’m hanging out with you in weird cities,” found in his solo debut’s second track, “You, In Weird Cities.”

The album opens with a fittingly jokey-sad song titled “Get Old Forever” which couples powerful guitars and dancey drumming with a yelled chorus of “We all get old together/And we all get old forever.” In fact, Jeff’s yell-y singing style really shines on this album, particularly when he holds notes in the choruses of “You, In Weird Cities” and the intro of “Nausea.”

For fans of Rosenstock’s previous work with Bomb, We Cool? feels simultaneously familiar and fresh. While the album’s fun guitars and upsettingly relatable stories are similar to his previous work, it adds a layer of production and professionalism not necessarily found with Bomb, adding complex layers of instrumentation, such as a piano on album highlight “Nausea” and harmonica on “Beers Again Alone.”

The accessibility of the album’s lyrics is what makes it stand out so much, coupling a clap along chorus with the relatable lines “I got so tired of discussing my future/I’ve started avoiding the people I love” on “Nausea” and slow, almost jangly guitar with “I’m drinking beers again alone, all alone.

The album’s artwork says a lot about the album itself, as the wrecked car represents how life feels at times, as eloquently put in “The Lows” where Rosenstock bluntly states “I’m useless garbage.” And at times, life does feel that way, but with Rosenstock singing such sad words in such a positive, optimistic tone, it’s hard not to smile, sing along, and embrace all of the shit life has to offer.

8.5/10 Fire Emojis

For Fans Of: Bomb the Music Industry!, Having Fun, Being Sad

You can buy the record digitally on iTunes or Bandcamp, get it for free/donation from Rosenstock’s Quote/Unquote Records, or get a physical copy directly from SideOneDummy Records.