By Josiah Martin | Staff Writer
On Oct. 14, indie-rocker Jeff Rosenstock’s released his new album “Worry” (stylized as “WORRY”), an explosive and artistically-diverse demonstration of Rosenstock’s talent.
The album opens with the sensitive piano and the atypically subdued vocals of Rosenstock on the track “We Begged 2 Explode.”
It is standard for rock albums to start with a brief gentle track to set the stage and follow that with a fast, fiery second track to show off the energy and power the band is capable of. Rosenstock accomplishes both of these tasks within the three minute and 44 second runtime of “We Begged 2 Explode.” The slowly building energy culminates in an ending that lives up to the word “explode” in its title, finishing the track with a sea of distorted guitars and a choir of vocals.
The power in Jeff Rosenstock’s voice that we saw in the single “Wave Goodnight to Me” (track 5 on this album) is present on every track on “Worry,” full force. A treat that I did not expect to make so many appearances on this album, however, is Rosenstock’s skill for vocal harmonies.
These show up sporadically throughout and make the songs seem a little more musically refined each time. Another interesting touch is the addition of unexpected instruments such as synthesizers, electronic drums, saxophones and bells, just to name a few.
Rosenstock perfectly carries this aforementioned level of energy through the second track, “Pash Rash,” and the third, “Festival Song.” While the latter opens up with a clichéd intro, this is averted as its singalong qualities are sure to transfer well to live performances and give the song just the right amount of anticipation and build-up.
The following three tracks, “Staring Out The Window At Your Old Apartment,” “Wave Goodnight To Me” and “To Be A Ghost…” are almost Beatles-esque in their melodic qualities. These tracks feature structures and chord progressions just a bit too complex for pop punk but basic enough to hold the listener’s attention. This gives the songs a sort of simplistic beauty seemingly unrivaled in Rosenstock’s discography and almost completely unrivaled in the genre of punk as a whole.
The patterns established in the first six tracks of this album of slowly swelling energy, simple but well thought-out melodies and the light dispersion of vocal harmonies continue through the rest of the album. The remaining tracks blend into each other as a melody, though less than perfectly.
The songs “HELLLLHOOOOLE” and “June 21st” certainly fit together, but the same cannot be said for some of the other tracks. “Blast Damage Days,” “Rainbow” and “The Fuzz” are among the weakest tracks on the album and don’t really seem to fit in, let alone in a medley. Luckily, they remain catchy and emotional enough to meet the high quality standard set by the songs that precede and follow them.
The album closes out with “Perfect Sound Whatever,” which consists largely of an anthemic chant of “It doesn’t exist” over a melody so catchy that I can excuse its similarities to Bob Mould’s composition, “Dog on Fire,” best known as the theme song to Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show.”
Overall, “Worry” does not disappoint. In fact, this is the first work by Jeff Rosenstock that kept me listening from beginning to end, waiting to hear what would happen next. The album shows his full range of skills as a songwriter and performer and amazingly does so on every single track. I absolutely recommend it to anybody who is looking for a high-energy record that doesn’t become exhausting and clearly has had real work put into it.