Jeff Rosenstock is a punk rock singer songwriter and “We Cool?” is his second studio album as a solo artist (though is accompanied by a full band).
The sound on “We Cool?” is frankly incredible. Jeff Rosenstock incorporates many different instruments throughout the track listing and each piece comes through the sound waves clearly but with some nice fuzz. Jeff’s voice is a lot of fun on the album, it has some definite flaws and he struggles with high notes in an oddly endearing way. Even though he doesn’t hit the right note every time, he still comes out of it sounding unconventionally beautiful.
You have some straight-up punk rock tunes on the record, which are truly exceptional. I love the injection of power pop that comes across on a lot of the songs and it meshes really well with the garage rock style on the record. There is also a strong emphasis on melody and hooks, and Rosenstock delivers them in spades. When the album isn’t serving up punk rock, it often trades the electric guitars in for keyboards or harmonica. For me at least, it was surprising that a lot of the songs were slower and sounded like a Frankenstein Billy Joel or something. But these songs truly work and I think a lot of it has to do with the writing on “We Cool?”.
Jeff Rosenstock addresses depression, getting older, loneliness, etc., in such a real yet humorous way. The lyrics are richly detailed and kept hitting me with how relatable they were. “We Cool?” is a very potent album in that it’s not only a fun listen but the songs are sharply written and give the listener something to laugh at or commiserate with. I am a huge fan of this album. It’s brisk, it’s punchy, it’s smart, and it’s hard not to love.