What I’m listening to lately: Bomb the Music Industry!’s “Campaign for a Better Next Weekend”
If you know anything about Bomb the Music Industry!, it’s probably that they give all their music away for free online, or that they’re a music collective and encourage spontaneous participation from people who bring their instruments to shows. Maybe you also know that frontman Jeff Rosenstock is cooler than the bee’s knees.
In this neat interview Rosenstock discusses his project, Bomb the Music Industry, and it’s development over the years. He comments that his focus went from “making a record about where I am, and getting the fuck away” to “trying to build a home” because you can’t bitch and moan about your job and your life forever, man. If you listen to their music it’s actually really evident. Check out Stand There Till You’re Sober or Future 86, keyword “pessimism, escape, searching”. Then listen to something off their newest album, Vacation; Slumlord is one of my favorites, but Can’t Complain helps my point better. The movement from an escapist, survivalist mentality to one of hope, optimism, thriving and self-confidence.
The song I really want to discuss is “Campaign for a Better Next Weekend”, except now I’m going to turn music-nerd on you and analyze the music as well; so if you’re theory-averse or just anti-intellectual, scram. <3 (If you’re not scramming, press play now)
It opens slowly and hauntingly, unlike most BtmI! albums, setting the theme of change from the get-go. Jeff sings us into a scene of the first warm day of spring, a “cause for celebration” if there ever was one; the music grows gently as he withdraws what is likely his last $40 for a while for a mini-vacation.
Bass, percussion and layers of vocal harmony join the instrumentation as his celebration money goes toward fixing his bike, rounded up with the tip. Already the feeling of new-beginnings optimism creeps in as he reveals that the source of his hope is bringing home enough money to live on for once. Merely not having to fret over surviving financially makes everything okay for a day; seeds of thought, imagine what that would do if it happened to everyone…
The music builds as conflict after conflict arises until he and his newly repaired bike get stuck by an SUV, but the music, and Jeff, retain their composure; all the while the haunting guitar theme plays ostinato beneath, as if to embody the motivating force of hope. As the tempo accelerates he picks himself up and rides home with a package (because what else are you supposed to do?), and carries his bike up two floors in a crowded apartment building…
As he remarks that he shouldn’t have worn shorts, the music breaks out into that heavy, locomotive punk rock rhythm that every fan would have been waiting for at seat’s edge from the beginning of the song. Still following the same chord progression from the top, the ostinato motif is abandoned and replaced with simpler yet heavier melody (if you would call it that, humor me). Cue moshing.
Jeff graces us with his raspy-hollering and tells us the following:
I thought about the winter. Under layers, I wouldn’t bleed,
drinking root beer, watching football. Oh, I never thought I’d be
in that place everyone went to but it really just took me
a couple extra years to get there though at least I did feel free
for the most part of your weekend, save the rubbing alcohol sting.
Oh, it felt just like vacation ‘til I slaughtered my body.
And it’s kind of fucked in Florida, skies are grey instead of blue.
I can’t shrug off the awesome weather
but I can surely dress my wounds.
“I can’t shrug off the awesome weather, but I can surely dress my wounds”
I can’t change how the world is, but I sure as hell can effect my own little life.
This whole album is really speaking to me, where I am now. Moved into my first house, trying harder to pick up the pieces of my mistakes and character flaws, the stuff that I do to set myself up for failure. But what I need the most to remember is to be optimistic; to think and look forward; to forgive myself; and most importantly, to be good to myself and those around me.
And that’s why I’ve been listening to Bomb the Music Industry! lately.