So, you're all well aware of the old saying that we've heard time and time again: "lightning doesn't strike in the same place twice, unless you're Jeff Rosenstock. Then lightning doesn't play by the rules, and strikes as many times as it damn well pleases." Yeah, I know it's a somewhat clunky saying, but it's always applied to a broad range of situations and has helped us all put perspective on the crazy shit that goes on in this world. Well, the most recent crazy shit is an album titled Vacation by a band called Bomb the Music Industry!
This is the seventh full length released from the band/collective Bomb the Music Industry, and it's definitely getting a lot of mixed feedback from listeners. I think this is actually the first BTMI release with this many split opinions. I think up until Vacation, everyone was pretty much like, "AWESOME!" in response to everything "Jeff and the Rosenstocks" put out. But for this one, I'm hearing a lot of shit about how it sounds overproduced, not hectic enough, clean cut, and whatever nit picky things people are declaring these days. I mean, if I had heard all of this feedback before having listened to the album, I honestly would've expected something akin or All Time Low or Avenged Seven Fold to come fumbling out of my laptop speakers. But, instead, some awesome fucking songs came out of my laptop, and all was right with the world.
Vacation starts off on the softer side with the song "Campaign For a Better Weekend", which almost had me convinced that I was being trolled, and some songs by other bands were just retitled and distributed as a BMTI leak. But then, as the vocals get scratchier and throatier, the fog starts to clear, and you can see the sun set on the horizon...in the form of loud punk music being thrown into the mix towards the end of the song. You're smacked in the head with the same direct-as-fuck lyrics and poorly formed metaphors that we all love the hell out of this band for. The end of this song sounds like the pleasant messes we've been so accustomed to due to releases like Album Minus Band and Goodbye Cool World.
What's cool about Vacation is that it feels like a true summer album. I mean, the second song "Vocal Coach" has probably one of the most happy-go-lucky BTMI vocal melodies that we've heard yet. It kind of reminds me of the song "Slumlord" off their previous album Adults for that reason...I mean, the songs aren't really similar other than that they both have interesting, yet very different from each other, vocal melodies. The classic BTMI keyboard is ever present throughout this release, as is the definitely-Shinobu-influenced guitar playing.
One thing I do agree (with when it comes to all the hating haters) would have to be that I kind of prefer the demo versions of a couple of these songs. Namely, "Everybody That You Love" and "Hurricane Waves". These are two previously released songs that sounded a lot crazier and properly nourished in their previous, non-full length state. However, I have to say I prefer the full length version of "Can't Complain" to the original version of it. That might be partially due to how well the previous track flows into it, though.
Just like with their release Scrambles, there's a couple slower songs on this release. I remember how some people weren't digging on those songs when Scrambles came out, but they all ended up coming around and appreciating them for what they are. The good thing though, for all those ballad-haters, is that there are far more exciting/fast/hectic numbers on Vacation than there are slow songs that get blasted up with distortion and yelling towards the end.
It's hard for me to settle with a favorite song for this album. The more I listen to it, the more I change it. But, the song that has earned the title the most has to be the final song on the album, "Felt Just Like Vacation". It has so much BTMI flavor, some Beach Boys backup vocals, and a keyboard solo that will probably get all the keyboards in my house pregnant with Jeff's electrokids (not to be confused with the Pokemon by a similar name).
This album immediately hit me as awesome. But, after the first listen, I had to go babysit. And then I had to go do yard work the next day. So, I didn't get around to the second listen for quite some time. And everyone was texting me about their concerns with the album, and their opinions on the direction of the band, and all of this stuff. And, I kept replying, "haters gonna hate" at first. Then doubt started to manifest in my peanut sized brain. And I started to believe these haters, and started to think that I was in denial because I didn't think Bomb could release anything less-than-awesome. I was building all of this up in my head, and starting to believe...starting to believe all this hoopla about Jeff overproducing it and the songs being boring an unmemorable...
THEN I GOT HOME AND LISTENED TO IT.
And all my thoughts regarding me being in denial and them being right were quieted by the truth. The truth being that this album is exactly what I was hoping for in the Bomb-department. It's messy, it's inspired, and it's like a cool new gift, but in familiar wrapping paper. It's Vacation and I love it.