Bomb the Music Industry! - Vacation (Cover Artwork)

Bomb the Music Industry!

Bomb the Music Industry!: VacationVacation (2011)
Ernest Jenning / Really

Reviewer Rating: 4.5
User Rating:

Contributed by: mouseteethmouseteeth
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Bomb the Music Industry!'s sixth full-length may come across as an attempt to break away from the band's usual hit of spastically fun ska-punk with the occasional slow dose, but I see it as more of a step in the right direction for them. Jeff Rosenstock has grown immensely as a songwriter and lyrici.
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Bomb the Music Industry!'s sixth full-length may come across as an attempt to break away from the band's usual hit of spastically fun ska-punk with the occasional slow dose, but I see it as more of a step in the right direction for them. Jeff Rosenstock has grown immensely as a songwriter and lyricist over the years, and it became more apparent on their previous LP, 2009's Scrambles. The three songs from Scrambles that really sounded the winds of change were "Sort of Like Being Pumped", "$2,400,000" and "Wednesday Night Drinkball". They are dreary, yet uplifting tunes that sprawl through a day in the life of the narrator. They also featured instruments not normally heard in BtMI! songs, such as classical pianos, banjos, and wurlitzers. One could only imagine what their next release could be like when considering this detour from their original sound.

While Vacation may be a more serious album in terms of the songwriting and lyrics, it still sounds like a fun summer album. I've seen this compared to the likes of Titus Andronicus and the Thermals and those comparisons are pretty spot-on (at least, I know the Titus Andronicus one is). Another difference between this album and the previous five is that all of the songs are, on average, a minute-and-a-half longer than they usually are. The album opens up with the dreamy, piano-driven "Campaign for a Better Weekend". Vacation is truly a concept album of sorts and that is apparent within the lyrics of this song. "Wake up at 10 a.m. It's 55 degrees, and even since it's barely March. Since all winter it's been freezing this is cause for celebration. Cause for picnics and coffee" opens the song and stresses to the listener the need for an escape from the norm. Even without the lyrical push, any frequent listener of BtMI! would know that they are headed far from the loud, beer-soaked sound of their prior releases. It's almost as if the older album were positively negative, while this one seems negatively positive (?).

One delightful surprise on Vacation is hearing the alternate and fresh takes of the songs previously released in the album's infancy, such as "Everybody That You Love", "Can't Complain" and "Hurricane Waves" (which, by the way, is an unreasonably perfect song). The songs sound much cleaner and "fitted" for their placements on the track listing. Another great surprise is the somewhat spooky sound of "The Shit That You Hate". You can really hear the Andrew Jackson Jihad come out on this one (and while I'm not sure if this is the song they recorded on, it'd be my first guess). The song clocks in at almost six minutes and finishes with the most epic finale on the album. The colliding of instruments and the chanting really ties the whole package together and makes for what is probably my favorite song on Vacation.

I have two very minor issues with Vacation, which is, there seems to be the inability to just throw it on in your car when you're driving to the market. Another way to compare this to Titus Andronicus could be in how the songs don't necessarily stand out superbly on their own as well as they stand together in unison. It's hard to appreciate a classic like Titus Andronicus' The Monitor if you listen to it one song at a time. It's a ton better when you take the time to listen to the songs as they flow into the bigger picture. My other issue is the lack of songs. The list calls for 13, but two of those tracks are interludes. I suppose it's a trade-off, though, since the 11 full songs on Vacation are all about four minutes long, and it has a "hidden" bonus track or two depending on whether you're listening to the CD or the vinyl.

All in all, Bomb the Music Industry!'s sixth full-length, Vacation, is easily their most standout and varied effort in the band's career. I have not yet figured out if this is their best work, but I'm going to give it a huge maybe. If you have never listened to BtMI! before this, or you have denounced them as goofy, this is the time to give them a(nother) chance. Vacation is undoubtedly the best album to come out this summer and probably any summer in the last five years.


People who liked this also liked:
Andrew Jackson Jihad - Knife ManJoyce Manor - Joyce ManorFucked Up - David Comes to LifeBomb the Music Industry! - ScramblesAgainst Me! - is Reinventing Axl RoseAgainst Me! - As The Eternal CowboyThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!The Menzingers - Chamberlain WaitsThe Clash - London CallingTouché Amoré - Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
OrgcorePunker (March 13, 2013)

This record grew on me. Now, it's my favorite record Jeff Rosenstock ever was a part of.

that_band_changed_my_life (June 22, 2012)

Easily the best BTMI record.

Thumbs (May 21, 2012)

Thumbs waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down.

AmateurChemist (April 13, 2012)

I love this album more and more as I listen to it. In 10 years, people will look back on this as a classic

nocomply (November 18, 2011)

To me this album is more of a piece of art than a selection of music, and that makes it rad. I think that Scrambles has a higher replay value, but the thought and effort that went into this record makes it immensely enjoyable. It's a new side of BTMI! that we haven't seen before and you can color me impressed.

Breterbie (October 18, 2011)

It makes me really sad when people don't take the time to listen to the slower tracks and let them sink in. My favorite songs on this album are the opener and the last three and a half songs as a whole. The chorus of Can't Complain gets caught in my head at least once a day since getting the album in the mail.

This is really good. Really, really good.

timahelm (October 17, 2011)

Good album, but I liked Scrambles much better!

telegraphrocks (October 4, 2011)

Finally got around to this.
First song was terrible, the next 2 were actually pretty good, and then it stunk up the place again.
I hate this album.

popsandchips (August 15, 2011)

Couldn't really get into Scrambles. I absolutely loved this shit out of Get Warmer.

And this fucking rules, definitely one of my favourites this year! Check this shit out, not a disappointment in anyway.

superskabro (August 4, 2011)

Fucking amazing. I was really stoked on "Scrambles" when it came out but upon revisiting it, I was less than impressed with the album as a whole. "Adults" restored my faith in the band but "Vacation" shattered all expectations and at the same time expands the band's sound to near-perfection. Music doesn't get much better than this.

woodprop (August 1, 2011)

It took a few listens, but once I deleted the dreary, depressing tracks I enjoyed it.

cbsrocksteady (August 1, 2011)

Felt Just Like Vacation is an absolutely perfect closer. As much as this album has its new influences, its at the same time still so true to their roots. It sort of reminds me of Three Cheers for Disappointment at points. Haven't decided if it is their best work yet, but its definitely fucking close.

xavierq (July 31, 2011)

Wow. I enjoyed it so much, it became the first album I actually paid for when given the option to pay what I want.

sandsky (July 29, 2011)

Also, after about 15 play throughs, this album is in my head every minute of the day. Can't get it out. Like water in my ear after a swim. But good. So good.

sandsky (July 29, 2011)

ZappBrannigan: No, no you are not.

Goatseboy (July 29, 2011)

Damn good album, nice review

laserguidedbygod (July 29, 2011)

I read it, I don't disagree that it's better as a whole, but still think the way you originally wrote it, calling it "Hard to appreciate" unless it's absorbed as a unit, severely downplays how good those songs really are on their own. I thought your review was generally okay, but took exception to the way you put that. Is this your first time on the internet? Jesus Christ.

cheesinit (July 28, 2011)

this is fucking brilliant. dont imagine itll sit with me as well as scrambles though.

ZappBrannigan (July 28, 2011)

Am I the only one who's favorite BTMI album is Goodbye Cool World? It seems like that album gets left out of every discussion. That said, Vacation may be second favorite of theirs, though Get Warmer is close too. Scrambles didn't grab me as much; it was good but not great.

CityRocker (July 28, 2011)

What's going on with the volume jumping loud and quiet in the middle of the songs sometimes?

mouseteeth (July 27, 2011)

And I called it a classic dude, get real.

mouseteeth (July 27, 2011)

"I haven't had a chance to listen to this yet, but I take some exception to the claim that no songs on "the Monitor" stand out on their own. Let's get a fucking grip, people."

Maybe you should read what I wrote once more with feeling. I didn't denounce singular songs on The Monitor. Mind you, The Monitor was my favorite album released last year. I merely stated that as per the album, the songs are like beautiful puzzle pieces that are even more beautiful when you do the fucking puzzle. So do the fucking puzzle.

i-type-poorly (July 27, 2011)

Adults... was kind of the breaking point for me where Jeff just got too depressing to listen to. An album like this came at the perfect time for them. I love it!

Blackjaw_ (July 27, 2011)

"I haven't had a chance to listen to this yet, but I take some exception to the claim that no songs on "the Monitor" stand out on their own. Let's get a fucking grip, people."

Thank you.

irish_punk_is_gimmickry (July 27, 2011)

stoner ska.......................................

davebrave4 (July 27, 2011)

Wow, I can't remember the last time I disagreed so strongly with the punknews community's assessment of an album. This is a great album, but I think it's a definite step down from their previous releases. I've only listened to it all the way through once so far, but it sounds to me like they're changing their style to sound more like what's popular among punk listeners these days--the folk-punk-inspired sound that's so invariably embraced these days by nearly everybody on the 'Org and beyond. I'm not saying they shouldn't evolve or change their sound--Scrambles is one of my favorite albums and it's a definite break in style from their previous work--but I think they should evolve in a more natural direction rather than catering to the sound they think their fans want to hear.

laserguidedbygod (July 27, 2011)

I haven't had a chance to listen to this yet, but I take some exception to the claim that no songs on "the Monitor" stand out on their own. Let's get a fucking grip, people.

shark-e (July 27, 2011)

Whoa whoa whoa. There's a bit of a gap between hate and don't like, right?

thegimper (July 27, 2011)

I wish I could rate this higher than 5 stars.

johngentile (July 27, 2011)

I;m not sure if this is btmi's best album, but I'm not sure that it is even relevant. This album is quite different than their previous releases and has some phenomenal harmony/ old school song chops. Probably their most unique release. Really good.

kidUGLY (July 26, 2011)

love this band, this album and titus andronicus (which BTMI! turned me on to). but i dont hear much of a connection between BTMI! and TA

punkcdsampler (July 26, 2011)

shark-e, the falsettos are amazing. How you can hate them is beyond me.

thepasswordistaco (July 26, 2011)

I'm going to quote shit that you hate so much in the next 6 months

CityRocker (July 26, 2011)

Been looking forward to this all year, avoided the preview songs (spoilers!) and I'm loving it album so far but really fell like i can't 'rate' it compared to the other until at least 3 weeks of listening ! reviews that appear on the release date are always too early for me!

shark-e (July 26, 2011)

Only things I don't like about this record: Falsetto on "The Shit That You Hate", and no Laura Stevenson guest vocals.
Other than that... Fantastic.

MuhammadMormon (July 26, 2011)

Are you fucking kidding me?

Michael_Jackson_Jordan (July 26, 2011)

I gotta admit that I'd never listened to this band until this release. Oddly I didn't get tipped off to them by good buzz or reviews on this album, but instead just decided I really wanted to hear it because I've been sick of a lot of the other newer music out there right now. I really, really, really like this album. To the comments below who brought up The Impossibles and "Vocal Coach," I thought of the same exact thing. That's so weird considering they've been broken up for awhile now and not many people bring up their name anymore. I'll definitely be looking into BtMI!'s back catalog after this.

On a tangent, I also commented about the Cerebral Ballzy album in relation to a bubbling music trends, and this goes along the same lines. I get the sense that the punk and hardcore scenes are about to get really interesting again (not that it hasn't been but let's be honest... the past decade after emo blew up really watered down the territory in a greater sense.) I think it's a combination of really awesome new releases and young bands who actually have good influences that are making it happen. I for one think it's a good time in music.

eatdogs (July 26, 2011)

i love summer albums. this is exciting!!!

likeaparasite (July 26, 2011)

I like The Impossibles comparison too. I was reminded of them at times while listening to this album, just like Weezer. It makes sense since early Impossibles have a lot in common with early Weezer while often being a lot more intense both on a sonic level and lyrically.

justthetip (July 26, 2011)

The Brian Wilson influence really comes out alot on this album, but it was also present on scrambles. This is good , but i'm not feeling it as much as I did scrambles and Adults. Maybe I just need to listen to it a few more times.

bears_love_tacos (July 26, 2011)

this is like an impossibles record that never was. incredible

mattramone (July 26, 2011)


punkcdsampler (July 26, 2011)

Every single Bomb record I get anxious because I don't know how Jeff is going to best his last record. He almost always does. But on this one... holy shit. Damn near perfect.

Blackjaw_ (July 26, 2011)

Really good, but I don't get the Titus Andronicus comparison. And I'm not just saying that cause TA is a million times better.

eatbicycles (July 26, 2011)

kids need to larn their Beach Boys, because this is all Brian Wilson,
and Rosenstock nails it.

Lysdexia (July 26, 2011)

Instant classic in my book.

mystereohasmono (July 26, 2011)

But Titus Andronicus is fucking terrible.

mattramone (July 26, 2011)

"Sick, Later" is my fucking jam. It's so rare that I love an album the first time I hear it, especially one by a band I'm not actually all that fond of. Good job.

likeaparasite (July 26, 2011)

Is anyone else reminded of Blue Album era Weezer by "Vocal Coach"? I loved picking up vibes like that from this album. The sound of the song is really original in its own right, but I felt like certain parts of it really evoked that endearingly self-deprecating eagerness of early Weezer, and I really dig that.

karliscool (July 26, 2011)

Some of his best work, awesomeeeee

likeaparasite (July 26, 2011)

It's so satisfying to see a band grow with each successive album while retaining their original appeal. They're not just going through the same motions and following a formula with every album, but they're also not doing some kind of pretentious experimentation in an attempt to sound more mature and earn more credibility. This is simply a bold, yet natural next step in their evolution. It refines what came before, being simultaneously familiar and better in some ways.

I think if it wasn't for their trademark sort of sloppy, busy, 'a whole bunch of shit going on at once' sound, Bomb the Music Industry! would be much more respected as a truly gifted artist (as they deserve to be). On the other hand, that raucous, dissonant, cluttered quality in their music is part of the charm that makes it so unique and enjoyable. I guess a lot of people will never take them seriously because of the music's manic attributes (despite the depth and eloquence of the lyrics), but it doesn't matter. If cleaning up the sound to be more harmonious means sacrificing the band's whimsy, it's not worth the sacrifice.

Some of the shifting between soft and loud or slow and fast on this album frustrated me, but it's still very consistent and a great achievement overall. There are definitely some instant classics that find and maintain just the right pace, volume level, and melody and ride them all to glorious heights. As on the previous albums, Jeff finds new and exciting ways to express himself while keeping his sound unmistakably BTMI. I'm pretty damn thrilled by this album, even if it isn't perfect.

spare (July 26, 2011)

ridonkulously good album

that_band_changed_my_life (July 26, 2011)


makeshifty (July 26, 2011)

But Titus Andronicus is fucking terrible.

thepopeofchili-town (July 26, 2011)

Forgot to score it.

thepopeofchili-town (July 26, 2011)

Best thing they've ever done.

muktar (July 26, 2011)

well written review as well

muktar (July 26, 2011)

very satisfying album, definitely well written. i do not however like the version of cant complain on the record. the demo was better, maybe cuz of the absence of the violins at the beginning.

MN_DrNick (July 26, 2011)

This is probably the best album from BTMI!. Glad Rosenstock is writing songs more like Elvis Costello, Weezer, and Fake Problems (I hear all of those in this album).

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