Bomb the Music Industry! - Goodbye Cool World! (Cover Artwork)

Bomb the Music Industry!

Goodbye Cool World! (2006)

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If you go to a ska show these days, it seems like you're seeing one of the following: (1) The band that used to be ska eight years ago but ditched the horn section for the last few albums (see: Goldfinger); (2) The band that stayed true to its ska roots and just manages to tread water (see: Mustard Plug); (3) The fresh-faced ska band that sounds like a copy of a type-two ska band (see: Suburban Legends). Aside from a few possible sub-genres, the fourth, final and best kind of ska band these days is the fresh-faced, attention-grabbing, "sounds-like-nothing-before" kind of ska band. These bands are rare, I'll admit, but the best example is clearly Bomb the Music Industry!.

With two wonderful, online-only albums under his belt, former Arrogant Sons of Bitches frontman and BTMI mastermind Jeff Rosenstock had his work cut out for him with Goodbye Cool World!. How was he going to match (or surpass) the intensity of his first two releases without becoming repetitive? I don't know how he did it, but, well, he did it.

After a short, rowdy "Arrested Development"-aided opener ("Old and Unprofessional"), the album blasts into a wonderful triumvirate of songs that really set the bar for BTMI. "King of Minneapolis Pts. I & II" shows what a talented songwriter Mr. Rosenstock truly is. "Even Winning Feels Bad" ups the ante with a barrge of keyboards and fist-throwing shout-alongs. The jewel in the crown of Cool World! is the hip-hoppy (almost) dance track "Side Projects Are Never Successful." This clearly stands out as the best track on the album.

The rest of the album goes on strong with sounds ranging from those of old Suicide Machines to Atom and His Package to Soophie Nun Squad to Dillinger Four. The slower songs "Grude Report" and "All Alone in My Big Lonely Apartment" hit just as hard as the fast and heavy songs.

The album ends with a wonderful and bizarre 8-bit cover of Tom Waits' "Anywhere I Lay My Head." The awful vocals are both a jab/tribute to Mr. Waits' odd stylings and a demonstration of how charming bad vocals can be. A great way to end an album.

Aside from the first nine seconds of "It's Official! We're Booorrrrrriiiiing!!!" (which are cringe-worthy), this is a damn near perfect album, and hell, it's free. Despite all the references to past bands' styles present in BTMI's music, I see in this band the future of punk rock and ska, as well as that of the music industry. This band is in contradiction to all that the industry stands for, and, if they continue to grow in popularity, then maybe the industry will have to do some soul-searching as to their whole approach to music.