Home Music Critical Insights on Jeff Rosenstock’s Latest: ‘HELLMODE’

Critical Insights on Jeff Rosenstock’s Latest: ‘HELLMODE’

Critical Insights on Jeff Rosenstock’s Latest: ‘HELLMODE’

The recently released Jeff Rosenstock album, titled HELLMODE, encounters existential fears head-on. Right from its name to its content, the album is quintessentially Rosenstock – channeling the multitudes of anxiety without holding back. Delving into the creation process with producer Jack Shirley at the same studio where System of a Down crafted Toxicity, Rosenstock’s latest creation is as raw and passionate as one would expect. Yet, it stands out for its heartfelt allure and the deep impact it manages to make. Amidst the fervent release of frustration that encourages listener participation, Rosenstock skillfully integrates moments of poignant quietness ahead of each emotional outpouring.

While not diminishing his critique of harmful societal structures, Rosenstock’s insight into his place within these systems adds a layer of honesty and complexity to what could have been a more polished, yet one-dimensional record. For instance, his 2018 release POST- and the 2020 NO DREAM merged emotive expression with accessible compositions and committed activism. However, HELLMODE sees Rosenstock grappling with inner conflicts, pairing candor and hesitation to confront his own presence in the milieu he dissects. Take the track ‘HEAD’, which sprints through a labyrinth of psyche in mere ninety seconds, laying bare a controlled frenzy. Conversely, songs like ‘DOUBT’ flow more languidly, encouraging a contemplative connection before thrusting listeners into unified chants to “chill out with the doubt!”

Throughout HELLMODE, self-doubt resonates, especially in ear-catching power-pop gems like ‘WILL U STILL LUV U’ and ‘LIKED U BETTER’. Songs like ‘FUTURE IS DUMB’ reflect a disquieting numbness while ‘I WANNA BE WRONG’ juxtaposes spirited tunes with troubling thoughts. ‘GRAVEYARD’ starts off subdued before crescendoing into a cathartic refrain. Amidst these contemplations, Rosenstock offers solace and encouragement to break free from stagnation and seek the vivaciousness of life, to allow “the sun to pull the flowers out of the mud”.

As HELLMODE concludes with the expansive ‘3 SUMMERS’, it’s the quieter tracks that truly linger, burning away redundancy. The acoustic ‘HEALMODE’ offers an intimate view of an LA community and a love that transforms it into a sanctuary. In sifting through ways to comfort the troubled soul (such as indulging in a Slaughter Beach, Dog record), the album’s force lies not in its bravado as a punk treasure but in Rosenstock’s sincere, evolving narrative. In a world mired in chaos, the album underscores the undying quest for connection and solace, directing these energies outward and transforming them into something greater than the sum of their parts.


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