Bomb the Music Industry! (BtMI!) was a ska punk band based in New York that was active for a decade from 2004 to 2014. The band’s most well-known member was songwriter and producer Jeff Rosenstock, who has put out a bunch of phenomenal solo albums recently. Bomb the Music Industry! had a very fitting name as the band held heavy belief in DIY ethics. They released 6 albums for free online, gave fans free stencils and paints to make their own t-shirts, priced tickets below $10, and have even offered fans the chance to play on stage if they had an instrument and knew a song.
**fun fact: ska punk is sometimes teasingly (yet lovingly) called ‘skunk’ **
BtMI!’s music features fast, upbeat tunes with heavy emphasis on brass and twinkling, toy-like electric sound effects, accompanied by hard-hitting, cynical lyrics. Jeff Rosenstock has a gift for writing lyrics that capture the depressing, pathetic parts of life in the most raw and honest way possible. Listening to some BtMI! lyrics might not cheer you up. In fact, they will probably make you feel like you feel pretty bleak, but they sure will make you feel like someone understands you and your terrible degenerate life. Bomb the Music Industry! isn’t all hopelessness and feeling worthless, though. Some songs remind you that life isn’t all bad, like their song Sort of Like Being Pumped from the album SCRAMBLES, which is about seeing a sunset.
I can’t choose any one BtMI! Album so I’m just going to talk about my top five favorite BtMI! songs.
- Syke! Life is Awesome
A cheerful number about how life can get ya down but it’s funny how things always work out in the end. So don’t give up!
- Side Projects Are Never Successful
Jeff Rosenstock was inspired to write this song after he had a panic attack and then got a speeding ticket, so he starts wistfully dreaming about how great it would be if the entire world was going to end. This song is also a jab at big corporations. How very punk.
- Congratulations, John, On Joining Every Time I Die
Under the mask of teasing to hide mushy emotions, this song is actually a very sweet congratulations and bittersweet goodbye to a band member that was able to sign onto a more successful band. (** fun fact: the deal fell through by a chance of circumstance to John never actually did join Every Time I Die.)
- Unlimited Breadsticks, Soup and Salad Days
This song is twinkling and energetic, but I think about it differently every time I listen to it depending on my mood. I’ll let you decide for yourself what this song is about.
- I Don’t Love You Anymore
A song about finally being free from a drag of a relationship.
Honorable mention: 493 Ruth