Jeff Rosenstock released “HEALMODE,” the third single from his upcoming Polyvinyl record HELLMODE. It is a song about relief and change, written shortly after the band returned from their first tour since 2019.
In January of 2020, my wife and I packed some clothes, instruments, hard drives and plants into a Prius and drove out west to our new home in Los Angeles. Weird time to move across the country, anyone else who did it will tell ya the same. Tucked within the global terror that 2020 held for all of us to share was a brutal summer - fireworks at a gender reveal party led to wildfires that tore through a bone dry state where temperatures seemed to stay in the hundreds deep into October.
As a New Yorker, the rain always used to get me down in the dumps, like, it would stop me in my tracks. A year or so of staying put in California, as the weather seemed to do the same, had me craving the stuff - giddy with anticipation as dark clouds would cluster overhead and resigned to disappointment as they would gleek out a few drops at best. Mostly they’d just dissipate and return me to a world stuck in time, an entire country away from my home. Ash fell from the sky and our little air quality apps would be emblazoned with a dark red icon wearing a gas mask. The hardware stores quickly ran out of air filters.
I wanted the rain. I wanted it to piss all the garbage out of the atmosphere and leave me with clear skies and snowy mountain peaks. I wanted to run errands in an empty grocery store. I wanted my day to feel different than the 300 that came before it. I wanted life on Earth to feel sustainable. I wanted the drought to end.
A year later there I was, on my stoop December 23, 2021, having somehow just completed a joyful seven-week North American tour during the Omicron surge. In a few hours, my post-tour PCR test would come back “DETECTED” and I’d have to text all the friends I just got off tour with, warning them to potentially not see their families that holiday. But for now, I didn’t know shit and I was in love with this stupid simple moment - Christmas tree strapped to the roof of that Prius, sucking the cold in and out, marveling at my breath floating in the air like a six-year-old.
So here’s a song about the rain, and maybe about appreciating what you have when you have it. It’s mostly acoustic guitar, woodwinds, vibraphone, synthesizer and my friend Laura. I also sing pretty quietly on it. I hope you enjoy it anyway.