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Liner Notes (June 19th, 2021)

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  1. Melody Bot

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    Since I didn’t write last week, this week has two weeks’ worth of content for you. I share some articles I enjoyed over the past few weeks, share some thoughts on music I’ve been enjoying (it’s been oddly pop-punk heavy lately), and reminisce on Blink-182’s TOYPAJ as it turns twenty. As always, there are also some random thoughts on other entertainment I consumed over the past few weeks and some commentary on how I’ve been viewing life as I continue to grow older. There’s also a playlist of ten songs I enjoyed last week, and this week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

    If you’d like this newsletter delivered to your inbox each week (it’s free and available to everyone), you can sign up here.

    A Few Things

    • I didn’t write a newsletter last week because my mind just wasn’t in the right place. Early last week, I got the sad news that a childhood friend had passed away. We hadn’t spoken in years at this point, but for a good stretch of time in early elementary to middle school, we spent a lot of time together. We were both in Cub and then Boy Scouts, and there were many a night of my youth spent running around the forest or curled up by a fire, sharing stories together. Our lives took different paths as we entered different high schools, but the news still hit me in ways I wasn’t quite expecting. So, last weekend I attended his memorial service, and afterward, I just didn’t feel like sitting down to write. Honestly, I am still not really sure how I feel about everything. I sit between emotions and keep coming back to thoughts of just how fleeting life can be. I think of the people who have come in and out of my life, and just the sheer unpredictability of where life has moved from those years as a scrawny little kid running around the playground. The entire world ahead, barely any cares in the world. It seemed so simple then. It seems so far away now.
    • Around the internet the past few weeks, I enjoyed this look at the new “Focus Mode” coming to Apple operating systems soon. I haven’t installed any of the betas, so I haven’t played around with it, but I think there could be some interesting stuff here. I basically want my home screen to look different during the day versus at night/weekends, so I am interested in playing around with this and see what kinds of cool things are possible. I also liked this piece on the rise of elevated stupidity. The idea of the “hot take” and this kind of stupidity wrapped in smart language. It’s everywhere these days. And, finally, I also liked this article about hating the internet. There were some parts that really resonated with me and how I’ve come to see various sections of the internet shift and morph over the past few years.


    oddest sea have released their new album Night Talks — an electronic/pop record featuring guest vocalists Ryan Dunson (of Rookie of the Year), Isaiah Dominguez, and others. The record delves into 80s synthwave, deep house, piano pop ballads, and everything in between. Written and produced virtually during quarantine. The first single, “Runaway” feat. Isaiah Dominguez can be streamed here and the album is available on streaming platforms.

    RIYL: The Midnight, Lauv, Angels & Airwaves, Jai Wolf

    In Case You Missed It

    Music Thoughts

    • The new AFI album, Bodies, was released last week. I wasn’t a huge fan of some of the pre-release tracks, which stays the same here. There’s quite a bit to like, but also some immensely skippable songs. I played it a few times the first week of release but haven’t come back to it much this week. I do, however, keep reaching for that Wolf Alice album.
    • Last week was the twentieth anniversary of Blink-182’s TOYPAJ. This anniversary got to me because that album release corresponds with my senior year of high school. Here’s how much I can make everyone feel old: I copied the “Stay Together for the Kids” radio premiere to a cassette tape. My friends and I in the networking group (the computer equivalent of an A/V club, I guess? We worked on and ran the school’s network) ripped the tape version to mp3 with a very convoluted setup. That digital file was played over our senior video in an assembly before the album came out. What a hilariously weird period in technology and the internet. As for the album itself, I spun it a few times over the past week, and while a lot of the lyrics are pretty cringe-inducing, it’s still a stone-cold classic. Whereas Dude Ranch helped get me into music, and Enema of the State helped cement a band as “favorite” status, it was TOYPAJ where I found myself just wanting to emulate everything about the boys. From the clothing to the style. When I posted a photo of the liner notes on Instagram, I noticed Mark Hoppus’s face in the upper right corner. I think I’ve copied that exact face in countless photos over the years. It’s weird the little things that imprint on you.
    • The new it’s-not-an-EP-it’s-a-mixtape release from Kenny Hoopla is a whole lot of fun. It’s a modern pop-punk release with Travis Barker producing and on drums, and it’s the perfect way to start up the summer. It makes me want to drive down the freeway with the windows down and the music loud. There’s a youthful familiarity and a sprinkle of angst; worth a look for fans of new and old pop-punk.
    • Continuing the pop-punk trend, FigureItOut has released a group of acoustic Blink-182 cover songs that turned out really well. And, if you haven’t yet, this would also be a good time to check out their last album, Never Too Late, which has a little Valencia vibe at times and is a welcome addition to any summer playlist.
    • Authority Zero’s latest has strong early Pennywise vibes. I haven’t had time to really dive into it yet, but plan to listen more this weekend.
    • The new Hot Mulligan EP is an interesting listen. The songs are good; I just want more. It feels like it’s just about to get going, and then it’s over. I feel teased.
    • The latest single from New Found Glory is making me double down on my belief that they should have recorded their last album will Will Pugh. This song is so much better than anything on their last album by a metric mile.
    • Bands I still like: Meet Me @ the Altar. The new song continues their hot streak, and I am very here for their upcoming EP.
    • My copy of A Wilhelm Scream’s Ruiner showed up on vinyl last night, and my word does this album still just kick so much ass. What a great, great band.

    Entertainment Thoughts

    • In the Heights was fun but not as instantly memorable as other musicals. Good story, some good songs, but it didn’t really have a moment that grabbed me and made me want to come back to it. Still, I’m always here for a good musical and think we need more of them in the world.
    • I think just about everything that could be said about Bo Burnham’s latest, Inside, has been said already. It’s a striking piece of art where the music numbers, in my opinion, actively hold up even outside of the comedy special. But taken as a whole, it’s extremely affecting and one of the rare things I’ve watched twice in recent memory. It hit me viscerally.
    • Hannah and I started Shadow and Bone on Netflix. We have three episodes left, and I don’t really know how I feel about it. It’s fine, I suppose, but a lot of the recent episodes have felt like filler episodes, and the plot plays out in pretty YA-predictable ways. But, it’s not bad, and I am enjoying the show each night, but it’s also not blowing me away as a much watch.
    • Elite is back, and I am so excited. Hannah made me promise to wait and watch it with her when she gets back from her little weekend trip with her mother, but I’m having self-control problems. I really want to watch! I loved the first two seasons and can’t wait for more. I’m not sure what I’m going to watch the next few nights while Hannah is away. I probably will get caught up on Superman & Lois, and continue my Mad Men re-watch. I tried one episode of Bridgerton last night and made it exactly 20 minutes before bailing. That’s going to be a hard pass from me.

    Random and Personal Stuff

    • Not much here this week. I think I’m going to try and relax most of the rest of the day. It feels like the perfect “mid-day nap” kind of Saturday.

    Ten Songs

    Here are ten songs that I listened to and loved this week. Some may be new, some may be old, but they all found their way into my life during the past seven days.

    1. Meet Me @ the Altar – Feel a Thing
    2. FigureItOut – Man Overboard (Acoustic)
    3. Blink-182 – Online Songs
    4. Authority Zero – Nowheres Land
    5. Hot Mulligan – Featuring Mark Hoppus
    6. Kenny Hoopla – Turn Back Time
    7. AFI – Dulceria
    8. FigureItOut – A Lost Boy
    9. Wolf Alice – How Can I Make It Ok?
    10. Bo Burnham – That Funny Feeling

    This playlist is available on Spotify and Apple Music.

    Community Watch

    The trending and popular threads in our community this week include:

    The most liked post in our forums last week was this one by dylan in the “General Politics Discussion IX” thread.

    I hope everyone has a lovely rest of the weekend.

    Previous editions of Liner Notes can be found here.


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