Liner Notes (July 31st, 2020)

Sunflower

This week’s newsletter shares my favorite pop-punk album of the year so far. Gasp! Pop-punk in 2020? I also go through some thoughts on music and entertainment I enjoyed over the past week, and share a playlist and pizza toppings. This week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

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Back to 2013 (Re-Ranking the Best of Lists)

Back to ...

The early versions of these “back to” articles felt like I was looking at a distant past, a version of myself that was so far removed from who I am today, a version doing things I can only remember around the edges. More the shape of memory, less defined lines. This year we get to 2013, only a couple years from the end of this iteration of this project.1 I look at the staff’s 2013 best of list and the memories around these albums feel fresh in my mind. I remember the buzz around The National. I remember The Wonder Years destroying our web server with the most-streamed song premiere we ever did. To date, that song’s been streamed over a half a million times on Soundcloud. I remember the return of Fall Out Boy, the legal drama of A Day to Remember, the My Chemical Romance hiatus, and my utter obsession with this new band called The 1975.

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  1. I have an idea of what I am going to do once we get to 2015.

Liner Notes (July 24th, 2020)

Phone

This week has thoughts on Taylor Swift, Neon Trees, bad violin playing in movies, and much more. Plus, there’s a playlist of ten songs I enjoyed this week, and this week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

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Back to 2012 (Re-Ranking the Best of Lists)

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2012, only eight years ago, but it feels so much further away. It was the year the world was supposed to end, and yet the current state of things feels far more apocalyptic than almost anything from 2012.

Looking at the AbsolutePunk list from this year throws me in two different directions. First, it’s a year with a lot of really great rock albums. From The Menzingers, The Gaslight Anthem, Japandroids, Every Time I Die, and many others. And second, it’s the year of Fun.’s Some Nights. For whatever reason, I forgot that all of this was happening at the same time. In my head, I never associated The Gaslight Anthem’s Handwritten happening while Fun. was blowing up across the country. It’s weird how time can play tricks on your brain like that.

At a high level, this staff complied list feels pretty representative of where the music scene was in 2012 and where we, as a publication, were starting to try and branch out a little more with our musical tastes. You see Taylor Swift’s Red on this list, an album that would do very well in our best of the decade list. And you also will find Frank Ocean and Kendrick Lamar making appearances.1 And then it’s also a year where a lot of heavier music and scene staples were putting out releases. Every Time I Die released Ex Lives, Code Orange Kids released Love is Love / Return to Dust, and Yellowcard put out Southern Air next to Anberlin’s Vital. Whereas last week had me coming to the realization that a lot of the albums in 2011 were great albums that often ended up becoming my least favorite of the bands’ respective catalog, looking at my list from this year is virtually the opposite. This is the year of albums that would, in time, make a run as being my favorite release from some of the bands that feature. It’s my favorite Japandroids record, I think I’ve come to conclude it’s my favorite Yellowcard record, it’s my favorite Every Time I Die record, it’s my favorite All-American Rejects record, and mewithoutYou, Now, Now, Stars, and The Menzingers all make a case as well. I don’t think it’s my favorite The Gaslight Anthem record, but there are times where I think it’s the best Gaslight Anthem record. When I think about the run The Gaslight Anthem had, and include Brian’s work with The Horrible Crowes, it feels like everything was leading to that record. And along with with Fun.’s Some Nights, it is probably what I most associate the year with in my head.

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  1. And it was the year of that one Mackelmore album everyone kind of liked for a while.

Encore: Best of 2005 (Re-Ranking) (#162)

Encore Logo

I’ve decided to try something a little different and see how it works. I recorded an audio version of my “Back to 2005” article from a few weeks back and have pushed it out to the Encore podcast feed. I’ve heard from quite a few people that they’d like to see the featured articles (and even the weekly newsletter) in an audio form.1 So, I’m going to start playing around with a few new ideas and see what happens. With the current pandemic and quarantine rules, I’ve got the time.

Comments are, of course, welcome. And if this is something you’d like me to be able to do on a consistent basis, please consider becoming a supporting member of the website.

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  1. The written word just doesn’t travel as far these days.

Liner Notes (July 17th, 2020)

Beach

On Fridays we write newsletters. This week I share things I found interesting and some thoughts on music and entertainment. There’s also a playlist of ten songs you should check out 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.

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Back to 2011 (Re-Ranking the Best of Lists)

Back to ...

I used to think about the idea of ‘re-living’ a year. The mental game of knowing what you know now, and seeing what differences you could make in your life with various changes and the superpower of hindsight. After 2020, I don’t think about that much anymore; there are years that should be burned and the ground they’re buried within salted and forgotten. 2011 is a year like that for me; a year I’d spend years getting over.

As I look over the AbsolutePunk staff list from 2011, I’m reminded most of all these little dramatic moments this year inspired. Blink-182 finally released their reunion album, Neighborhoods, and it was instantly polarizing. Was it a great return? Was it garbage? Did the band desperately need an outside producer? Should they be forced to all be in a room writing together? It was virtually instant drama, swift speculation, and all of the excess noise seemed to hum louder than any real discussion of the music itself. And that wouldn’t be the only polarizing release this year. Thrice released Major/Minor, the only album of theirs I don’t unequivocally love, and would soon after take a hiatus. Thursday released No Devolución, a record many thought was a departure from their core sound (but one I’ve long championed as their best work), and then would also take a hiatus. Manchester Orchestra would release Simple Math, and to this day, I can’t tell you what the consensus around that album is. Is it loved? Hated? I feel like I’ve read every single take about that album and still don’t know how it’s thought of within the Manchester Orchestra fanbase. Patrick Stump went solo with Soul Punk, and arguments of selling out and comparisons to Fall Out Boy were inevitable. And then there were The Dangerous Summer at peak Drama Summer. They were one of the buzziest, most talked about, and most adored within our community bands. But those assholes just couldn’t seem to get out of their own way. War Paint is an undeniable album, but I look at my list from 2011, and I have it all the way down at number twenty-eight. I just couldn’t divorce the antics from the music and was so sick of their shit.

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Liner Notes (July 10th, 2020)

Ferris Wheel

This week’s newsletter looks at music and entertainment I enjoyed this week. This was a good week for singles, and I’m all about that new PVRIS album. This week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

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Back to 2010 (Re-Ranking the Best of Lists)

Back to ...

2010, huh?

Specific year markers, like decade transitions, always seem to get to me. They put in black and white the passage of time in an even block. I both can’t believe and am not shocked that it’s been ten years since 2010. It feels both impossible and obvious at the same time. I browse through AbsolutePunk’s best-of list from the year and see it filled with albums that would define the next decade in music. Records that would be so influential that they would help shape the musical landscape for years to come. And I see albums from bands that were a part of the fabric of AbsolutePunk, like The Graduate and Valencia, that would soon disband and fade into the memory of forum posters alone.

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