Liner Notes (July 3rd, 2020)

fireworks

I hope everyone had a decent week this week. Hard to say “great” with everything that is going on in the world right now, so I’m setting the bar at “decent.” This week’s newsletter looks at the music and entertainment I enjoyed last week and includes a playlist of ten songs I think are worth your time. This week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

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Back to 2009 (Re-Ranking the Best of Lists)

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2009 was a sneaky great year for music.

If you had asked me right before I looked at the AbsolutePunk list from 2009, I wouldn’t have remembered how stacked it was. Unlike 2008, I didn’t have an album in mind that I just knew defined the year and would go on to represent the better part of the next decade in my life. Now, looking over this staff compiled list, I’m reminded just how incredible a year 2009 was for our music scene. And I’m reminded that when a band or album started to get some buzz in our forums, it felt like an unstoppable wave of hype. 2009 had two of the most “get on that hype train” albums from this era that I can remember: Manchester Orchestra’s Mean Everything to Nothing and The Dangerous Summer’s Reach for the Sun. With Manchester Orchestra, we had already heard their debut full-length, and the early rumors were they were going all out with their follow-up, and it had the rumblings of an instant classic. The Dangerous Summer had released an EP and was just brimming with potential; combining the AP.net tried and true formula of incredibly relatable lyrics with just the right amount of hooks and guitars. A true “your next favorite band” contender.

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Liner Notes (June 26th, 2020)

Cheers

I get it, the weeks are blending, and you were just reading a newsletter from me last Friday, but it’s here again. Round and round we go. This week’s newsletter has thoughts on music, entertainment, and other stuff on my mind. This week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

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Back to 2008 (Re-Ranking the Best of Lists)

Back to ...

This week’s jaunt in the Tardis takes us back to 2008. A bittersweet year that I looked upon with so much hope, and in retrospect, have so much regret and disappointment. The watchword for 2008 is change. Our country elects its first black President upon this message, and it’s echoed in my journey as well. Change. Hope. Personal changes, professional changes, societal changes, and musical changes. All wrapped with a belief and hope that we are progressing forward and moving toward something better. And before long, all of this culminates in a massive economic recession not long after I have decided to sell AbsolutePunk to Buzznet.

But first, the staff list.

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Liner Notes (June 19th, 2020)

Spidey-Protest

In this week’s newsletter, I look at the music, movies, tv shows, and books I enjoyed this week while also sharing some articles and other things I found interesting. There’s also a playlist of ten songs I liked and a shocking admission about tonight’s pizza toppings. This week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

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Back to 2007 (Re-Ranking the Best of Lists)

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Ah, 2007, an album ranking year that I don’t think will get the worst of Reddit angry with me, but a year that feels transitional in our music scene. While 2005 felt like a pop-punk apex, and 2006 felt like bands exploring new sounds and taking big swings, I look back on 2007 and see the shifts that started the year before playing out in significant ways. A music scene that now has spread and is straddling pop, punk, alternative, hardcore, and everything in between at a rapid pace. Reading over the AbsolutePunk.net staff list from 2007 shows me a shift not just in the taste of the staff and community underway, but the beginning of a changing of the guard in just what kind of music was extremely popular within the music scene itself.

On the pop-punk side, you see the genre start to morph. We’re just about to begin the neon-phase, and bands like Four Year Strong and The Wonder Years are gaining in popularity. Bands from the previous era are trying to find out where they fit in. The Starting Line release Direction and have a surefire hit in “Island” that never finds its footing with the mainstream, and the band will go on hiatus not long after. Yellowcard returns with Paper Walls, which I called a redemption, and one of the better pop-punk albums released in years, but it also never quite catches on, and the band will also go on their hiatus within a year. The Academy Is… take a shot with Santi, and while loved by a few die-hards, it seemed to pause any momentum they had. Motion City Soundtrack leans into the melody with Even If It Kills You, and I will never understand the community backlash to that album. To this day, I’m still angry it wasn’t better received at the time, and while I love a lot of what came next, I could never shake that it felt like a regression. The kings of the old guard, Fall Out Boy, show they’re not ready to give up the crown when they put out Infinity on High. A band at the peak of their powers let me “leak” a track on our website, we get featured on MTV, and the group continues their tradition of being extremely polarizing within the scene while having a knack for keeping their sound updated and fresh enough to continue to see mainstream success. A trick they’ll deploy for years to come.

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Liner Notes (June 12th, 2020)

Zen

In this week’s newsletter, I share very early thoughts on the new albums from The Lawrence Arms and Ruston Kelly, talk a little about current and future website projects, and go through my regular media diet rundown from the past week. And, as always, there’s a playlist of ten songs I enjoyed this week as well. 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 2006 (Re-Ranking the Best of Lists)

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Last week I started the process of re-looking through the AbsolutePunk.net, and my personal, best-of lists from the early years. I began with one of my favorite years in my musical memory, 2005. It’s a year filled with nostalgia, pop-punk royalty, and stacked top to bottom with albums virtually anyone that grew up in this music scene consider classics. But here’s the thing about nostalgia, not all of it’s soaked in sunshine. Part of looking back means doing it with the clearer eyes of today; what you know now has to impact what you see. And that means it won’t always be fun because the light of the present can see into the shadows of the past.

What I remember most about AbsolutePunk in 2006 was that it felt like a shift in the music scene was underway, and it happened quickly. From the pop-punk goodness of 2005, the music that paints our 2006 list has a darker tinge to it. Blink-182 are no more, and +44 carries with its pop-rock an undercurrent of bitterness. New Found Glory shed their pop-punk identity in Coming Home for a sound that immediately divides the fan base, and one they’ve never returned to. Bands begin to experiment a little more with their sound and stretch outward. The Format shift with Dog Problems, My Chemical Romance goes all out in The Black Parade, The Early November aim for glory with a triple-disc concept album, and we see various expansions from Underoath, AFI, and Moneen. And, on top of all of that, we have debut full-lengths from Saosin and Manchester Orchestra. Two bands that will feature in our lives for years to come.

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