Liner Notes (July 10th, 2021)


This week’s newsletter has first impressions of The Maine’s new release as well as some thoughts on other music, movies, and entertainment I consumed over the past week. There’s also a playlist of ten songs worth checking out, and this week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

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A Few Things

  • This week, we rolled out our annual “Best of 2021 (So Far)” feature. It’s always fun to see what everyone on staff is collectively listening to and to see the community lists as well. I always find at least a handful of albums that end up becoming favorites. This year has been a weird one musically for me; I feel like there are albums released early in the year that almost feel as though they are part of last year, even though they’re not. Like that Hayley Williams release? I had to triple-check that it came out in 2021. I played around with various versions of my list before just realizing I needed to go with my gut. And right now, that Manchester Orchestra album is my favorite of the year. It doesn’t really stick me as the album that is going to define my year, so I am very interested to see how the second half of this year plays out and if anything really sets itself apart. Usually, there’s a point in the year when I realize I’ve been listening to one album a lot and it kind of cements itself as a front runner that all other albums have to compete against. As of right now, I don’t really think that album exists for me. There’s just a bunch of stuff I am really into but nothing that is running ahead of the pack. The best part is there’s still quite a bit to look forward to as well. If you’re curious about the raw numbers behind the final list, those can be found here.

Sponsor: Settle Your Scores

Settle Your Scores have launched pre-orders for their upcoming album, Retrofit. The new album will be out on August 20th via Mutant League Records and reunites the pop-punk band with producer Nick Ingram at Capital House Studio.

Are you looking for a throwback-sounding pop-punk release to get your summer going? This will be in your wheelhouse. Pre-save now!

In Case You Missed It

Music Thoughts

  • At this point, it’s a cliche to talk about how anticipating a new album from The Maine is not something past Jason would have ever expected. But this run they’ve been on since American Candy is really something special. Their latest is an instantly accessible, instant earworm delight. The perfect mix of summer joy with its only fundamental flaw being, in my opinion, that it’s too short. Early favorites include “If Your Light Goes Out,” “Anxiety in Real Time,” “Sticky,” and “April 7th.” My decision to not listen to the singles or overplay any of them really paid off with getting an album that feels whole and new. I see no reason why this won’t be a massive staple for the next few months. And while I don’t think it has the same lasting power that something like Lovely Little Lonely did (which remains my favorite from the band by a significant margin), I have a stronger first impression here than I did with You Are Ok. It feels a little bit like the older brother to American Candy, and it’s the kind of album I feel like I could recommend to just about anyone. If you have been putting off giving these guys a chance for any reason or because of what you remember from the early 2000s, I highly recommend you stop and go give this a chance. At the very least, it’s a record you could throw on at any get-together in the backyard and step back to watch the group start nodding along. And it’s inevitable that someone is going to ask you, “hey, who is this?” Hello, record of the summer; thank you for showing up just in time.
  • I was pleasantly surprised to see a whole lot of people checking out the Origami Angel album after it featured prominently on our mid-year lists. It’s the kind of album that feels exactly like the kind of thing people that grew up listening to the music I grew up listening to would like in 2021. Fun album, and the summer is the perfect time to discover it if you haven’t yet.
  • Yours Truly returned with another great song. I continue to think this is one of the more exciting pop-punk bands making music right now. Sign me all the way up for more of this.
  • Clairo’s new album comes out next week and for some reason reviews are embargoed until the release date. So, I guess y’all got to wait until next week to hear me say I like it.

Entertainment Thoughts

  • I have mixed feelings about A Quiet Place Part II. It’s not that I didn’t like it per se; it’s more that I don’t understand why it needed to exist, nor do I think it had a story to tell. The direction was handled well, there’s some good performances, some good tension, but I found myself too often thinking it felt like an only ok TV series with characters that were doing things purely because the script told them to and for no other reason. I kept thinking, “wait, why would someone do that?” It was fine, I guess. However, besides the first few minutes, I don’t think it came close to the original nor really justified its existence.
  • I spent the entirety of The Tomorrow War saying some variation of “this is so, so stupid.” Predictable and a film that should have probably embraced a more satire and campiness tone, in a Starship Troopers kind of way. Needless to say, I’m not a fan.
  • With the holiday on Monday, I finally had time to finish a book for the first time what feels like forever. Dune was good! I’m even more excited for the upcoming film now.
  • We finished the fourth season of Elite, and while I enjoyed it, I think it was my least favorite of the series so far. I adored the shorts, but the actual season felt like it was missing something that elevated the first three. I’m curious to see where they’ll go from here, but part of me hopes they’ll give the original group of characters a satisfying ending and then embrace a new batch for us to follow. And for the love of God, just let Omar be happy!
  • After finishing Elite, we’ve started Cruel Summer. Only one episode in so far, and I’m into it. This definitely feels like the kind of show in my wheelhouse.
  • I Think You Should Leave is up there with Nathan for You as the kind of show I can’t get enough of and yet don’t think I could ever recommend it to anyone in my life. It has a cult following online, but I don’t think any of my friends or family would enjoy it at all. And yet I can’t stop watching it or quoting it and the second season that just dropped on Netflix brought out multiple belly laughs.

Random and Personal Stuff

  • Our building’s gym is open again, and it feels so weird to finally be back and lifting real weights. After 18 months of using resistance bands, my muscles move very differently when picking up free weights. They’re sore. It’s going to take some getting used to, but I really have missed the release from the day going to the gym gives me. Working out in the living room just isn’t the same as being able to disconnect from everything for an hour and be somewhere free of distractions.
  • Hannah started a new violin duo with a friend that they’re calling Fifth Mirror. They’re doing a livestream on Monday and have an Instagram you can follow.

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. The Maine – Dirty Pretty Beautiful
  2. KennyHoopla – Silence is Also an Answer
  3. Origami Angel – Tom Holland Oates
  4. Yours Truly – Walk Over My Grave
  5. Justin Courtney Pierre – At Least It’s Over
  6. Aron – Nieve
  7. The Maine – Anxiety in Real Time
  8. Joy Oladokun – Judas
  9. Half Waif – Sodium and Cigarettes
  10. Soccer Mommy – Kissing in the Rain

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 coleslawed in the “I Think You Should Leave With Tim Robinson (Netflix)” thread.

Yeah, that’s about right.

Previous editions of Liner Notes can be found here.

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