Liner Notes (March 20th, 2021)

MxPx

This week’s newsletter has my thoughts on Zack Snyder’s Justice League and some lengthy commentary about finding joy in music again through a deep dive of MxPx’s catalog over the past week. I ponder why I sort of stopped listening to pop-punk music and what it’s like to pass another birthday in the middle of a pandemic. But there’s a finish line in sight. And, as always, there’s a playlist of ten songs I liked this week, and this week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

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Three Things

  • I think this is the latest I’ve started writing on a Saturday. The main reason is that it was my birthday on Thursday, and we went over to my mom’s garage to “celebrate” with my mom and my sister. Then we had to run some errands, get groceries, and I’m just now back and settled in to write a little. Honestly, it was a weird birthday year. Last year was right at the start of the pandemic. Everyone was starting to figure out what was going on, we were beginning the more hardcore lockdown stuff, and information was still sketchy on the right protocol. The first few weeks were spent wiping down groceries, but no masks. Now, a year later, and things are still pretty weird. Thankfully, it feels like I can see the finish line. Hannah will be getting her second vaccine tomorrow, and it does feel like there’s at least some future where things feel more “normal.” I turned 38 this year, and it’s an age that actually has me feeling old in a way other birthdays haven’t. It’s an age where I can remember my parents hitting because I have memories of it. It’s an age where I feel very removed from the youth, from what’s popular, from what’s new and cool in the “culture” today. But it’s also an age where I really want to take stock of my life and make sure the next thirty-something years I am using to the best of my abilities and making sure I feel like each day is a reflection of living in a way I’m proud of and filling my time with things that bring me joy.
  • My favorite gifts were some Mack Weldon gift cards so I can load up on some more fantastic work from home gear and this coffee canister from Mir I’ve had my eye on for a while. It keeps an entire bag of coffee beans sealed airtight. Is there anything that feels more “yeah, I’m closer to 40 than 30” than being excited about grabbing some new sweatpants and a cool coffee canister for your birthday? Probably not.
  • Overall, it’s been a fun past few days. We had burgers and candy on Thursday, watched some movies, Hannah baked a pie, we got my favorite teriyaki for lunch today, and my sister got me a six-pack of my favorite beer from Breakside (True Gold) and is coming over to play some games and watch a movie later tonight. For another pandemic-birthday, it’s really about the best I could ask for. Doing things I like with people I love; about all you can ask for, honestly.

Sponsor

This week’s sponsor is near and dear to my heart.

Let me introduce you to the Mordialloc Ducks Baseball Club from Australia and the two new baseball caps they now up for sale. And, to learn even more about them, here’s an introduction in their own words:

We’re the Mordialloc Ducks Baseball Club, the Little Baseball Club That Could. Based in the South-East suburbs of Melbourne, Australia, we’re a small amateur not-for-profit baseball club that focuses on growing baseball through socially enjoyable games rather than highly-competitive coaching. Half of our players had never played baseball before, but they’ve fallen in love with it.

Because we are the Little Baseball Club That Could, we sometimes do fun and audacious things that usually only the big clubs do, like creating highlight videos and designing New Era caps. We’ve had two 59FIFTY caps created, one with our on-field cap logo, and the other celebrating our mascot Quack Daniels, which we are selling through our website.

The team was founded in 2018 by a longtime AbsolutePunk and Chorus reader, and if you’d like to know more, you can follow them on Instagram and Facebook.

In Case You Missed It

Music Thoughts

  • When MxPx announced their vinyl boxset, I wasn’t quite sure if I was going to pick it up. The $350 price tag was hefty, and I hadn’t spent a whole lot of time with the band’s music in the past few years. Last Sunday, since I had already listened through all of my podcasts, I decided to toss on Slowly Going the Way of the Buffalo while doing my weekly condo-clean. This led to an entire week of going through their entire discography and the some 400 songs I have from the band in my collection. It’s so fucking good and was such a huge boost to my mood all week. I decided I had to have the boxset and justified it by saying it was being purchased with some of the stimulus check. Really though, it’s a no-brainer to add these records into my collection; they’ve been with me for so much of my life and mean so much to me. And really, they’re all very good. The only one, after all this time, that I don’t think I love, is Plans Within Plans. Every other record has songs that feel fresh, nostalgic, and utterly entwined in my life’s story. I think quite a few years back, during the AbsolutePunk days, I felt a need to distance myself from pop-punk. I was tired of being made fun of liking it. I wasn’t a big fan of where the new generation was taking the genre. And I felt some stupid need to seem more “cool” or into the indie music or whatever next big wave there was. Pop-punk music didn’t feel cool, and I wanted to feel cool. I am now 38, and I am decidedly not cool. I am, however, far more comfortable with who I am and what I like. I don’t honestly care about chasing what’s popular or seen as the next indie darling. The online music journalism world is better left to those that are willing to chase clicks or want to do the talking-head video thing. I am not interested in it; it doesn’t excite me. But throwing on these old pop-punk records? That excited me. The lyrics to every song came flooding back like uncorked muscle memory. I think I need to spend this year chasing this feeling from music; the joy, the moments of happiness spent with the music loud and not worrying about scene points. I think that joy has been missing lately, but this week, I found it again. Thanks, MxPx. (Free idea: If MxPx and Blink-182 ever want to go out on tour together, AbsolutePunk.net will 100% sponsor it in any way we can.)
  • I really enjoyed this new UserX EP, and if you haven’t listened to Matt Maeson before, I’d deliver those albums into your collection to give a spin as well.
  • Due to the aforementioned MxPx binge, I haven’t had time to listen to a whole lot of new stuff this week. My plan is to give the new Middle Kids album some time because I was impressed with my first spin. I’ll probably also give the new Lana Del Rey a listen when the mood strikes.
  • The Maine dropped their new single, “Sticky,” and it gives me big American Candy vibes. I hear they’re just finishing up the mastering now and pre-orders are up for the July release. I’m a broken record now, but I can’t believe how much I’ve enjoyed their past three records, and this is high up on my anticipated list. Gimme all the earworms.
  • Speaking of bands that seem to be getting even better as time goes on: All Time Low are releasing a new single next week as well. Seeing their success, and the momentum they have right now, just … for lack of a better phrase, makes me happy. I’m glad good things are happening to them and I think they’re at the peak of their songwriting prowess right now. Good for them.

Entertainment Thoughts

  • Hm, ok, let’s talk about Zack Snyder’s Justice League. This is not a good film. It’s all over the place; there’s too much exposition, so much slow motion, some genuinely awful needle drops, a desperate need for story and film editing, and the epilogue a disaster. However, there’s some good here, and I found the entire thing oddly entertaining. It’s better than the original, which isn’t saying a lot, but in a better film I do think there would be an interesting angle to unpack about the theme of parents and their kids. Each superhero has a very interesting relationship with their parents and how it shapes who they are and who they become. In a better film, I would have been very excited to see that better explored. Here, it’s clunky and feels almost unintentional. Quick thoughts: I think the Cyborg arc was well done. I think Batman got the short end of the stick. Flash walked between annoying and me wanting to see more. Some cool action scenes. Some cool-looking but ultimately stupid action scenes. The bank bomb scene makes no sense the moment you think about the terrorists’ motivation even a little bit. Sure, it has some cool action moments, but the story part of it makes no fucking sense. And that’s the rub. The story here just isn’t good enough and, with that, we now have more than enough evidence that Chris Terrio is a hack. Rise of Skywalker was the last straw for me; if he’s got a writing credit on something from now on: I’m out. For a four-hour movie, I expected worse. I think I expected the entire thing to feel like that epilogue, which was truly a disaster (and Jared Leto is horrible). And I’m glad this is where Snyder’s vision for the world ends. But, I’d like to see Cavil get another run with a new director at a Superman film. And this ended up being more entertaining than Wonder Woman 84, and that’s not something I was prepared for.
  • The Head was a perfect little mystery mini-series. Just the right length, just the right amount of suspense, and a good story. I was captivated by the story and, while I guessed the ending, I still thought the central theme of “how far would you go” was an interesting one to tackle.
  • I highly recommend Kim’s Convenience on Netflix. It’s a thirty-minute show that has become our go-to end-of-night show the past week. It’s a joy of a show that has humor and heart. Very excited to have four seasons to watch.

Random and Personal Stuff

  • Not much to put in this section this week, given that most of this week’s writing was pretty random and personal. 🤷‍♂️

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. MxPx – Doing Time
  2. MxPx – Under Lock and Key
  3. MxPx – My Life Story
  4. MxPx – Well Adjusted
  5. MxPx – The Darkest Places
  6. MxPx – Shut it Down
  7. MxPx – Let it Happen
  8. MxPx – Let’s Ride
  9. Justin Pierre – Dying to Known
  10. Middle Kids – Cellophane

This playlist is available on Spotify and Apple Music.

Community Watch

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

Previous editions of Liner Notes can be found here.

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