Liner Notes (May 25th, 2024)


This week’s newsletter has a couple of rants, one very random anecdote about drink habits, and a bunch of thoughts on music and other entertainment I enjoyed over the past week. This week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

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A Few Things

  • Am I the only person who regularly copies the embed code for a newly created playlist from Apple Music? Every single week I write this newsletter, the last thing I do is post the playlist to the playlist category on the website and to do this I copy the embed code using the Apple Music menu option. It fails every single time. And it doesn’t fail in a normal way, like telling me it didn’t copy the embed code; oh no, that would be sane. Instead it just does nothing. So I go to the post, hit paste, and get whatever was last on my clipboard. I usually the ago back and forth five or more times! Sometimes, it’ll randomly work; often, it won’t. It’s maddening! The only consistent way I’ve found to get the embed code is to copy a link to the playlist, and then paste that into Chrome (not Safari, cause that’ll open up the playlist in the Music app), and then use the web version of Apple Music to copy the embed code.
  • While in a ranting mood, I’ve got to say: The new Sonos iOS app sucks. The update is less intuitive, doesn’t look good, and lacks features the old version had. One of the most common things I’d do is open the app, long-press the volume slider when music is playing, and adjust the volume of all the speakers currently playing. Now, the touch targets are smaller, and even changing the volume makes it more challenging to match up all the speakers at the same level. Thumbs way down on this one.
  • On a lighter note, I had a silly realization earlier this week. Throughout almost all of my life, I’ve had a drink that has defined a period in my life. I like to have something to sip on while working throughout the day, and it’s hilariously changed over time. In high school, I drank a lot of orange juice. My parents would buy multiple-gallon tubs of orange juice at a time lot. I also drank a lot of Mt. Dew and stayed up way too late with pure sugar running through my veins. College was Mt. Dew, Monster Energy Drinks, and Strawberry Quik from the student cafeteria. Then, there was a significant Vitamin Water phase. I’d buy cases of the stuff from Costco. None of this was healthy. Thinking about how much of all of this I drank on a regular basis, and my metabolism was like, “Yeah, no big deal,” is hilarious. I then had several years of Coke Zero (limiting myself to one day). A few years back, I realized I should (try to) be more thoughtful about what I was consuming, and I just switched to drinking more water instead. I started with flavored sparkling water but soon moved to filtered tap water. (The goal is 64 oz during colder months and 96 oz in the summer.) And I replaced the mid-afternoon caffeine need with Liquid Death’s Iced Tea. So, of course, and this is what got me thinking about this silly trend, I now have another drink for a period of my life. (I rotate between the basic black tea, the peach tea, and the lemonade/tea mix.) My brain is weird.

In Case You Missed It

Music Thoughts

  • I don’t usually listen to many live albums, but I randomly ended up having three on my top-played albums of the week list this week. Blink, MxPx, and Slick Shoes are all top-notch. That Slick Shoes live record is an incredible collection spanning almost their entire history. When done well, live albums can be a lot of fun; I think the outstanding ones just seem to be few and far between. (And MxPx having three solid ones in their catalog has to be a rarity.)
  • Zach Bryan continues his hot streak with the new song “Pink Skies.” Did he make a prolific pact with the devil or something?
  • And Marianas Trench are now 2/2 with the songs from their upcoming album as well. Both singles have been an awesome reminder that when this band is at the top of their game they are as good as any in the genre.
  • One Step Closer’s All You Embrace continued to get a lot of plays from me this week. It’s the leader in the clubhouse for sunny summer albums that have dominated my playlist for a couple of months.
  • This week also had me revisiting Hit the Lights’ Summer Bones, which I don’t think I gave enough time to in 2015. I was kind of out on that whole genre for a while, and it felt a little like a regression for the band. But, almost ten years later, and me re-discovering the pop-punk love in my bones, has me admitting it’s got quite a few fun summer pop-punk anthems. The title track, specifically, is a bop. I also spent more time this week with the latest Citizen album, and I still love the groove to these songs. In a few places, I wish the choruses defined themselves a bit more, and a lot of the tracks end up feeling similar to each other, but it’s still got a way of making me tap my toes. The other revisit of the week was The Used’s Toxic Positivity. I’ve been all over the place with this band through the years, from loving their debut, to finding whole albums of theirs virtually unlistenable. But this one! This one I, kind of shockingly, sort of love. The big bombastic pop undertones work for me and I find myself humming the choruses in my head randomly throughout the day. I’m curious to see how the b-side album ends up, but this one has stuck with me way more than I thought it would on first listen.
  • This week, I saw the release of the new Twenty One Pilots album, and my first impression is quite positive. I can hear so much Paul Meany on this album, and those fingerprints scratch a very specific sonic itch for me. I’ve only had time to listen a few times so far, and I miss the brazen pop of their last album, but this is so layered and interesting that it demands deeper dives. I was never as into these guys as others, and while I liked their first few albums, it was only the last one that I started paying more attention. I’m glad I did; this is good.
  • I listened to the new Bring Me the Horizon album once. The lead singer has always rubbed me the wrong way, but they’re such a massive band, and I saw a lot of positive comments in the forums, so I figured I should give it a listen. The blending of genres here is interesting, and there are some undeniable choruses on this thing. I’ll possibly keep it in my back pocket for a gym album in the future to see how that sits. The track with Underoath was a highlight.
  • The new Astrid S album has a couple of awesome pop songs and a few that felt a little filler-y. And the new Fly Over States EP has my attention. That’s a band I’ll be keeping an eye on going forward.
  • Mest’s upcoming album Youth is shockingly kinda fun. It’s short. It’s pretty much a 2000s pop-punk throwback with a whole lot of Wasting Time influence on it, but it works more than it doesn’t. The lead single’s the worst song on here by a mile and the rest of it, at least, is a big step from the last album they released. It’s probably not something I’ll find in regular rotation, but I enjoyed my two spins far more than I expected.

The Stats: Over the past week, I listened to 31 different artists, 44 different albums, and 468 different tracks (543 scrobbles). Here is my Top 9 from last week, and you can follow me on Apple Music and/or

Entertainment Thoughts

  • The Fall Guy works because Ryan Gosling is one of the most charming human beings ever to walk this planet. Ridiculous. Didn’t hate it.
  • I’ve seen online that Sugar’s big twist has been somewhat polarizing. I knew nothing about the show going in but Hannah and I called it in the second episode, and I didn’t think it was really that hidden from the audience. I dunno; I was expecting something like that really early, so it happening didn’t make me dislike the show like I guess it did for others. I thought it was a super solid season. I’d watch a second, appreciate the style, and love any time someone takes a chance on something original.
  • X-Men’ 97 remains an absolute gem of a TV show. Like, god damnnnnn that fifth episode was next level. Love everything about this.
  • I finally finished Monarch: Legacy of Monsters. Meh. It started to drag and there were full episodes that felt like everyone was dragging their feet with no idea what to do with the story or characters. By the end, it made me want an English subtitled version of Minus One to be available.

Random and Personal Stuff

  • It’s a long weekend with Memorial Day on Monday. The current plan is to see some friends tomorrow and try to take it easy. Reset and relax, and hopefully, I’ll have some time to read, watch some baseball, and maybe work on a few personal projects.

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. One Step Closer – Topanga
  2. Twenty One Pilots – Overcompensate
  3. The Used – Giving Up
  4. Hit the Lights – Anthem
  5. Zach Bryan – Pink Skies
  6. Marianas Trench – Lightning and Thunder
  7. Astrid S – First to Go
  8. Anberlin – Dissenter
  9. Citizen – Can’t Take it Slow
  10. American Hi-Fi – Safer on the Outside (Acoustic)

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 iCarly Rae Jepsen in the “Accountability in Entertainment” thread.

Previous editions of Liner Notes can be found here.

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