Liner Notes (November 14th, 2021)

This week’s newsletter looks at new music out this week (Taylor Swift, Walk the Moon) as well as looking at some revisits (Dashboard Confessional, Relient K) and some thoughts about trying to sort of, kind of, remember what it was like to do things before the global pandemic. This week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

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A Few Things

  • I spent the morning trying to get my Christmas list in order and then do some shopping for the family and feeling pretty good about the progress made so far. Now I have to find out why the fake tree we ordered has been marked by FedEx as “on vehicle for delivery” for an entire week because I’d like something I can put all these presents under. I still need to find some stocking stuffers and probably one or two more items, but the bulk feels pretty complete. Hannah has gone on a decoration buying spree. I see boxes upon boxes of garnishes and wreaths and ornaments sitting in the kitchen right now … soooooooo, I have a feeling we may be going a little overboard this December.

In Case You Missed It

Music Thoughts

  • The obvious big release this year is Taylor Swift’s new version of Red. Red is an album I’ve always enjoyed, but 1989 was the one that got me and helped me become a big fan. So, I don’t have a huge connection to this album the way some people do. That said, I’m kind of adoring this and all the new songs. The obvious standout is the new 10-minute version of “All Too Well,” which was already a songwriting masterclass. It’s interesting because I read some of the criticisms from longtime fans on why they find these versions inferior, and I actually get it. There are some albums that I’ve played so many times, and heard specifically in one way, that any change – even a new master of the album, or hell in some cases I’ve been listening to some mp3 rip I made in 2002 and hearing a different version of those songs feels “weird.” So I get it. Those are the albums you know deep in your bones, and any minor tweak feels off. But that’s never been the case for me with Red, and something is refreshing to these new versions that works for me. I don’t think I’ll have any problem swapping these in my rotation, and I’ve been enjoying listening to this over the past few days. And, my word is that ten-minute rendition of “All Too Well” everything I’d built it up into my head to be.
  • My discography dive this week was going back through every Relient K album, some of them multiple times. First, what a fun band. Quirky and enjoyable and the kind of albums that make me smile. I still think Collapsible Lung is the only one that doesn’t quite work for me, but every other album is just full of gems.
  • The other discography listen I went on this week was with Dashboard Confessional. It started with the new single that absolutely knocked me on my ass. It’s classic Dashboard in all the best ways. I cannot wait for this album now; if it’s anything like this, I will be exceptionally happy. After playing the hell out of the single, I went back through all his albums, including the re-worked versions. I like the new recording of Dusk and Summer, but it helps that it was the one I never quite got into in the same as the others. And, I vastly prefer the original acoustic version of Altar the Ending. But man, there’s something about a fall day listening to Dashboard that just feels … right? Or maybe just feels very me. I’ve spent so many hours with these songs, so many nights with them in my headphones, and they just crawl through my bloodstream like a warm comfort. After being pretty letdown with his last release, it feels nice to be genuinely excited for the new album.
  • MxPx dropped a live album yesterday, and it’s fantastic. MxPx’s At the Show was the first album I ever remember owning, and there’s something about their live releases that work for me in a way that many others don’t. First, they sound incredible, and their songs all translate so well live. Second, there’s just palpable energy. It also doesn’t hurt that my first concert was an MxPx show and I feel teleported back to that magical night. If you’re a fan of this band at all, even if you don’t historically like live albums, I’d highly recommend giving this a try.
  • I’ve only spun the new Walk the Moon album once so far, but it was a pretty enjoyable and harmless listen. I don’t know if it grabbed me as having a huge “wow” moment, but it is a catchy album with some nice hooks—a little generic. I’ll give it another listen in a few days and see how it shakes out.
  • Aaron Sprinkle’s new EP combines some of his latest singles with some new songs, and it’s always a pleasure to hear anything he’s worked on. He remains one of the most underrated producers and songwriters out there right now. A big part of me would kind of kill to hear him work on an Andrew McMahon album.

The Stats: Over the past week, I listened to 22 different artists and 402 different tracks (484 scrobbles). My most listened-to artist was Relient K after spending a lot of time re-listening to their entire catalog, with Dashboard coming in second. My most played album was the new Red (Taylor’s Version), just beating out Five Score and Seven Years Ago due to its lengthy tracklisting. Here is my Top 9 from last week, and you can follow me on Apple Music and/or Last.fm.

Entertainment Thoughts

  • It was a hectic week here, and each night Hannah and I ended up spending a lot of time having some drinks and just talking. We find ourselves often in a routine of just throwing something on to watch, and this week with all the crazy shit going on, we wanted to make sure we were intentional with our time for each other. So, this led to many nights with us just throwing on an old episode of Friends and being swept up in the comfort of it all.
  • The one thing we did watch was the new James Bond movie. I’ve been anticipating this for so, so long. It’s not perfect by any means, but I did enjoy the hell out of it. It hit the spot for what I wanted it to be. As of now, I’d rank it my third favorite Craig-era Bond. First remains Casino Royale, and I really wish they’d been able to capture and replicate what made that movie great a few more times. Number two would be Skyfall, which is damn good even though it has a few minor flaws that keep it under Casino for me. And then this would notch in here at number three. Probably the best way possible to end the Craig era, and thankfully it helped wash some of the stench of Spectre away. (I hated that movie.) I’m happy with it, and watching it in November just feels right to me. Some of my earliest memories are of going over my grandparents and getting to pick out a Bond movie on VHS to watch with them or of laying on the couch in my parent’s house during Thanksgiving week when all the films would be playing on repeat on cable television. They’ve been connected in my head with this time of year for most of my life and have been an “event” I’ve always looked forward to.

Random and Personal Stuff

  • This week was my second wedding anniversary. It’s been a tumultuous two years. We went back to the venue where we got married for dinner. It was the first time I’d eaten inside at a restaurant since the pandemic started. It was an interesting feeling and experience. That slight feeling of normalcy did feel great, though. That’s something I think I want to make sure to bring back into my life, trying to do some more things that feel closer to the normal we knew just a few years ago. Today, Saturday, we went and ate outside at one of my favorite taco places and had a beer … I checked into Swarm and hadn’t been there since March of 2020. I don’t think I even really knew how much I had missed little things like that these past few years. How many things had been taken away, and I just kind of let them fade from my memory because thinking about what we used to do on Saturdays made me sad, and I knew I couldn’t do anything about it. And now, as we slowly move back out into the world in very small ways, those memories are coming back, and I’m reflecting on just how much we lost.
  • My mom got her booster today. I hate shots, and I’m already looking to when I’ll be able to get one.

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 – Cold and All Alone
  2. Aaron Sprinkle – Everything
  3. Walk the Moon – Don’t Make Me
  4. Dashboard Confessional – Here’s to Moving On
  5. MxPx – For Always
  6. Relient K – Look On Up
  7. Hot Water Music – Killing Time
  8. Bad Suns – Wishing Fountains
  9. Dashboard Confessional – Rooftops and Invitations
  10. Taylor Swift – All Too Well (10 Minute Version)

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 Sean Murphy in the “Jimmy Eat World” thread.

Previous editions of Liner Notes can be found here.

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