Liner Notes (November 30th, 2018)

In this week’s roundup I do a way-too-early ranking of The 1975’s albums, talk about the next big forum feature I’m working on, go through my usual weekly media diet, and share ten songs I loved this week. The supporter Q&A post can be found here.

Five Things

  • Given that it’s The 1975 release day, I figured I would rank the band’s discography today. We’ve only got three albums, and one just came out, but I’m going to give it a shot anyway.
    • I Like It When You Sleep: This is still my favorite release from the band. It’s the perfect combination of catchy, unique, creative, and ambitious. It contained a large number of my favorite songs from the group and was able to somehow make 17 songs work to perfection. I still don’t think they’ve topped the run from “Ballad of Me and My Brain” through the title track.
    • A Brief Inquiry: I think I can safely put this in the number two spot now. It’s a monumental achievement of a record, but it doesn’t quite get to the same highs as their previous for me. It also has a couple of lows for the band (“Be My Mistake” remains my least favorite song the band’s ever released on an album).
    • The 1975: If you would have told me a few years ago that this band would have surpassed their debut, twice, for me … I would have laughed out loud. It can’t be overstated out good this album was and that they found a way to surpass it is almost hilarious.
    • I’d rank the EPs as Music For Cars, Sex, IV, Facedown. If you pull out the album songs and combine all of these EPs, you basically have a fourth album. I’d still say it’s my least favorite, as a whole, compared to the rest of their work. Still, you can see what they were building from in these EPs, and there’s some incredible stuff here. I still don’t think I’ve ever seen something quite like experiencing “Head.Cars.Bending” live.
    • DH00278: For a live album, this is quite good. I don’t really listen to many live albums, and I usually find myself wanting to hear the studio recordings, but this works well to bring the band’s first two albums together and give you a snapshot of those years.
    • Conclusion: This band is stupid good. This three-run stretch puts them in some rarified air for me. Not many bands have put together three albums with this level of consistency and ambition, and done it without losing me a little. It’s also rare for a band to shift and mold along with my shifting musical taste at the same time. We’re now talking about some of my favorite bands, of all time, when we talk about three-run stretches like this. And yet this band feels like they’re just getting started. We have more music coming from them within the next twelve months. That’s fucking nuts.
  • I fixed up a few bugs this week. As I wrote about a little in the supporter forum, the next big project I am tackling on the website is an “Ignore Threads” feature. It’s going to take a while to build out, and it’s going to lead to some re-thinking of a few things on the website and how they all work together, but I think it’s the most needed new feature on my list, so it got moved to the top. Making some of these changes will also set the stage for some other new features to be brought to the forums at a later time; so it’s worth thinking it all out and doing this now in a way that makes sense instead of just shoehorning it in. I have the basics put together, but the implementation is going to take a while. I hope to finish by the end of December, but we’ll see how that works with the holidays and get-togethers and losing time in some of these weeks.
  • Drew reviewed the new album from The 1975 and it’s definitely worth giving a read. I also put together a roundup of interviews/articles about the band that should keep you busy reading about this band all weekend. I’m throwing around the idea of doing a podcast with Hannah about the album. I think that may be the best medium for me to get my thoughts out about it. That’ll all depend on how much extra time I can find.
  • I really like this Mac app called Sip. It’s a color picker/color palette collector. It sits on the side of the screen, and you can save colors you frequently use in it. So, I have the Chorus color palette saved, for example. I find this very useful when doing work in Pixelmator or Sketch (and even for CSS). Saving color selection history and having an excellent color picker quickly accessible works well in my workflow. I don’t run the app all the time, but having it available in specific apps is excellent.
  • I started playing around with Procreate on the iPad Pro. It’s incredible. I don’t have an Apple Pencil yet, but this app alone made me want to buy one immediately. (I’m holding out to see if I get one for Christmas.)

Music Thoughts

  • Unsurprisingly, The 1975 have been the album that’s dominated most of my listening over the past week. It’s the kind of record that I get obsessed with and want to learn every single note and nuance, and it’s the kind of thing I want to experience and dive into before I talk about it more. It’s been pretty incredible to see the critical reception this time around; it feels like everyone’s finally getting it. I’ve seen quite a few bands go from nothing to massive. From Blink, to Yellowcard, to MCR, to FOB, to Panic, to Fun, to Paramore … and for a while, I was coming to terms with my taste and the mainstream world diverging enough that I wouldn’t see something like that happen again to a band I was following/writing about. So, it’s a little surreal to watch this, and I’m kind of loving every minute. Even the hyperbole in some of the threads is fun to read. I like that we can still get carried away with music. I love that there’s still some connective tissue that can pull a large group of us together around one band and a collection of songs. That’s the entire idea behind this website to begin with, so when it happens, it’ll always bring a smile to my face.
  • I’ve heard five songs off of the new Japanese House album and damn are they good. Next year is already putting together a substantial collection of, and we’re not even done with this one yet. I love “You Seemed So Happy” and “Everybody Hates Me” on first listen.
  • I spent some time going through albums from earlier this year this week because I am going to have to figure out my end of the year list at some point. Damn, do I still really like that Fall Out Boy album. It’s just good.
  • My love for that The Night Game record is still very strong as well. It’s not as grandiose of an album as the new one from The 1975, but for all the reasons I wrote about in my review, it hit me so squarely in the nostalgia spot this year.
  • The new AFI EP is good. I like three out of the five tracks.
  • I tried to give the new Bohnes album a listen, but I didn’t make it through. I just wanted to get back to The 1975, and it just wasn’t grabbing me. I’ll give it another shot in the next few days.
  • Copeland’s new album is called Blushing. It’s 11 songs, 49 minutes, and incredible. “Strange Flower” and “On Your Worst Day” are two all timers from the band.
  • I’m getting close to breaking out the holiday music. I think The Maine’s holiday EP is going to be the first thing I play. I’m waiting for December 1st before getting into the holiday music spirit. You know who has some underrated Holiday jams? Hanson.

Entertainment Thoughts

  • We re-watched Forgetting Sarah Marshall this week and I was pleasantly surprised at how well that movie held up. I also couldn’t get over how some of the music in the film feels a little to close to some of the music we’ve actually been getting over the past few years.
  • The Christmas Chronicles on Netflix is basically exactly what I expected it to be. But, for what it was, it’s a heartwarming movie that is both silly and enduring. We enjoyed it.
  • We got in a sci-fi mood and watched a movie called Kill Command. It’s not great by any means, but it wasn’t bad either. It’s a decent low budget sci-fi movie about cyborgs and robots hunting humans. It was just the right length to keep from being too much.
  • The Predator was better than I expected while also not being good. I had heard it was a mess, and it is, but it’s also somewhat self-aware at how much of a mess it is. It misses more than it hits, but at the same time … I didn’t hate it. At some point, I’m going to have to go back and re-watch the first movie again. (I don’t think I can force myself to watch the AvP movies though, there’s not enough booze in the world for those.)
  • After doing all the Harry Potter movies during the fall, we’ve moved on to tackle the Lord of the Rings films. It’s taken us three days to get through Fellowship. They’re Hannah’s favorite movies/books, and I’m impressed by how much they hold up, but we only could make it half-way before realizing we needed a little break. I was worried after hating The Hobbit that my dislike for those would paint these movies in a worse light; however, so far that hasn’t happened. I’m excited to finish these throughout the next month.
  • We gave the first episode of The Final Table a watch on Netflix, and it looks right in the “relax at the end of the night” realm. Fun premise and I like that we’ll get to know the characters, who are legit good cooks, throughout the show. I expect we’ll come back to this again very soon.
  • We are caught up on Superstore, so now we’re going back to the first two seasons Hannah didn’t see. This show should be more popular. It’s funny and has heart. I’m still watching Supergirl at night when I want something on and to play around on the iPad.

Random and Personal Stuff

  • For her birthday, my mother wants me to digitize a bunch of cassette tapes she has of my sister and me from when we were kids. A lot of them are just us singing songs or being weird. I bought one cassette to USB device on Amazon, and it was a piece of shit. It would disconnect every couple of minutes. So, I’m going to have to try another option. My mom has the weirdest requests for presents. I am getting a kick out of listening to some of the tapes though. My sister does an entire “Hit Me Baby One More Time” routine, where she is trying out different breathy vocal techniques. And there’s like a 5 minute piano song that sounds like I’m crying through the entire thing. And, I have a higher pitched voice at six than my sister does. It’s hilariously embarrassing.
  • Weight maintenance has remained consistent. We made it through Thanksgiving, and I’m sitting exactly where I want to be right now. It’s hugely satisfying to see a month long line that remains steady in my health app. I will take that. I’ve even started to feel more relaxed around the exact calories I’m eating each day, knowing it’s going to be okay if I’m close to what I want to be. Still weighing myself frequently to make sure things stay as they have been. I worked too hard and for too long to fuck it up. And keeping a little lower range during the week and allowing more during Friday/Saturday has worked well for me. I look forward to having something bigger/special when the weekend comes. (I have my eye on Thai food and some kind of crackers for tonight.)

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. Fall Out Boy – The Last of the Real Ones
  2. Phoebe Bridgers – Christmas Song
  3. Nate Ruess – Moment
  4. The Neighbourhood – Stuck With Me
  5. The Night Game – Die a Little
  6. The Maine – Ho Ho Hopefully
  7. MxPx – December
  8. The 1975 – I Couldn’t Be More In Love
  9. Matt Nathanson – Gimme Your Love
  10. Ryan Adams – It Will Never be the Same

The playlists are also available on Spotify and Apple Music.

I hope everyone has a great weekend and finds a way to stay out of too much trouble. I have a little more work to finish up, and then I’m calling it an early weekend. This week I’ll leave you with 15 Things Worth Knowing About Coffee, from The Oatmeal.

Previous editions of this roundup can be found here.