Liner Notes (October 29th, 2023)


We’re back with another newsletter. This week has thoughts on a stacked release week and the usual commentary. As always, there’s a playlist of ten songs worth your time, and this week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

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A Few Things

  • Anyone who’s followed me for any time knows my longtime love for the TV show Friends. It was my comfort show for many years, the show I had every season of on DVD and would put on in the background and watch over and over again. It’s cliche, but it was like having a group of friends to hang out with. It made me happy. I’ve seen the entire show more times than I can count. So seeing the news of Matthew Perry passing has me feeling emotional today; I’m sad. RIP.
  • I enjoyed this piece by Ted Gioia and felt explicitly like this part resonated with me: “This has forced me to develop a number of tools and rules for my writing. For example, I only review albums I genuinely love nowadays. Life is too short to do hit pieces—although those are often very popular with editors and readers. Also, I try to focus my most intense criticisms on organizations, institutions, policies, and attitudes, and avoid direct attacks on individuals.” But the entire thing is full of gems and worth your time.

In Case You Missed It

Music Thoughts

  • It looks like Blink-182 will have the number-one album in the country on next week’s charts. I’m obviously very happy for the band. The late push to add two new songs to the album and the signing event seems to have put them over the edge. Of the new two new songs, I like “See You” and am pretty impartial on “Cut Me Off.” I’m still, clearly, playing the hell out of the new album and don’t see myself stopping anytime soon. If Blink wasn’t already running away with the top spot on my profile, them releasing a new album while Jimmy Eat World didn’t this year, is causing some dramatic separation.
  • This week saw the release of several albums I’ve written about that are finally available to everyone. The new Taking Back Sunday album is shockingly good. I had written off the band after not liking the past two or three albums outside of one or two songs, but this album has blown me away. Highly recommended. And then we also have The Gaslight Anthem’s comeback album getting a release, and I’ve been happy with all the positive comments I’ve seen from fans in our community. It’s become one of my most-played albums this fall, and it feels perfect for this weather—an incredible late-afternoon album.
  • Crime and Stereo’s new album is also worth a look and could be a late contender for album of the year lists—super solid rock album with great lyrical moments.
  • Sigrid released her new EP, The Hype, and it continues her streak of releasing songs that I just flat-out enjoy listening to. Great pop music.
  • Last week saw the release of A Story Told’s Mundane Magic, and if you’re looking for a really solid guitar pop album, this should be on your radar to check out. Catchy, really great vocals and a super fun listen.
  • The monster release this week was Taylor Swift’s 1989 (Taylor’s Version), and I’ve listened through once so far. The original version is one of my most played from Taylor, so I was excited to hear the new renditions and the vault tracks. I’ve seen comments ranging from “it sounds identical and reconstructed with the wisdom of time” to “it sounds awful and is so different and demonstrably worse.” My take is dull in comparison. I like the vault tracks; I’ll return to them. The main album sounds good but feels a bit plastic in comparison to the original’s unbridled energy.
  • KC Rae’s (Now, Now) new album comes out in two weeks. The 128 kbps advance on SoundCloud is not a great way to experience the album, but I’m such a fan that I’ve been suffering through it anyway. The album, in many ways, is a lot like the slower, moodier songs from Now, Now’s Saved. And given that Saved is one of my favorite albums of the past five years, this is perfectly alright with me. At only nine tracks, it goes by fast, but it will sit in rotation for the next few months. It works very well with this crisp autumn air.

The Stats: Over the past week, I listened to 30 different artists, 36 different albums and 352 different tracks (524 scrobbles). You can follow me on Apple Music and/or

Entertainment Thoughts

  • The past few weeks, we’ve been cranking through all the Halloween-themed movies and TV shows we’d saved up over the past year. Not a lot of it has stood out to me, but plenty has been passable spooky fun. The second season of Chucky was, as a whole, fun. A couple storylines that could have been left on the cutting room floor. Besides revisiting some classics (Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street), there has been a horror/scary movie we’ve watched yet that I’ve truly loved though. Most of them have been in the “that was ok” bin. It’s not rewatchable, but it’s not worth turning off. We have some more to crank through over the next few days, so I am still holding out hope I’ll find at least one more to add to the regular October rotation.

Random and Personal Stuff

  • Well, 2023 seems to be bulldozing its way to the end. We’ve got Halloween this week, my wedding anniversary the next, and then we go through the Thanksgiving and Christmas gauntlet, and before we know it, it’s 2024. My goal for the next two months is to be present during this holiday season. It’s my favorite time of the year, and I always feel like it goes by, and then suddenly it’s gone. It’s also usually a quieter time in the music world. I plan to write these newsletters each week when I have something to say or something new to write about. Still, if the past few years are any indication, I’ll probably miss a few here and there for various reasons (personal/family commitments, not a lot to write about, etc.). I’ll tell you one thing: I’m not ready to think about end-of-the-year lists yet. I have a lot of stuff I need to make sure I check out and spend some time within the next few months.

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. Blink-182 – Anthem Part 3
  2. Taking Back Sunday – Keep Going
  3. Crime in Stereo – Superyacht Ecopark
  4. The Early November – About Me
  5. Sigird – The Hype
  6. Taylor Swift – Suburban Legends
  7. Boys Like Girls – Miracle
  8. A Story Told – Heaven Doesn’t Care
  9. Like Roses – Easy
  10. Taking Back Sunday – I Am the Only One Who Knows You

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 artofjosephshelton in the “blink-182” thread.

Previous editions of Liner Notes can be found here.

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