Liner Notes (April 26th, 2019)

Blink-182 - Enema

Lots to write about this week.

In this week’s newsletter, I write about spending the week listening to Blink-182 and revisiting some of the interviews and articles from the early 2000s with the band. I explore how this band defined my entire personality as a teenager and young adult and how, even with all the fun memories, that probably wasn’t super healthy. Then I write about the new Taylor Swift song, and that turns into a rant about feeling left out when I have a “medium take” on a topic and how I dislike when motives get ascribed to an artist we can’t possibly know. Then there’s my weekly musical and entertainment diet rundown and a playlist of ten songs I loved this week. The supporter Q&A post can be found here.

Two Things

  • Just a friendly reminder that we have merch! If you haven’t checked out our new shop yet, you should. We’ve got t-shirts, hoodies, stickers, baseball t-shirts, tanks, mugs, pillows, and all kinds of cool stuff. And it’s all in the Chorus logo and the old school logo. I’ve loved seeing all the photos from people that have already received their stuff; it looks so damn good.
  • Next week I’ll be deciding my next big project on the website … I’m leaning toward working on a post/thread bookmarking feature in the forums for supporters. I have a few bugs I need to fix up as well, but I don’t think those are long projects.

In Case You Missed It

Music Thoughts

  • Earlier this week I decided to give a listen to Blink-182’s discography again. It’s summer, and summer feels like Blink-182 weather to me. For some reason, I was also on a nostalgia kick and was thinking back to being in high-school when Blink-182 was my entire identity. That band and their music were who, and what, I thought I should be. The jokes, the clothes, the style, all of it spoke to me as an identity, a personality, that seemed fun, carefree, and different (yet relatively safe) compared to what everyone else around me was listening to or trying to be. And I ate it all up. During my music kick this week (which is always fun to go back through) I also looked up a few of the news articles and interviews from around the 1999-2001 era of Blink, and they were wild. They’re obscenely offensive in so many ways. Transphobia, ableism, sexism, all to a point where you read it now, and your jaw hits the floor. This was the kind of stuff I was consuming and, as I said, basing my entire idea of who I was as a person, around. It’s pretty appalling. We’ve come a long way as a music scene and as a society, but I can’t help and think back on those younger years and searching for something that made me feel ok in my skin, and finding these three “immature” bratty dudes playing music that I was drawn to as I searched for any way to make it through each day. When you’re a teenager, you hear the term “impressionable teen” and think, “that’s not me! I think for myself!” but as I sit here now at 36, I see exactly what that phrase means. Even with that realization, the memories are, for the most part (minus the heartbreak), very positive. The late nights being stupid with friends or jumping around the house listening to “Dumpweed” at full volume are some of the best times of my youth. And Blink was there for all of it.
  • Last night when the new Taylor Swift video came out I put it on the TV after an episode of Mr. Mercedes I was watching with Hannah. First, I can’t get over how big Brendon Urie has gotten. He’s a legit superstar now going toe-to-toe with the biggest name in pop music. That’s incredible, and I am so happy for him. As for the song itself … it’s pretty good. I was talking to Hannah last night about how I don’t know what to do in this world of screaming fast hot takes. I look on Twitter and see “embarrassingly bad” or “wait people actually like this?” and I feel weird when my take is a simple, “it’s good, it’s not great, it’s not awful, I’ll see how I feel in a few weeks of listening to it.” My just medium takes aren’t polarizing. They’re tepid. But that’s how I feel. What that usually leads to is me defending a song I find only being “ok” from all of the hot-fire takes because they seem so grossly over the top. You combine this with my least favorite thing in music or art criticism: ascribing motive on an artist, and it frustrates me. I hate words like “genuine” or “inspired” or “authentic” being thrown around as though any of us have any idea what the artist felt while making a song. Even if what they wanted to do was make people smile and dance, that can come from a very inspired and genuine place. Do I think the song’s as creative of a pop song as others I’ve heard this year? Nope. Do I think it’s a disaster? Nope. In a get everything out and have an opinion now world, I feel myself constantly rebelling against that mindset. Wanting to wait. Wanting to develop my feelings and thoughts. Sitting in the medium take zone while everyone screams around me. It’s a weird place to be on the internet these days; I feel out of my element.
  • I listened to that new Lizzo album multiple times this week and enjoyed it. She is exceptionally talented.
  • The debut album from La Bouquet came out today and if you like bands like Bad Suns or LANY this should be right up your alley. It’s more of a “groove in your feelings” kind of album versus dancing around the house, but my first impressions were positive. I’d heard quite a few of the songs before so it felt a little disjointed to me, but that’s why I don’t like to overplay singles before an album comes out.
  • Another band I found during my “In the Spotlight” research is Origami Angel. They’re a quirky little emo-rock duo that I originally checked out because I liked their song titles. I know, it’s weird, but when a song is titled “ROM Hack” I am just drawn to it. The band has a clever way of mixing their catchy melodies with cool guitar parts and lyrics that range from dealing with depression, growing up, love, and Pokémon.
  • The new Sum 41 single is fantastic. It got me to go back and spin some of their discography this week as well. Beside Screaming Bloody Murder, which I still think sucks, they’ve got an awe-inspiring collection of songs. The lead single kind of reminds me of “Still Waiting” and “We’re All to Blame” with its messaging, and I’d love to see a full album like this. (Too bad it’s on Hopeless Records, so I have virtually no shot at an advance.)
  • The first album from The Damned Things is one of those albums that got shit on when it came out but I defended, and I will die on that hill. It’s a fun as hell rock album. I never thought we’d get another one and yet … their new one came out today! It’s also a whole lot of fun. I’m a sucker for riffy guitar rock and Keith Buckley singing. There’s no way I won’t be playing the hell out of this at the gym this summer.
  • Not on Tour’s new album, Growing Pains, came out this week as well and if you’re looking for fast, and awesome, punk music this should be on your list.
  • I never got around to listening to World’s Greatest Dad’s album last year, so I spun that one evening this week and found it enjoyable. I mean, it’s full of very depressing lyrics, but the music and sound were enjoyable. This isn’t my kind of music these days, but for anyone looking for this kind of emo-rock I could see this being very popular. My early twenties would have eaten this up.
  • I’ve got the new album from The Get Up Kids and Ten Foot Pole to listen to this weekend.

Entertainment Thoughts

  • The best entertainment of the week was Damian Lillard’s game winning, series-winning shot for the Portland Trail Blazers. (If you want to watch a whole bunch of people freak out and scream, this video is for you.) It’s the kind of thing you can’t believe you just saw happen. The type of moment that legends are made of. The shot. The wave. It’s one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen in basketball. I can’t explain how much Lillard means to this city and state. There’s maybe like two other basketball players in the country that a city loves like Portland loves Dame. The Blazers are our only major sports franchise and having a player like Lillard is … hard to put into words. Moments like that shot don’t come around often … just … incredible.
  • The Lego Movie Part 2 was nowhere near as good as the first. I didn’t dislike it, but I was somewhat bored. I’ve liked all the other Lego movies and was looking forward to this one, but, it’s the first one I don’t think I’ll ever watch again.
  • We watched Netflix’s The Perfect Date, and it was exactly what I expected. It’s a mishmash of a bunch of movies I’ve seen before, with a likable lead, and it is a totally fine way to spend an evening. It’s not great, but it’s not horrible either, and I’ve always liked movies like Risky Business, hell I even remember liking that Girl Next Door movie. Give me high-school kids trying to figure it all out while navigating friends and relationships and family and I’m usually signing up.
  • I’ve been bingeing Cobra Kai this week and am up to episode five. I grew up with The Karate Kid, and these kind of shows/movies are pretty much made for me, and I eat it up. I like the way, so far, this show tackles the idea of good and evil. The original show made it black and white (literally in the costume choices at the end), but the TV show handles it with more nuance, and I appreciate that. You never fully agree with any of the characters’ choices, and that feels very real to me. I dunno, I’m enjoying the hell out of it.
  • We’re about halfway through Mr. Mercedes season two and oh boy. It’s taken the slight supernatural turn that we knew was coming and it’s made it almost even more addictive because I have no idea how they’re going to figure it all out. (It’s still super fucking dark and gave me bizarre dreams last night.) Looking forward to finishing this and finding something not dark and bloody for the next watch.
  • I’ve been reading Thrawn all week, and I like it. I think I’m about halfway through now. Well written, good characters, good plot, and seeing everything from within the Empire’s world is a lot of fun. It’s weird to find yourself cheering for Thrawn in some of these scenarios, but I think that’s the sign of a well-written book. Excited to read more later.
  • I doubt I’ll see Endgame in theaters. There’s only a handful of movies I need to make sure I see right away because I care about spoilers (at this point: Nolan movies and Star Wars movies are kind of it), and the Marvel movies aren’t on that list for me. I like them fine, but seeing a spoiler won’t bother me and I hate going to theaters with a shit ton of people these days. I’m getting older, and I realize I no longer have FOMO for most of this stuff. I don’t mind not being able to talk about (or argue about) a movie the weekend it came out. I’ll see it when I see it and enjoy it or not, and all of the build-up and excessiveness is … I don’t know the word for it, but … it feels too much to me at times. It’s such a ramp up to THE BIGGEST THING EVER, and then it’s over, and by the time I finally am seeing THE BIGGEST THING EVER everyone else is already on to THE BIGGEST THING EVER (REALLY THIS TIME) PART TWO. I guess I feel like I want to take everything at my own pace these days. With so much coming at us it can feel so overwhelming to be up to date on this and be doing that and make sure you’ve seen this and that and heard this and read that and have an opinion on both before you see this. And I think my brain is rebelling against all of it and saying “no.” It’s unconsciously putting up a filter and begging me to slow down and enjoy the things I consume. Don’t worry about missing out on getting takes into the world. Don’t worry about missing out on what everyone else is talking about right this second. It’ll be ok and taking the time to enjoy and digest things at your own pace is ok. Maybe this is what they call “middle age brain” or something, but I think part of it is spending the last 20 years of my life feeling like I could never take a moment to breathe and relax a little and it’s all catching up to me now.

Random and Personal Stuff

  • Happily back down to my goal weight this week so being good all week worked out as planned. We are celebrating Hannah being done with some of her college teaching jobs for the summer tonight by going out for sushi. I’m very excited.
  • For some reason my skin decided to freak out this week for no discernible reason. I changed nothing about my skincare routine, and it flipped me the middle finger anyway. Nothing like being in your mid-thirties and having a breakout that makes you think you’re about to be late for a fucking algebra quiz.

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. Sum 41 – Out For Blood
  2. Craig Finn – Magic Marker
  3. The Damned Things – Omen
  4. Origami Angel – ROM Hack
  5. Not on Tour – Fantasy World
  6. Blink-182 – Every Time I Look For You
  7. World’s Greatest Dad – Laughing (While You’re Smiling)
  8. Taylor Swift – ME!
  9. La Bouquet – Pity Party
  10. Better Oblivion Community Center – Little Trouble

The playlists are also available on Spotify and Apple Music.

I hope everyone has a beautiful weekend. Thank you for reading and supporting my writing and this website.

Previous editions of this roundup can be found here.