Friday Thoughts (September 21st, 2018)

Another week is in the books. The weather continues to get colder out here on the west coast, but it’s once again reminded me just how much I love this time of the year. Everything feels refreshing and beautiful.

This week’s roundup has my ranking of Blink-182’s discography, some first thoughts on the new EP from William Ryan Key, my usual weekly media diet of music, movies, and TV shows, and a playlist of ten songs I loved this week. The Q&A post can be found here for supporters.

Three Things

  • I did a re-listen to the entire Blink-182 catalog this week. I went into it wanting to see what held up for me with the band, what didn’t, and see how I felt about California and the deluxe edition after some passing of time. I’d say my ranking goes:
    • Untitled: It just holds up as a great album. I think it gets a little too much credit for being “innovative” or “mature,” but I do think it’s a great album that sets the band above their peers for the ambition mixed with hooks. That hook in “Feeling This” remains one of the best in years.
    • Dude Ranch: Call it nostalgia, but I love this album. It’s fast, bratty, pop-punk done to perfection. I love virtually every song on this album and there’s a reason it’s probably the most played album in my entire collection.
    • Take Off Your Pants and Jacket: Held up surprisingly better than I expected. I figured I’d have Enema here, but on my re-listen, this was the one I found myself enjoying even more.
    • Enema: It remains a classic of the genre, even if there’s some things I don’t think work as well as they do on their other albums.
    • California: This album reminds me of the summer of 2016. I’m surprised by how quick the songs came back to me and how much I enjoyed listening to them. It’s a good album that I’ll continue to defend. I’m glad it exists and glad this version of Blink-182 exists.
    • Mark, Tom, Travis Show: The best they’ve ever sounded live. I can quote the banter verbatim.
    • Cheshire Cat: Some real classics of my youth here. It sounds dated and like a band searching for what they want to be, but at the same time, I remember when this and Dude Ranch were all I had from Blink to listen to, over, and over again.
    • Deluxe California: I like enough of these songs to put it here, even if quite a few still don’t grab me. It’s a nice little companion piece to California. It really puts in my mind where I hope they go on the next album though.
    • Dogs Eating Dogs: I find I’ve come back to this EP the least amount of times out of all the band’s albums.
    • Neighborhoods: While there’s some great stuff on here in places, this album just doesn’t work for me as a whole. Which is a bummer, because it’s the one Blink-182 album where my name is in the “thank you” credits. Yes, I’m that self-obsessed. I still think “After Midnight” is a fucking smash of a song. I didn’t dislike the album as much as I thought I would, but it’s still too Tom heavy.
    • Buddah: Only place to put it is here.
    • Conclusion: Blink-182 have a really solid discography. Every single album contains songs I love and that’s true even for the albums I consider to be lower on my list.
  • Adam reviewed the new Good Charlotte album and I’d say I agree with his assessment. It’s a really solid album from the band. I don’t think it’ll end up on any top list of mine, but I enjoy it.
  • iOS 12 is a great update. I’ve been really impressed with it. It may not have “headlining” new features, but it’s incredibly fast, reliable, and the new stuff it does have work really well. Highly recommend everyone update their devices. On that note, the new version of Drafts now lets me post to WordPress, which is incredibly useful for posting from my phone or iPad without the convoluted steps I was using before. There’s still no workflow on either device that lets me do what I do as fast as I do it on the Mac, but it’s at least possible in ways that weren’t before. Drafts’ custom keyboard and TextExpander support really go a long way to bridging that gap.

Music Thoughts

  • The new EP from William Ryan Key is quite good. It opens with an instrumental track, but the next five are a real step up from what he showed on the debut. (Which I also liked.) He expands the sound while keeping a similar feel to the songs. This shows itself the most on the standout “Virtue” — which is just a fantastic track. It’s a captivating song that captures such a familiar feeling to me. I’ve felt these words in my bones. The way it builds into the end is something special. I also really like “The Bowery” and the closer. I think we’re lucky he’s still making music. I’d feel like we lost something if his voice and what he brings to the music world went away.
  • I got really into the new album from The Wombats over the past week. It’s a fun album that kinda reminds me of what Nightmare of You could have turned into (not many bands had the potential they did to be great after that debut, shit, now I’m sad thinking about what could have been). It’s kind of the last vestige of quirky pop-rock from my summer listening all coming out in this album.
  • Everyone was right, that Noname record is very good.
  • The new album from St. Lucia got one spin and I was … bored. I really liked their last two but this is not grabbing me right now. Going to have to try again a little later. I didn’t expect to be so disinterested.
  • I continue to find something new to love in that Ruston Kelly album each week.
  • I don’t enjoy the new Say Anything single at all. Stuff over the past year has really soured me on that band and maybe that’s manifesting here. But, yeah, I am not into this.
  • I somehow missed the instrumental Aaron Sprinkle release, Escaping Light, but am super glad I found it. It’s been great background music for working this week.
  • Good vibes from my first listen of the new Brockhampton album. I like that they ventured into the more pop-realm in places on this one. It suits them well and I think I’ll come back to this quite a bit over the next few months.
  • Enjoyed my first listen of The Candecents new EP. It’s catchy pop-rock. Good potential here.
  • This is an unpopular opinion … and this band should be one I fall in love with … but I’ve never really been into Joyce Manor. They’re fine, I like the idea of the band, but the music’s never done it for me. I have tried so many times. I gave the new album one listen and I had a positive reaction to most of the songs, but not in a way that I felt the need to go back to it. It hasn’t changed my mind that this band just may not be for me. That’s weird, because on paper they absolutely should. Oh well. I do really like that “Silly Games” song though.
  • The Midnight released their new album, Kids, and it’s like the extreme version of the 80’s synth rock wave right now. I, unsurprisingly, like it. It’s like SURVIVE with pop vocals. This is going to get quite a few plays from me and we’ll see if it ends up getting elevated to something more than just a pleasurable listen over the next few weeks. The issue I have is that I always feel like the songs are about to go up a notch, or take off, and they never really do. It makes for a nice listen but I’m always left wanting something more from them. “Lost Boy” is a standout.
  • My dad really loves the new Josh Groban album. I haven’t listened yet but if it gets a pass from that super-fan it’s probably Groban-good.
  • Allie X continues to impress. The new single’s great.
  • I really like both of the Lana Del Rey songs.
  • The new Minus the Bear song is right in line with what I’ve always loved most from the band.
  • The Story So Far do not make music I want to listen to.
  • I still need to listen to that new Metric album.
  • I really like that new Pop Etc. single. Damn, now I think I need to go spin all their new songs again.
  • Damn, what a crazy week for new music.

Entertainment Thoughts

  • I was really into Hearts Beat Loud. I’m a sucker for music movies already, but Nick Offerman running a record shop and making music with his (insanely talented) movie daughter is going to get me every time. Ended up being a really enjoyable, feel good, movie.
  • I haven’t been able to get Unsane out of my head. I’ve always liked Soderbergh, and this film felt very Hitchcock. It was claustrophobic, genuinely creepy, and it’s stuck with me all week. Hannah and I are going to start our annual tradition of watching more “scary” movies over the next few weeks leading into Halloween. We’ve saved Hereditary for the big day itself and it looks like Mandy is next up on our list.
  • We re-watched The Simpsons Movie to get Unsane out of our brains. Holds up.
  • After watching Jack Ryan we were in the mood for more “assassin movies” and I remembered The Jackal from the late 90’s. It wears its year of release on its sleeve, but it was a passable watch.
  • I don’t remember what led us to watching Bachelorette on Netflix one night. But that’s a thing we did.
  • We’ve had How I Live Now in Plex for a very long time. I think I downloaded it when Lady Bird came out and I wanted to see more from Saoirse Ronan. Uh. This movie … I don’t know what this movie was going for. Cousin sex is the central theme and it’s really hard to get invested in a love story based around cousins doing it. We didn’t turn it off, but we got close.
  • Natalie Portman gives a great performance in Jackie, but I found the movie itself boring and tedious. Not worth a watch.
  • The second season of American Vandal is fantastic. I loved the first and this one met my already high expectations. It’s funny and yet surprisingly dark and poignant in theme. Hannah and I found ourselves coming up with theories and discussing the mystery like we would if this was real. The characters are compelling and I really just can’t say enough good things about the show. Highly recommend both seasons.
  • With the new season of Doctor Who coming up, Hannah and I have decided to get back into it. We fell off with the previous Doctor after having been obsessed with this show at the beginning of our relationship. There’s a few things I’d consider a really big part of who we are and what brought us together as a couple, and this show is absolutely one of them. Some of my first memories together are eating Thai food, drinking cold beer, and watching Doctor Who together on the couch. We’re going to start with Season 8 and get caught up to watch the new stuff. We’ve discovered we don’t mind being “behind” and watching at our own pace. We’ve avoided spoilers for everything we haven’t seen so far, so I’m not too worried about it. We watched a couple episodes over the past few days and I’m excited. I really missed this show and just the feeling of happiness it brings to me. It’s just fun; I need that right now.
  • I am very behind in my reading of 11/22/63. Shit. I need to try and read more this weekend.
  • I’m still mad about how much I hated Jurassic World 2. (I know I wrote about it last week, but I needed to say “fuck that movie” one more time.)

Random and Personal Stuff

  • I’m down exactly 23 lbs now. I need a new belt. Hannah hit her goal weight (down 15 lbs) this morning as well. We’re both feeling very good about this and are going to celebrate tonight. Maintenance, muscle toning, and getting rid of this last little part of a beer belly is my future now. Feeling good about my arms in a way I never have before. Building some good muscle and I like the way they look in t-shirts. Actually liking my body … this feeling … this feeling is new.
  • Hannah bought a wedding dress yesterday. It went from a “we’re just going to go look at stuff to get an idea” to “I put this one on and everyone started crying and I started crying, so we just knew.” So, the first official wedding purchase has been made. That happened fast. The more we talk about things the more we are leaning toward a fall wedding. We love fall and everyone has summer weddings. We like the idea of knowing from the start it’ll all be inside, not worrying about the weather or it being too hot, and giving us more time to plan and find exactly what we want. Next up is venue hunting. We’ll probably be doing research on that tomorrow.
  • Finally fixed that Instagram bug that was happening on the forums. I still don’t know why sometimes Instagram embeds would just not load, but I tweaked my code to check if the height is too small and reset it after 5 seconds. That was an obnoxious bug.
  • Almost done with my consulting project, maybe 10 more hours at the most, so I’ll be glad to get that over with and back to working on this site a little more.
  • I thought this article was the best thing I read this week (still not through that one about The 1975 though), even if the comment section here really bummed me out about it. Felt like either some people didn’t understand the entire point of the article, or they were ignoring it and deciding empathy isn’t a thing they wanted to have.
  • I finally updated my main computer to High Sierra. I’d been putting it off because of bugs I heard about and because I really hate that you can’t hide the “Notification Center” icon in the upper right corner of the screen. (Yes, it makes me that mad.) Between that and this weird font rendering bug that shows up a few places I’m wishing I waited. Oh well. Hopefully Mojave fixes those issues and doesn’t create too many new ones.

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. The Wombats – Turn
  2. The Night Game – It’s the End of the World…
  3. The Midnight – Lost Boy
  4. Noname – Blaxploitation
  5. The Neighbourhood – Softcore
  6. Joyce Manor – Silly Games
  7. Blink-182 – After Midnight
  8. Ruston Kelly – Mockingbird
  9. William Ryan Key – The Bowery
  10. Aaron Sprinkle – Getting Warmer

The playlists are also available on Spotify and Apple Music.

I hope everyone has as wonderful weekend and can stay out of trouble. My weekend looks like a lot of errands and getting to some of these annoying things that have been hanging around on my to do list. Plus, lots of hanging with Hannah and probably Doctor Who, beer, and pizza. And with that, I leave you with a quote from Steve Jobs:

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.