Liner Notes (May 22nd, 2021)


Hello, weekend!

This week’s newsletter looks at the new album from Olivia Rodrigo and why I think it has such massive potential and crossover appeal to all generations of music fans. Then I share some thoughts on the new Twenty One Pilots and a re-found love of skate punk. Of course, there are also some thoughts on entertainment and a playlist of ten songs I loved this week. This week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

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A Few Things

  • It’s a nice Saturday morning, and I’m sitting on the couch with the iPad watching a baseball game with a latte. Not much to complain about when that’s your Saturday, to be honest. Next weekend will be the two-week mark for my vaccine, and it lines up with basically all of our friends’ second shots as well. We’ve planned a little backyard BBQ, and I am feeling a little emotional. The idea of being able to hang out with friends again, without worry, being able to go inside together if we want, for the first time in over 18 months, is a lot. I wonder how long it will take for my brain to get used to that again? I know I’m still not ready to go out to eat, and I know things won’t feel “normal” for a while, but it’s these little things along the way that I’m going to savor.
  • I see a bunch of reviews are starting to come in for the new Apple TV remote (as well as the iPad Pro, and iMac), and boy am I excited. I can’t believe that a remote is the thing I am most looking forward to getting in a while, but we watch 100% of TV on the Apple TV. The only thing we use the TV for that’s not the Apple TV is the Switch. So the remote upgrade is going to make a massive difference in the daily routine. I’m still waiting to see what the more significant computer upgrades are before deciding what to do with the computer. A lot will depend on if Apple announces a new stand-alone monitor. If they do, it puts laptops in play again, but if they don’t, I’ll be wanting a replacement for my 5K iMac. It’s the first generation, and it’s been my favorite desktop computer of all time, but it’s getting long in the tooth, and the image retention is pretty frustrating. I’m hoping for some of those announcements in the near future.

In Case You Missed It

Music Thoughts

  • The big album this week, the one that it seems everyone is talking about, to the point where even the memes are taking over, is the new Olivia Rodrigo album. This thing is a monster. The first time I heard it, all I could think about was, “holy shit, this is going to be massive.” It’s a songwriting tour de force of emotion. An album that wears its influences well, and those influences seem to match right up with a bunch of artists we all grew up listening to. But then it puts just enough of a modern spin on it to sound fresh and made for a new generation. From the “we all woulda put it on our away message” lyrics of “Traitor.” To the pop-punk underpinnings of “Good 4 U,” to the heart-way-on-the-sleeveness of so many of these tracks, it’s an album that is perfectly poised to grab multiple generations of listeners. I’ll appeal to those experiencing their first heartbreak, to those that remember crying to Dashboard Confessional albums. This finds itself right in that sweet spot. And, I expect it to be one of the biggest albums of the year.
  • I’ve never really understood Twenty One Pilots. I mean, I understood the appeal, and I understood why people loved the band, but I had written them off as just not being for me. And yet, I find myself shockingly into the new album. It’s fun. It almost has a little Fun. to it in places. And it feels perfectly poised to be a great summer album. The missteps are any of the attempted “rapping” parts, but beyond that, this is very much in my wheelhouse.
  • I know. I know. Look, I KNOW. I should not like this Waterparks album. The lead singer is one of the most annoying posters in a world where I’ve seen all types of annoying posters. And yet, ugh, I … can’t believe I am actually enjoying this Waterparks album. I find some of the musical choices baffling, but it’s because of those choices that I find myself drawn to it. It’s so layered, so intentional in every way, and it moves between pop and pop-punk with fluidity with some of the most “I can’t believe these are real lyrics” I’ve heard in a long time. (And this from a band that once threw AbsolutePunk under the bus in a song.) I dunno, I would like to hate this, but I don’t. And I’ve now written it down for the world to see.
  • If you’ve been reading the past few weeks, you know I’ve been in a big skate punk mood the past month or so. That Chaser album is a real great entry into the genre, and it has put me on a kick of all my old favorites. However, this week we have another new album in the space, and it’s from the Czech band Krang, and it’s called Make Arcade Great Again. I’m very into it on first listen. This just feels like the music of my teenage years. Like Millencolin and Useless ID mixed with a little Lagwagon and No Use for a Name. This shit just makes me happy on a summer day. It makes me wanna put on my Vans, grab a Surge, and go ride my bike on the trails around the neighborhood.
  • The new Green Day song is a nice little return to form. Much better than anything on their last album.
  • I’ve only had time to listen to the new Counting Crows release once so far, and it’s of their usual quality. Just a remarkably consistent band.
  • Next up, I plan to finally check out that new Voodoo Glow Skulls album, and then spend some more time with the new Fiddlehead.

Entertainment Thoughts

  • As part of Hannah’s job, she had to help put on a concert last night, so she didn’t get home until a little later in the evening. We were looking for something silly to watch and landed on Into the Beat on Netflix. It was pretty paint by numbers for this kind of movie. You read the description, you know what it’s going to be. But, for what it is, it was kinda funny.
  • One more episode left in season three of The Bureau. It’s been an intense and very good season.
  • Not sure what we have next on our list, but there are quite a few things in our queue we are looking forward to checking out. Cruel Summer, Girls5Eva, and Hacks all have my eye as potential fun summer watches. Also, season three of Elite is coming soon and that’s an instant watch the moment it drops.

Random and Personal Stuff

  • Not a whole lot for this section this week. I just ordered a sandwich from Break Bread for lunch, and the Yankees are up 6-0 in the bottom of the sixth. Once again, it’s tough to complain about anything at all on a day like today. I’m trying to just enjoy it and not take moments like this for granted.

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. Olivia Rodrigo – Good 4 U
  2. Krang – Time is Ticking
  3. Voodoo Glow Skulls – Generation Genocide
  4. Twenty One Pilots – Formidable
  5. Girlfriends – Congratulations
  6. Krang – Tin Tin
  7. Olivia Rodrigo – Traitor
  8. Waterparks – Numb
  9. Green Day – Pollyanna
  10. Counting Crows – Angel of 14th Street

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 sophos34 in the “Accountability in Music” thread.

Is this the first time the same post has been the most liked post two weeks in a row? I think it might be.

Previous editions of Liner Notes can be found here.

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