Blast From the Past: Old AbsolutePunk.net Best of Lists

AbsolutePunk.net

When I re-designed the new website and put together the new “End of the Year” feature page, I added a bunch of old lists from the AbsolutePunk days as well. They’re a lot of fun to read back through and remember the albums, remember the arguments, and see which ones have held up and which ones are hilariously all over the place.

UPDATE • May 28, 2020

Big news: I’ve been able to recreate all of the lists, in the correct order. With a special shoutout to sosplatano in the forums for helping me figure out the holes in 2012.

UPDATE #2 • May 28, 2020

In an incredible turn of events, a reader had saved all of my personal best of lists and has sent them to me. Those have now also been added back into the database.

Introducing Chorus 3.0

Chorus White Logo

I started designing the new version of Chorus.fm before the COVID-19 shit hit the fan. My initial sketches were in the middle of last year, and I began playing around with things in Sketch not long after that. My first commit, for the version I’m calling 3.0 of the website, was on February 19th, 2020. However, it was this last month or so of quarantine where the vast majority of the work got done. With not a whole lot else to do beside buckle down and attempt to turn anxiety about the world into productivity, I put together the new website you’re looking at now.

April of this year was the fourth anniversary of this website, and I’ve been itching to take another run at the design and feel of the website for a while. When I first launched the site, it was my first real foray into the world of WordPress, and it was done on a very tight timeline as I knew I needed to make the transition from AbsolutePunk.net by a specific date. I’ve always been happy with what I put together, but I also knew it was never quite right. This new version of the site is virtually everything I’ve always wanted my website to be and was written from the ground up to fulfill my vision of what a music website or blog should be. My design goals were to keep a similar aesthetic to the current website so that things felt familiar while also focusing on new features, simplicity of use, and an obsession with speed and a great mobile experience. I’m proud of what I came up with, and I’d like to highlight a few of the changes.

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The Fourth Anniversary of Chorus.fm

Chorus.fm

Today marks the official fourth anniversary of launching this website.

Another year, and wow, are we in the middle of some weird shit right now. I just wanted to take a brief moment to thank everyone for visiting this website every single day and, specifically, to everyone that helps support us. With all the uncertainty in the world right now, turning to the one constant I’ve always had, working on this website and listening to good music, has been comforting. I’m currently in the middle of a redesign of the entire homepage, and I hope to have that completed within the next few months. I’ve tried to turn all of this “at home time” into something productive, and I’m excited to share the results with everyone in the near future. I’ve been documenting some of the process in my weekly newsletter.

I hope everyone is staying safe out there.

Some of the stats from the past year:

  • 3,467 new articles posted on the main site. (16,553 total)
  • 530,082 words were published last year. (2,405,320 total)
  • 948,794 new forum posts were made. (3,648,860 total)

Updated Recommendations

Once a year I update a bunch of my recommendation posts around the website to see if new things need to be added to them, this year I’ve made updates to:

Also, I tossed out an ask on Twitter for recommendations of blogs or websites (about any topic) that people recommend reading. I like to ask this every once in a while to refresh what I have in my feeds, so if you have any recommendations of websites I should be checking out and reading, please let me know.

A Simple Streaming Music Sharing Page for Chorus

Share Music

The music streaming service revolution has been one of the biggest, and most exciting, developments to the music and technology world in my lifetime. We went from driving to a store to buy music, often without ever hearing it beforehand, to having countless hours of music in our pockets with virtually no limits to what we could discover and listen to with the mere press of a button.

As someone that runs a music website, and now a weekly newsletter, that often includes recommendations about new music, I’ve long struggled with just how to share those recommendations with the most people. On this website, I often link to the YouTube video in the post itself for instant listening and then will link to Apple Music and Spotify when appropriate (or if the song isn’t on YouTube yet) since those are the two biggest streaming platforms. I like those short URLS that a lot of labels and PR people are using these days that aggregate all of the streaming platforms into one place for easy sharing; however, what I really wanted was something that I had a little more control over. What if I use a service like this and then it goes under, and all my links die? All of a sudden hours of meticulously linking music recommendations on this website or my newsletter could end up having dead links. So, after coming across the excellent Song.Link service and their API, I decided I would be best served in creating something for myself. That way I could easily create a place to share a song or album, and I wouldn’t have to worry about the URL going away in a few years or it not being updated as streaming services come and go.

The end result is a page that includes links to all the big streaming services, as well as a YouTube video for quick streaming if it exists, and links to purchase the music as well. For example:

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The Third Anniversary of Chorus.fm

Today marks the official third anniversary of launching this website.

This year was another great one for the community. There were quite a few new features added to the website, and we saw good growth in pretty much every metric that matters to me. One of my goals for the year was to start writing a whole lot more, and that morphed into a weekly newsletter that is now regularly over 1,500 words a week. I didn’t podcast nearly as much as I wanted to, but the episodes we did release I’m really proud of. My goals for 2019 are to try and figure out a way to make regular podcasting a thing I can do again, continue my weekly Liner Notes, add some new features to the forums that have been on my to-do list for a while now, and start re-thinking what a redesign of the main website could look like and what it would take to write that code and implement it.

I’m able to do these things because of the support of so many of you. I can’t thank those of you have become supporting members of the website enough. That this number, specifically, keeps increasing is why I know I can keep doing this website for another year. It’s because of your support that this website can exist and I can work on it each day. If you’re not a supporting member yet but enjoy visiting and reading, I’d love if you’d think about signing up. We’re getting so very close to this being the only job I have to have, and I’m getting excited thinking about the possibility of diving into a significant code re-write and re-design and not having to worry about needing to stop and take a freelance job in the middle.

I always find it fun to look back on the past year and evaluate everything that has taken place, over the past twelve months we’ve seen:

  • 3,684 new articles posted on the main site. (13,086 total)
  • 1,912,545 words have been published all time.1
  • 802,906 new forum posts were made. (2,700,066 total)
  • 11,381 new registered accounts. (93,338 total)
  • 1,367,965 likes given out since last April.

I just wanted to take a moment to thank everyone that visits this website each day. It’s been an incredible journey from AbsolutePunk.net to Chorus.fm and beyond. I feel extremely lucky that I get to do something I love and care about each day and it’s a true pleasure to be able to talk about music, pop-culture, entertainment, and technology with so many of you.


  1. 1,053,621 written by me.

Site Update: A Few Changes to the Ad System Coming

One of the biggest challenges to running this website has been figuring out a business model that works, and that allows me to sleep well at night. This website is my full-time job, and the income it provides is how I put food on the table. My goal from the start has been to find a way to make this website the only job I have to have.1 Right now I do some consulting work to make up the difference between what the website brings in and what my family needs. The vast majority of the website’s revenue comes from our readers and our supporter system. It’s because of all the people that read this website and visit our forums that it exists.

Over the past two years I’ve played around with a few other ways to bring in additional revenue, the main one being advertising. I set up a self-serve advertising system where anyone could buy display ads on the website, and I priced them way under what most websites charge for the number of impressions they would get. Unfortunately, they never sold as well as I hoped they would. So, it’s time to try something different again.

Read More “Site Update: A Few Changes to the Ad System Coming”


  1. The long-term goal was, and continues to be, to hopefully find a way to expand the website into an entity that could support more than one person.

The Second Anniversary of Chorus.fm

Today marks the second anniversary of Chorus.fm. Sometimes it feels like the world is stuck in slow motion with so much news and chaos surrounding us and the days making the weeks feel like months. But then I also can’t figure out where the last two years went. It feels like it was just yesterday that I was saying goodbye to AbsolutePunk.net, and hoping that some readers would follow me here to Chorus. I want to thank all of you that have been reading the website the past two years. I’m finally coming to the point where I don’t feel like everything I’ve done has been defined by AP.net, and where what I’m doing now, this website, this community, can be something that at the very least fulfills me in a way that AbsolutePunk never really could. It’s like looking at pictures of what you wore in high-school and wanting to yell through time to buy clothes that fit. Chorus.fm feels like it fits me. And every day I feel lucky that it’s something that I get to do. So, thank you, all of you. Especially those that have become supporters and helped make this website everything that it is.

Here’s a run down some of the numbers from the last 12 months:

  • 4,257 new articles posted on the main site. (9,402 total.)
  • 1,420,222 words have been published on Chorus.1
  • 1,002,023 new forum posts. (1,897,160 total.)
  • 47,191 new registered accounts. (81,957 total.)
  • 1,779,477 likes given out since last April.
  • 5,106 private message sent per month (average).

I’ve got a lot of things planned for this year. The goal is to improve the website and try some new things. As always, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter, email, or in the forums with thoughts, ideas, or concerns about the website. And if you like what we’re doing, please give our supporter options a look. If you can swing $3 a month to help us out, it would mean the world to me. It’s with the support of readers like you that we’re able to keep publishing and stay online.


  1. I’m using a new tool to calculate the number of words published this year. It should be more accurate going forward. 730,299 of these words were written by me.

Join the Dark Side: Bringing Dark Mode to the Main Website

Dark Mode

It’s fitting that on release week for Star Wars: The Last Jedi I can bring the Dark Side to the main website. One of my favorite supporter perks in the forum has been Dark Mode — a dark slate colored theme — and I’m excited to be able to bring this color palette to the main website as well. I love our white, grey, and blue color scheme, but at night I almost always switch over to the dark theme while browsing the website on my phone. However, I’d often move over to the main site to read an article and the white contrast would be a rude awakening for my eyes. No more! Supporters can now activate Dark Mode on the main website via their supporter options page or in the forum preferences. If you’re not a supporter yet, join now to get Dark Mode.

I’ve included some screen shots below of what the website and forums look like in Dark Mode, for those curious. I think it maintains my main design goals: simple, clean, and focused on readability, while adding a new flavor to the overall feel of the website.

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Bridging the Forum and the Website’s Supporter Systems

Today I’m excited to announce I’ve completed the work on bridging our community and the main website’s supporter systems. Now, if you’re a supporting member of the forum community you can use your username and password to login on the content side of the website to view supporter only content (like my first impressions), manage your payment options, turn off advertisements site-wide, and soon gain access a special Dark Mode for the main website that matches perfectly with the Dark Mode of the forums.

And don’t forget: you don’t have to be a community member to be a supporter of the website! You can join right now for only $3 a month and help support this website and independent publishing. It’s because of readers like you that I can keep running this website. I can’t thank each and every one of you enough for your support over the past two years.

It’s funny how a project like this, which doesn’t end up having many outward facing changes, can be a massive undertaking behind the scenes. But now that it’s done, the foundation is better set for a bunch of cool things we can do in the future and the system is much more robust for handling payments and login credentials for our growing community.

If you are already a supporter, you don’t have to make any changes if you don’t want to, everything will just keep working as it has been. If you’d like to move away from PayPal and to the new credit card based system, you can do that here. Again, it’s totally optional to make that change if you want.

If anyone has any questions at all, feel free to drop me an email or message me in the forums.

Batch Two and Three of First Impression Blogs

Last week I posted about bringing over my first impression blogs from the forums for supporters of the website. Today I’ve got a some more to share:

Batch Three

Batch Two

Batch One

I’ve got one more group to move over and then I’ll be posting new ones on the main website, in our review database, roughly one day after they first appear live in our supporter forum.

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Bringing First Impressions to the Main Site

For as long as I can remember I’ve been doing some version of “first impression” blogs about music on the internet. It started back on AbsolutePunk.net in my blog as I’ve always loved being able to offer some thoughts on an album without the full pressure of an official “review.” My original idea was a more free flowing and less structured way to comment on music usually after having only heard an album one or two times. Today we’ve got things like our forums and social media to serve as a similar medium for putting together opinions on something without it needing to feel too official. I like that. It’s freeing.

One of the things I’ve been doing for supporters in our supporter forum is these first listen/first impression live blogs for certain albums. The basic idea is the same as always: I listen to an album and I do a little live blogging of my thoughts, impressions, and feelings as I listen to it. It started out as a fun little way to talk about music and once again helped me feel free from some of the pressures of “official” reviews on music. It’s been a lot of fun and it seems like everyone really enjoys reading them. Now, one of the downfalls of using the forum for this is that it’s not as easy to archive and save these pieces for posterity. And they’re behind the community package paywall and therefore unaccessible to patrons of the main website. Today, I’m fixing both of those problems.

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Introducing Chorus 2.0

One of the best parts about running my own website again is that I can work on improvements and changes and roll them out when they’re done instead of waiting for the never ending drudge of bureaucracy. Today I’m excited to bring you a collection of changes, improvements, additions, and new features that I am calling Chorus 2.0. Basically, I’ve spent the past year or so learning about what makes this website work, what doesn’t work, what needs to be improved, and how to better organize the information we push into it each day. And of course, how you, the reader, are using it. I’ve taken what I’ve learned and combined that with an optimization obsession to get this website to load as fast and reliably as possible on virtually any device you view it on. You may not see a lot of outward changes, but there were thousands of lines of code tweaked and changed along the way. I want to quickly go through some of the bigger changes, and introduce you to some of the more headlining features.

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