Liner Notes (March 20th, 2020)


Well, this is going to be a week I think I remember for a long time. This week’s newsletter looks at the weirdness of the past week, includes a variety of articles I found interesting and helpful, and then has some thoughts on music and entertainment I consumed while doing the whole “stay inside” thing. There’s also a playlist of ten songs I enjoyed this week, and this week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

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Five Things

  • For the time being, I expect the top of this newsletter to be pretty focused on the current state of the world and dealing with the new realities that are facing us. I’m going to try and keep track of the best and most informative things I read throughout the week and share them here as well. This week was a very strange one. Wednesday was my birthday, and, damn, I’m feeling old. I turned 37, and it’s the first birthday in a while that really made me feel the age. In a “yeah, I’m not in my twenties anymore” kind of way. In a “yeah, you’re actually an adult” kind of way. Couple that with everything else going on, and I’ve got a good feeling this will be a birthday I remember for quite a while. We planned a little FaceTime meet-up with some of our friends and just sat around chatting and having a few drinks for an hour. That was definitely the best part of my night, and I highly recommend it. It helped everything feel a little more normal, even for just an hour. We made a store run yesterday to try and stock up on everything we’ll need for a couple more weeks, and we plan to continue to stay bunkered down for the foreseeable future. I foresee a lot of pasta in the future. I’m certain I’m going to gain quarantine weight and workouts all week sucked. I never thought I’d be the “I miss the gym” guy, but I miss the gym. The most interesting, or informative, things I read this week include:
    • This slidedeck by a doctor outlining everything we know about the virus. I found it very informative and helpful.
    • This Twitter thread talking about the virus and food and why takeout/delivery is still safe for consumption.
    • This Medium post about what we should, and could, be doing in the short and medium-term to help get this shit all under control.
    • A kid friendly explanation about how handwashing with soap works.
    • Kurzgesagt’s video about Coronavirus and what you should do was excellent.
    • Ed Yong’s piece in the Atlantic about what we know about the virus so far.
    • More about the virus and how even if it’s airborne, that doesn’t mean we’re doomed.
  • I found out yesterday that a Facebook friend passed away from the Coronavirus. I knew Jeff because of his love for music and the fact that we went to the same college, just three years apart. He was a huge fan of the music that we wrote about on AbsolutePunk, and he was active in the music scene. However, the thing that broke me was when I clicked the little “show friendship” thing on Facebook and saw the multiple years in a row that he had written something nice on my wall for my birthday. I read a wonderful note from his college roommate on Facebook, and it hit me extremely hard. My heart goes out to his friends and family during this extremely trying time.
  • I ripped Hayley Williams acoustic version of “Leave it Alone” if anyone would like that for their collection.
  • I continued my work on the redesign of the Chorus homepage this week, and it’s coming along nicely. I’m a big fan of how easily everything transitions from desktop to mobile now and quite a few of the other little feature additions I’m putting in. I’ve put basically all of my efforts into this throughout the day because letting my mind work on these kinds of problems have been just about the only thing I can do to keep myself from succumbing to anxiety. The past few days have been working on the big “category” pages, like the Features page that shows all of the various features on the website. I’m trying to highlight the more recent features in bigger ways instead of it just being a list of text, and I think it’s coming along well. My big battle this week was with infinite scroll and our browse album review page. I won the war.
  • Lastly, with all the weirdness in the world right now and the uncertainty of the future and the ad market, I’ve got to plug our shop and our membership program. March is usually a time where ad sales start to pick up, but with the state of the economy, that doesn’t look like it’s happening. So, if you’re not a supporting member yet, now’s a great time to become one because this is going to be a really weird year. And a huge thank you to everyone that is currently a supporting member, you all are literally the people making me feel somewhat secure about the future. Thank you.

In Case You Missed It

Music Thoughts

  • I listened to the new The Weeknd album this morning while posting news and there’s quite a bit I like here. I’ll give this a few more spins. A few songs had melodies that reminded me of some of the 2000’s emo scene, and that was not something I was expecting.
  • Next up on my list is to check out this new Kelsea Ballerini album.
  • Alkaline Trio released a three song EP this week. I enjoyed “Minds Like Minefields,” but the other two didn’t do a whole lot for me. Probably just not in the mood for this kind of thing right now, so I’ll have to make a mental note to come back to it in the future.
  • I’ve seen lots of love for the new All Time Low song, and the best part is, I don’t even think it’s in the top third of the album for me. This album, along with Lauv, continues to be my mainstays over the past few weeks. They’re the ones I keep turning to and actively want to listen to during the day.
  • I think Hayley Williams just keeps knocking these new songs out of the park. I’m now in the “only listen once” phase with the latest tracks, however, because I want to hear the album as a whole and don’t want to overplay any of the singles.

Entertainment Thoughts

  • We finished The Outsider on HBO, and by and large, I thought it was a pretty decent version of the book. If I’d never read the book, I think I would have liked more, but knowing the story, and seeing the changes made, it’s hard to separate the two. I’m glad we watched it.
  • I think that Ford v Ferrari would have made a great mini-series. As a movie, however, it was way too long, and we got bored in the middle and had to turn it off to finish over two nights. It felt like something I would have liked to see a few episodes of or something, but I couldn’t find myself getting into it at all.
  • I am not sure why this was even on our radar to watch but, The Night Clerk, wasn’t very good.
  • I got to choose what to watch this week because it was my birthday, so I picked Star Trek: Picard, and I’m delighted I did because it’s been great and a helpful distraction this week. It’s pretty telling that I had the most recent Star Wars as a possibility to watch again, and I decided to go with this instead. I’m just not excited to return to it, and that makes me sad.
  • I am over halfway through The Stand and have been trying to make it a habit to read for at least an hour every day after I finish work.

Random and Personal Stuff

  • Not much here this week. Hannah got me a really cool looking art of Into the Spider-Verse book that I’m excited to dive into. My favorite social distancing snack so far has been those Halos oranges.
  • Damn, I mean, things are just really weird right now. Even putting together this newsletter just feels … strange … to me this week. Everything feels off, a little skewed, and I hope we can all find a way back to normal soon. I hope everyone is staying safe out there. I know that times like these can be tough. If there’s anything I can do to help, please let me know.

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. All Time Low – Getaway Green
  2. Kelsea Ballerini – The Other Girl
  3. The Wrecks – Out of Style
  4. Hayley Williams – Roses/Lotus/Violet/Iris
  5. The Weeknd – Hardest to Love
  6. Caitlyn Smith – Put Me Back Together
  7. The Bombpops – Sad to Me
  8. Lauv – Lonely Eyes
  9. Shoffy – Tricky
  10. Maya Hawk – By Myself

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 iCarly Rae Jepsen in the “General Politics Discussion VII” thread.

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Previous editions of Liner Notes can be found here.