Welp, we made through another week.
In this week’s newsletter, I look at my relationship with pop-punk in 2019, share some recommendations for ’80s sounding and/or inspired music, and give some thoughts on the new Carly Rae Jepsen album and other music released this week. Then I go through my usual media diet rundown of movies and tv shows I watched, and share ten songs that I enjoyed. This week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.
The past few weeks have found me listening to a lot of early 2000s pop-punk again. It started with The Starting Line discography run, and then Blink–182, and then some New Found Glory. There’s something about the summer, specifically, that makes me crave that sound, but I think I was also a little curious to see if I had completely outgrown it. I don’t find myself drawn to the more modern takes on the genre and with all the new music coming out all the time I don’t often go back to the albums from my high-school and college years throughout the week. So, a part of me wondered if I’d throw on Sticks and Stones and realize I’d ultimately moved on from this genre, even the staple bands from my youth. Instead, I found myself singing along and reminiscing about where I was in my life the first time I heard these songs. Buying NFG’s self-titled album at the mall and realizing this was the shape of pop-punk to come, listening to Sticks and Stones in college and finding out I was being cheated on and finding solace in my headphones. These specific (and often not great) memories are tied to these albums and yet listening to the songs now bring with it an almost comforting feeling. There’s a way to look back and say, “Oh shit, remember that? Well, things did get better.” I may not find the same feeling or inspiration in newer pop-punk, but there’s something about the genre that still feels intrinsically in my bones. From “Head on Collision” to “Best of Me” to “Story of a Lonely Guy” — this genre will always be a part of me and find a way to take me back, lift me up, and put a smile on my face.
I get asked pretty frequently for recommendations of bands that have that ’80s vibe, so here’s a quick list of groups that I think are worth checking out if you are into that sound: The 1975, The Night Game, LANY, The Midnight, La Bouquet, Bad Suns, Bleachers, Sigrid, Dagny, Fickle Friends, Now Now, LAYNE, Magic Man, Mainland, MUNA, Pale Waves, Ralph, Great Good Ok Fine, Victors, Arizona, Joan, Nightly, Thrillchaser, and Hotel Apache. There are others, but these seem to be the ones I come back to the most. I still visit that Night Game album from last year and find something new to love every time. (And the music clips in the studio on Instagram have me eagerly anticipating whatever they do next.)
I ripped the audio of the Butch Walker and Andrew McMahon acoustic performance of “Paper Rain” if anyone wants it. I left the talking in, but you can set it to start playing at the :47 mark to skip all of that.
I decided to clean out my personal and the Chorus.fm Instagram pages this week. I unfollowed a bunch of stuff to clean up my feeds, and I’ve decided to start using them both a little more in the future. So, feel free to give those a follow if you’d like. I post mostly beer, music, and cat stuff on my personal one, and I’ve been trying to share more music related stuff and site promotional stuff on the Chorus one. It’s hard because I can’t get the Chorus one verified so I can’t do the thing where you share links, but, I think if we can get 10k followers, then that feature gets unlocked. The goal is to post more concert photos on the Chorus one going forward as well.
If you haven’t checked out our merch shop yet, now’s a great time to load up on t-shirts and tank-tops for summer.
In Case You Missed It
This week’s newsletter is sponsored by Craig’s Brother. The band recently released their new EP, Devils in the Details, and you can grab that on all digital platforms or at their webstore. Recommended for fans of that old-school style pop-punk sound like MxPx, Inspection 12, and Dogwood. Check out “Follow Your Heart” to get a taste.
Today sees the release of the new Carly Rae Jepsen album. I’ve been listening to it all week and trying to work out my thoughts on it. It’s both immediately likable and yet not as gratifying as her previous masterpiece, EMOTION, and I think it’s within that space I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking. It’s hard not to compare a new album to the previous, especially if the previous hit you in a new and unexpected way. In some ways, I compare this to the latest album from The Maine. Both of these new releases are undeniably good, but there’s an interesting expectations game you have to play with yourself to reset, recalibrate, and let your listens not be dictated by what you thought you may get, or wanted, or thought you’d feel. And then after centering yourself around listening without that baggage, you need to make sure you’re not closing yourself off to legitimate criticism as well. It’s a tightrope walk when expectations are this high.
There are some great songs on this album, some of my early favorites are “Want You in My Room,” “Too Much,” “Real Love,” and “Everything He Needs.” But as a whole, some of the songs blend for me, and I feel lost in the sequencing – dancing for sure, but without a sense of place in the album. The album has a breezy feel, almost disco in areas, and it’s this lightness through the songs that I find incredibly appealing. I will be listening to this all summer. (It’s also given me an even more significant appreciation of the debut album from Sigrid earlier this year. That album came out of nowhere for me and has solidified itself as my favorite pop album of the year so far.)
I like the new Good Riddance song. Like Bad Religion, they’ve found a way to keep their core sound intact while also sounding fresh.
I had a damn impressed first listen of the new Alex Lahey album, The Best of Luck Club. It’s walking between indie/alternative pop-rock with an almost Nashville vibe at parts. The songwriting is great, and she’s got this way of turning a phrase that speaks to me. I will be keeping this in rotation for the next week and seeing how it grows on me.
I haven’t been able to spin the new album from The National yet. This band feels so distinctly fall and/or winter for me that I’m going to need to wait until a cold-ish spring/summer night to spin this and be in the right mood for it. All the praise for it has me excited to listen, but I know I need to set myself up for it or I’ll be disappointed. I was never able to get into their last album, and I think a big part of it was how I was never in the mood for that specific sound when it came out, so I just kind of … forgot about it.
This new Nightly song “Twenty Something” caught my ear this week. Silky synth vibes.
I know a lot of people are really into this Grayscale band, but the new song didn’t do much for me. It’s not bad, it’s got a little bit of a ’90s throwback feel to it, but it wasn’t something that grabbed me and made me think their new album was something I needed to hear as soon as possible.
I felt slightly vindicated by Mark Hoppus’s appearance on the Blink–155 podcast. What he said about “Blame it on My Youth” echoed a lot of what I wrote about last week in this newsletter, and I was happy to see how he, and the band, are taking the reaction to their new music. I remain excited to see what the final album sounds like, and as soon as I know it’s done, I’ll be calling in all the favors I can to hear it early.
I plan to give the new Interpol EP, Springsteen song, and Worlds Greatest Dad EP all a listen when I’m done here.
I watched Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles earlier this week and was pleasantly surprised. This is absolutely as ridiculous as it sounds, but it was also extremely entertaining and fun, and I’d recommend it to anyone that likes Batman and/or the Ninja Turtles. The action scenes were well done, the story was absurd but well executed, and I had a smile on my face like I was watching Saturday morning cartoons in my pajamas.
Hannah had never seen Field of Dreams, so we decided to watch that on Wednesday. The movie holds up, and while I was worried it would feel slow, it moves surprisingly fast. I relate to this movie in a variety of ways, but the big one is the sports connection I have with my dad. The language of the game, that bond and back and forth, and having sports as a central connective tissue in a relationship, it all still resonates with me.
We finished the second season of The OA and holy fucking shit. This show is insane in all of the best ways possible. I’m glad I avoided knowing anything about this season because it dropped my jaw multiple times. If you like weird (and be ready for some bizarre shit) sci-fi shows, do yourself a favor and give this a shot. The first season was good, but the payoff in the second season elevated it to a whole new level for me. After this, I hope people keep throwing money at Brit Marling to do cool stuff. If this doesn’t get a third season, after that cliffhanger, I’m going to throw the world’s biggest fit.
We were looking for a new show to watch that was light, fun, but interesting. We’ve been doing a whole lot of dark and gritty and need something to counter all that out for a little while. I heard about this show, The Bold Type, on some podcast and decided to give a few episodes a try. We’ve only watched the first five episodes so far, but I’m completely in. The premise is three young friends that work at a fashion magazine in New York and are exploring their early twenties. The mix between the obvious Sex in the City parallels while also tackling some very modern topics, combined with three characters I instantly liked, has me excited to see where this goes. It’s touching, yet fun. An excellent antidote to the real world at the end of the day.
Since Hannah has been working most nights the past few weeks playing in the orchestra, I needed something to watch that she probably wouldn’t be all that interested in. I gave The Society on Netflix a shot, and it had just enough of a hook to pull me through the season. It’s like Lord of the Flies meets The Leftovers, but not as good as either. It tackles a few interesting topics, but I think it handled them a little clumsier than I wanted, and it’s not nearly as clever as it thinks it is. But, I was interested enough to not give up on it, and I’d watch a second season of it. Now, I’m deciding between watching more Supergirl, giving The 100 another chance (I abandoned it around season three but have heard it got good again, and The Society kind of has me interested in that sort of story again), or finally doing season three of Young Justice. I’ll have to see what I’m feeling later tonight and make the call.
Quick thoughts on the rumor/maybe announcement that Robert Pattinson will be playing Batman in the upcoming The Batman movie: I’m in on this. If you haven’t been following his career lately I could understand some trepidation, but he was fantastic in Good Time and High Life, and his acting skills are way higher than what people that only know him from Twilight think. I also trust Matt Reeves as a director, so I’m optimistic about this movie and like this casting way more than it seems the internet does in general. I’m shocked, shocked I tell you, that the internet has a negative and loud reaction to a comic book movie announcement.
Random and Personal Stuff
Hannah is gone for a friend’s bachelorette party this weekend, so I have the place to myself. I’ve found that I have horrible self-control when Hannah is gone and I turn into a food goblin just blowing way past our calorie goals. I need to try and be good for the next few days because we have engagement photos next week, but it’s way harder when you feel no shame having another slice of pizza at midnight while you’re watching some ridiculous TV show. As long as I can stay within my three-pound goal weight range I’ll be just fine … he tells himself as he contemplates what snacks to get later tonight.
Like many of you, I’ve found the news around the country this week horrifying. The draconian abortion bans in places like Alabama fill me with sadness and anger on an entirely new level. I’ve donated to the YellowHammerFund and the ACLU. I’d also like to say to all that can get pregnant: we see you, and so many of us are willing to stand up and fight for you. Men: we need to use our voices and visibility, it’s just not right that we ask women to constantly have to share their stories just to be seen as human beings. This tweet from Amy about sums it up: “Oh hey yay it’s that time again for women to open up all their wounds and secrets to persuade you that we are humans deserving of basic rights.”
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.
Alex Lahey - I Don’t Get Invited to Parties Anymore
Nightly - Twenty Something
New Found Glory - Doubt Full
Anti-Flag - American Attraction
Carly Rae Jepsen - Want You in My Room
Simple Creatures - How to Live
Aaron West - Wildflower Honey
Joan - Drive All Night
The Night Game - It’s The End Of the World…
Against the Current - Almost Forgot
I hope everyone has a great weekend!
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Previous editions of this roundup can be found here.