What a week. This week’s newsletter has me looking at music and entertainment released over the past two weeks. I finally get to dive into some of the Apple TV+ and Disney+ shows, plus give some updates on living the first week of married life. There’s also a playlist of ten songs I enjoyed this week, and this week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.
I am writing to you while trying to get used to typing with a wedding band on my finger. It feels weird but in that perfect kind of way. For those not following the newsletter for long, last Saturday, I got married. And it was perfect. From a wonderful rehearsal dinner the night before full of laughs and great speeches, to an extremely fun morning hanging out with my grooms-people, to the wedding itself: it was magical. There were very few hiccups throughout the process, and the ones we did face barely registered as issues. For me, the highlight was the wedding ceremony itself. It’s a moment I’ll never forget. The decorations in the library were exquisite. Candles, flowers, books, everything lit to perfection. The music was incredible, kicked off by a string quartet and dual opera singers, mixing renditions of “I Will Follow You Into the Dark” between classic Brahms. I was, predictably, a wreck trying to get through my vows, but even there, I found the ability to make it through. (Pro Tip: Try not to look over at the bridesmaids all crying if you want to avoid getting even more choked up in the middle.) From the florist to the officiant, to our family and friends, to the food, to the music, all my expectations for what the day could be were exceeded and surpassed. The entire day flew by, and I can’t way to relive the memories in photographs and videos in the future, but it was everything I could have hoped for and more. And now, I’m just excited to get to spend the rest of my life with Hannah.
We had a videographer, so I’ll have good recordings of the music from the ceremony at some point. I plan to share clips from that as well, so you’ll get to hear the full rendition of “All the Small Things” bringing down the house when the ceremony concluded.
We won’t have photos back for probably a couple months, and I obviously plan to share some of those on social media when we do. I’m reasonably certain the wait for photos is going to actually kill me. I have a few selfies and candid shots from friends from the day, but I want to see the professional photos very badly.
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I used the app MusicHarbor this morning to check for new releases for things I’d be interested in based on my Apple Music collection, and it appears to have worked very well. It caught multiple things (especially singles) that I would have missed. This is going to find a way into my weekly workflow.
I was more than surprised by how much I liked All Time Low’s new re-working of Nothing Personal. The new versions of the songs don’t stray too far from the originals, but sound fresh under Alex’s improved vocals and minor tweaks. There are a few parts that don’t quite work for me (like the shouted “Lost in Stereo” portion), but as a whole, this is quite good and has been my most listened to album over the past couple of weeks.
The new Neon Trees single “Used to Like” is right in my wheelhouse. I’d love to see another full-length and see where they’d take their sound.
I only listened to Madeon’s new album, Good Faith, once so far, but it’s got that electronic dance vibe I enjoy coding annoying problems to, so I think I’ll be returning to this again shortly.
Origami Angel dropped their new full-length today called Somewhere City. This has been a band I’ve been keeping an eye on for a while, and I’m very impressed upon first listen. They seem to have taken a nice creative jump here, and they make this interesting emo-rock sound in a way that feels fresh.
“Bob Dylan” off of Fall Out Boy’s new greatest hits album is the weaker of the two new tracks, but still a good modern Fall Out Boy song. I listened to this morning and still think it’s a really solid collection of Fall Out Boy songs. I’m of the (minority?) belief that the band has gotten better as time has gone on, and listening back through things like “Alone Together” and “The Last of the Real Ones,” only convinces me more that I’m on the right side of history here.
This new Allie X single, “Regulars,” is very good. I’d love to see an entire album in this vibe.
The new Modest Mouse song feels like it would fit nicely into the middle of an album. As a standalone single, at over six minutes, it feels long and a tad plodding. It’s something I think I’d enjoy more in the context of an entire album.
I’m still very into the new Anti-Flag and Great Grandpa albums. Two different genres, both quite good.
Since I last wrote about entertainment we’ve seen the release of Disney+ and Apple TV+ and a whole plethora of new shows have dropped, and I’ve consumed quite a bit over the past two weeks. We’ve watched up through episode four of The Morning Show, and while I don’t think this show is great, I don’t think it’s nearly as bad as reviews originally portrayed it. I am not quite sure what the politics or point of view the show is taking quite yet, but I am interested in where it’s going. I want to like some of these characters, but at the same time, I can’t get over an underlying hate for just about all of them. The show seems interested in asking questions about a conversation without wanting to dive into what those questions mean or what the ramifications actually are. Am I supposed to feel sympathetic to the Steve Carell character? Am I supposed to root for Jennifer Aniston? Am I supposed to want to punch Billy Crudup every time he is on the screen? I’m not sure what the show is leading me toward. That said, it’s not a bad launch show for Apple TV+. It’s not must-watch, but it’s more than passible, and it has my interest piqued.
We also watched the entire first season of Dickinson. This show was fascinating. It doesn’t even pretend to be a faithful biography but instead leans into its choices by going all in. Modern music, modern slang, and clear parallels between this time period and our own. The episodes are the perfect length for this kind of show, Hailee Steinfeld is great, and this has been the clear standout of the first run of Apple TV+ shows we’ve watched. We were in almost immediately. I found myself looking forward to the parts in each episode where they’d work in Emily’s poems. I had forgotten just how incredible they were, and it’s got me itching to re-read them.
On the Disney+ side, the first episode of The Mandalorian was awesome. First, it has the highest production value of anything I think I’ve ever seen on TV. It’s jaw-dropping at times. The first episode maybe suffered from a few pacing issues, but it set up a world, had me asking immediate questions, and I am all in to see where this goes. I sat there with a huge smile on my face through almost the entire episode; I can’t wait to watch the second one later tonight.
I don’t understand why no one told me Doom Patrol was so wonderfully weird? I have watched the first nine episodes and, uh, I kinda love it. It’s bizarre as fuck; I almost can’t believe it exists. It may have a few filler episodes, but even those I’ve enjoyed. This take on Cyborg is so far and above what they did in the movie version that it’s almost criminal. I’m intrigued, weirded out, and find myself laughing multiple times through almost every episode. Every DC Universe TV show I’ve now watched, I’ve at least enjoyed. Swamp Thingwasn’t my favorite, but it was still pretty good, and this is up there with Titans for me already.
We’ve watched the first five episodes of the new season of Jack Ryan. Here’s the caveat with this show: I’ve read almost every Tom Clancy novel and know they are pretty ridiculous military propaganda that glamorizes some shit I do not like. They are fictional political worlds that involve a whole lot of bad politics. I also have always found them entertaining as fictional stories about big political conspiracies and characters having to try to figure out big puzzles and politics. The show gives me the same kind of thing even when I know, at my core, so much of it is nonsense. As entertainment, it works for me, as a lens into the world of politics or the military complex, it falls flat.
We are up to episode four of Looking for Alaska, and it’s about to get dark. It’s been a good watch so far that has met my expectations for what I assumed this kind of show would be. It does that well, and as anyone reading this newsletter for any amount of time knows, I like these kinds of “looks into teenage life” shows and movies.
I finished the entire series of Red Oaks and am ready to declare it vastly underrated and under-watched by the general public. It was a terrific show that I found heartwarming, funny, and I cared for the characters by the end. It’s a nicely packaged three seasons with an arc and growth. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I’m not sure I look the hard turn into the supernatural that Nancy Drew seems to be going. The smarts of the original book series came from it not actually being supernatural at the core; I hope they figure out a way to square this in a way that I find satisfactory, but I’m officially worried.
Teen Titans Go! vs. Teen Titans was a relatively fun animated movie, but not nearly as good as Teen Titans Go! To the Movies. I like these cartoons for the distraction they are, and I know I would have eaten them up as a child.
I am behind a little on Watchmen and Titans, but we’ll be back to our regular schedule next week, and I should have time to catch up.
Random and Personal Stuff
This entire week has been one of recovery and relaxation. We spent the week unpacking and opening gifts, reorganizing the entire kitchen, closets, and preparing to start our new life together. We plan to take a honeymoon next year during summer break, but having a week to ourselves, to not plan anything, see anyone, or need to do anything, has been incredible. We’ve just spent the time eating good food, spending time together, and refreshing basically everything. I love all our new kitchen stuff. The complete refresh of dishes and utensils has been incredible. And I am immediately obsessed with our new water carbonator. We have an actual jungle of Amazon boxes we will need to deal with, and I see the “Thank You Card” task staring at me through the weeds, but it’s been a great, great week.
I’ve been feeling behind on things all week, my RSS feeds are filled with unread articles, I have all sorts of reviews and podcasts to get to about the new MacBook Pro, and I should probably just abandon my political and sports podcasts for the week because by the time I listen to them everything will be outdated. I won’t lie though, I have enjoyed the privilege of ignoring (ok, trying very hard to) the news for the past week.
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.
All Time Low - Damned if I Do Ya
Fall Out Boy - Bob Dylan
Madeon - All My Friends
Neon Trees - Used to Like
Lauv - Mean It
Great Grandpa - Bloom
Origami Angel - 24 Hr Drive-Thru
Allie X - Regulars
Ralph - Headphone Season
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - Muller Time
The trending and popular threads in our community this week include:
The most liked post in our forums last week was this one by Jason Tate in the “Q&A and Chat With Jason Tate” thread.
I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend. I’ll be back to a much more “full-time” posting and work scheduled around the website starting on Monday.
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