Liner Notes

Childish Gambino – Awaken My Love

★★★★★

  1. Me and Your Mama: 👍🏻
  2. Have Some Love: 👍🏻
  3. Boogieman: 👍🏻
  4. Zombies: 👍🏻
  5. Riot: 🤷‍♂️
  6. Redbone: 👍🏻
  7. California: 👎🏻
  8. Terrified: 🤷‍♂️
  9. Baby Boy: 👍🏻
  10. The Night Me and Your Mama Met: 👍🏻
  11. Stand Tall: 👎🏻

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CT's TV CV

Atlanta

Show: Atlanta

Verdict: Amazing

How much I’ve seen: Season 1 (everything to date)

You should watch it if you like: Louie, Better Things, Master of None

Where you can stream it: You can’t, unfortunately. At least not as far as I know. FX is really restrictive with its original series, which is a real shame. But this show is so good it’s worth finding a way to watch it even though it isn’t convenient.

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CT's TV CV

The Man in the High Castle

Show: The Man in the High Castle

Verdict: Amazing

How much I’ve seen: Two Seasons (everything to date)

You should watch it if you like: period dramas, I guess? This is a hard one. It’s nothing like Mad Men or Downton Abbey, but those are the only shows I can really think to compare it to. It does also kind of remind me of the flashback bits in X-Files episodes when The Cigarette Smoking Man was … I don’t know, The Cigarette Smoking Younger Man? I guess just jump to the break and keep reading if you like the sound of the premise.

Where you can stream it: It’s an Amazon Prime exclusive, so Amazon.

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Liner Notes

Ronald Jenkees – Disorganized Fun

★★★

  1. Disorganized Fun: 👍🏻
  2. Fifteen Fifty: 👍🏻
  3. Guitar Sound: 🤷‍♂️
  4. Synth One: 👎🏻
  5. Throwing Fire: 👍🏻
  6. Minimal MC: 🤷‍♂️
  7. Stay Crunchy: 👍🏻
  8. Inverted Mean: 👎🏻
  9. Outer Space: 👎🏻
  10. Let’s Ride (Rap): 👎🏻
  11. It’s Gettin Rowdy (Rap): 👎🏻

I kind of wonder if three stars is one too many for this album. I was expecting more of the same for Ronald Jenkees’ second album (I listened to his first Monday), and that’s pretty much what I got. I honestly don’t know if the mixing improved over his last effort or if it was just not nearly as god awful as Ed Sheeran’s. It sounded better, but by comparison with what? It definitely wasn’t ever good, but often it also wasn’t bad which is something I wasn’t expecting. I’m sure if there are any readers and they are not audiophiles these complaints will seem trivial. I’d respond with this: at one point the mixing on Fifteen Fifty sounded so off that I honestly wondered if my headphones were broken. The low ended sounded like it could have been that the wiring in them was starting to fray inside the cable.

It occurred to me while listening to this album that his songs are sort of an exercise in hope; hoping that the song ends before it shifts to something worse. Most of his songs start out fairly catchy, but they have a tendency to shift dramatically. Outer Space for instance starts out very spacey but then all of a sudden there’s a harpsichord.

I’ve been trying to actively listen to these albums, which is to say pay attention to them while I’m listening to them, and not just tune them out and focus on other things. I found myself failing to do that today. Doing so I realized that his music is better when you aren’t giving it your full attention. When my brother recommended these albums to me, he specifically said that he would listen to this while he was working on homework when he was in school. I totally get that. I think I would enjoy this music (if I can tune out the bad mixing) while I was coding. This project is all about discovering or rediscovering music, and knowing what I can listen to when I need to focus on work is definitely a win. I often listen to instrumental jazz when programming, because I don’t like lyrics to distract me. Now I’ll have something else to reach for if I need a change of pace. I’d call that a win.

Liner Notes

Ed Sheeran – +

  1. The A Team: 👍🏻
  2. Drunk: 👎🏻
  3. U.N.I.: 👎🏻
  4. Grade 8: 👎🏻
  5. Wake Me Up: 👎🏻
  6. Small Bump: 🤷‍♂️
  7. This: 🤷‍♂️
  8. The City: 👎🏻
  9. Lego House: 👎🏻
  10. You Need Me, I Don’t Need You: 👎🏻
  11. Kiss Me: 👎🏻
  12. Give Me Love: 👎🏻
  13. The Parting Glass (hidden track): 🤷‍♂️

I’ve never heard an Ed Sheeran song before today so I didn’t really know what to expect. Not in a million lifetimes, though, would I have guessed that the first song on his first album would be about a literal crack whore. I made the mistake of getting my hopes up after enjoying the first track. It was all down hill from there.

I think it’s unfair to say that my favorite part of this album is that it’s finite and it eventually ended. So instead I’ll say my favorite part was the silence between the end of the last track and the start of the bonus track.

Tangent: it seems super weird to me that bonus tracks are still a thing. No one makes 8+ minute long pop songs. They were weird to begin with, but at least before digital music you didn’t find it unless you just kept listening to the silence at the end of a tape or CD. Further tangent: did records have hidden tracks? If so, were they in a separate literal track? EG did you have to physically move the needle to another cut in the vinyl to hear it?

Given that this is Pop music, I was basically expecting the not-very-good music and the vapid and/or boring lyrics. I was also expecting the mixing to be bad. But boy howdy was the mixing awful. Like burn the studio to the ground and fire all the staff and start over awful. It started out worse than I was expecting and just kept getting worse. Every time I thought “it couldn’t possibly get any worse” and then it got worse. By the time we get to Give Me Love, the “last” track, the bass sounds less like a drum or even a synthesized drum and more like a bad recording of a bag of wet cement being dropped on the ground. I don’t know how people can tolerate how bad this sounds.

Up until today, I thought Waiting on the World to Change was the worst Pop song I’d ever heard.

It’s not that we don’t care; it’s that we know that the fight ain’t fair. So we keep waiting on the world to change.

In other words, “It was hard so we quit until someone else fixes our problems.” I thought that was as bad as it could get. But then I heard Wake Me Up; a song about a broken DVD player and not owning Blu-ray and something about VHS. Followed by getting beaten at video games and throwing the controller. Oh and also something about loving Shrek and watching it 12 times. WTF.

Liner Notes

Chris Stapleton – Traveller

★★★

  1. Traveller: 👍🏻
  2. Fire Away: 👍🏻
  3. Tennessee Whiskey: 🤷‍♂️
  4. Parachute: 👍🏻
  5. Whiskey and You: 👍🏻
  6. Nobody to Blame: 👎🏻
  7. More of You: 👎🏻
  8. When the Stars Come Out: 👎🏻
  9. Daddy Doesn’t Pray Anymore: 🤷‍♂️
  10. Might as Well Get Stoned: 🤷‍♂️
  11. Was It 26: 👍🏻
  12. The Devil Named Music: 🤷‍♂️
  13. Outlaw State of Mind: 👍🏻
  14. Sometimes I Cry: 👍🏻

There was a long span of time where I hated Country music. Then there was a shorter span where I thought I hated new Country music after giving the likes of Johnny Cash a good long listen. Then I realized that what I really hate is pop music, and the Country music I was thinking of is just Pop music for Republicans. I’ve always liked Southern Rock (Lynyrd Skynyrd, etc), so I’m not sure why, but post Pop-Country revelation, I never sought out any Country worth listening to. If it sounds less Toby Keith and more Chris Stapleton, I’ll have to seek out more of it.

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this album, although it ventured too far into factory fresh Shania Twain nonsense in the middle, I enjoyed the beginning and final thirds more than I would have guessed. I was particularly pleased by how much it felt like I was listening to Bob Seger more than Garth Brooks.

One thing absolutely threw me for a loop, and that was Daddy Doesn’t Pray Anymore. I spent the whole track (and most of the next one) trying to figure out why that song sounded so familiar. It turns out, even though I’d never heard of Chris Stapleton I’d somehow heard Tennessee Whiskey and Outlaw State of Mind before. But this was something else. Best I can figure, Daddy Doesn’t Pray Anymore sounds, to me, way too much like some other song, in a Robin Thicke / Marvin Gaye kind of way.

I’m pretty sure the song I was thinking of is Tom Waits’ I Hope That I Don’t Fall In Love With You, but after listening to them both again, now I’m no so sure.

Decide for yourself:

Liner Notes, Uncategorized

Ronald Jenkees – Ronald Jenkees

★★

  1. Derty: 🤷‍♂️
  2. Neptune: 👎🏻
  3. Canon In D Remix: 🤷‍♂️
  4. Clutter: 👎🏻
  5. Super-Fun: 🤷‍♂️
  6. The Rock Song Remixed: 🤷‍♂️
  7. Snap: 👎🏻
  8. The Sunfish Song: 👍🏻
  9. Loui: 🤷‍♂️
  10. Gold Spinners: 👍🏻
  11. Remix to a Remix: 🤷‍♂️
  12. Almost Undamaged: 🤷‍♂️
  13. 56K (Rap): 👎🏻
  14. Ain’t No Thang: 👎🏻

Remember when I was talking about how I don’t like a lot of hip-hop, rap, or pop music because they don’t use real drums and/or their synth drums don’t sound like real drums? Ronald Jenkees’ self-titled album is chock full of exactly the kind of thing I was talking about. That and his bad mixing made this album really hard for me to enjoy.

In my notes on the very first track, I wrote “Sounds like the music that plays during the credits of a Jason Statham movie.” That rang true for the whole album. Not that there’s necessarily anything wrong with that. If it hadn’t been for the bad mixing and the fake-sounding drums, I think I might have liked quite a few of these songs.

Starting with Clutter, a lot of these tracks were just way too busy. I had a hard time keeping up with everything that was going on. Given that this guy is a self-produced YouTuber, I should give him some credit. His YouTube videos show him playing all this stuff on the fly, which makes him more talented than the EDM folks who stand on stage in weird costumes while their pre-populated playlists run their course.

In all, I think this dude could really benefit from three things:

  1. A real drummer
  2. An engineer to mix his tracks
  3. Some Antoine de Saint-Exupery:

    Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.