all posts tagged 'music'

I'm getting rid of my iPhone for a month

originally shared here on

Long time readers of this blog may recall that I've been psyching myself up enough to try switching to the Light Phone.

I’m legit embarrassed to admit just how much I’m addicted to my iPhone.

It happened slowly over the course of the last 15 years. Today, I find myself frequently incapable of putting it down, even when it’s actively making me feel terrible.

The biggest expense of always being virtually connected is never feeling connected to the physical moment happening in front of me.

That wasn’t so much of a problem to me when I was sitting in front of my Compaq desktop in the basement of my parent’s house.

Back in those days, I used to hate being away from my computer. The very first thing I’d do when returning from a family vacation was to jump on the computer and catch up on a week of message board posts.

Here in 2024, though, I don’t subject myself to that experience.

The other day, I was playing a Lego game with my son and while he was explaining an aspect of the game to me, I pulled out my phone and went to turn on music. Mid sentence, he stops and says, “Dad, can you put your phone away? It’s distracting me.”

Oof. That’s not how I want my son to remember me.

I’ve tried all the techniques people say can help limit screen time. Grayscale the screen. Delete apps. Block toxic websites. But because none of those tricks are actually working, it’s time to take more drastic measures.

My plan is to move my phone number onto the Light Phone for a month. Just a month.

I'm going to do this during the month of August. That will give me a couple weeks to prepare for it. I am honestly worried about what I’ll be giving up, and so I'm doing what I can to brace myself for that impact.

I’m mostly excited, really. After more than a decade in the comfortable, walled garden of the Apple ecosystem, I think it will be nice to experiment with new tech tools again.

The Light Phone is designed to be as boring and practical as possible. It can make phone calls, send texts, and give driving directions, among a few other things.

But there are certainly some activities that the Light Phone won’t do very well which I am unwilling to give up. So here are those activities, along with how I'm thinking I'll deal with those activities for the time being:

Taking notes and reminders.

A notepad with a pen. ✅



Sometime in the last couple of decades, I stopped reading books.

I’m not exactly sure why. I used to love reading books when I was a kid. I would go to the library and read every book they had on building websites and computer programs. I’d also read every new edition of Animorphs, Goosebumps, and Harry Potter as soon as my library stocked it.

But beginning in high school, I stopped reading books for fun. Reading felt like a burden, something you were assigned as punishment. I resented reading so much, in fact, that I used to pride myself on not buying books for class in college and finding a way through without them.1

If I read books these days, I almost only read non-fiction, which is fine… but I miss reading for fun.

Earlier this year, I helped my wife proctor some tests at her school. I wasn’t allowed to be on the internet, so I brought a book along that a friend recommended called What You Are Looking For Is In The Library. I burned through it in a day, and it got me interested in reading fiction once again.

I think I wanna try getting into a fiction series. The last series I read was the Left Behind books in high school, so uh, yeah… I’m a bit out of the loop with what’s good out there.

If anyone has recommendations, let me know!

Taking pictures.

I used to be really into cameras when I was really into making clips2. When my oldest was born, we thought it made sense to buy a good SLR, so we picked up a Canon Rebel T6i.

I do still grab it out of storage and bring it along to the occasional soccer game or choir performance, and the shots feel better to me than the ones I get with my iPhone. It helps that I have a decent assortment of lenses, but I think it also speaks to the joy you get from using a tool that was intentionally built to complete a task.

Of course, I can’t realistically carry an SLR with me all the time. I need something more practical.

When I sold cameras at Best Buy3, the camera I recommended the most was the Canon SD800 IS, and it was the camera that documented some of the most fun moments of my life. It was small enough to fit in my pocket alongside my iPod.

Even though it fit, I still didn’t carry it with me every day, which makes the pictures I did take with them feel extra special when I browse through them today.

Maybe having a camera on me all the time is less necessary than I’m worried about. I mean, in a normal day for you, how many situations can you envision where you must take a picture of something and can't flag down someone to take one and send it to you?4

So I’m in the market for a camera that’s small like the SD800 was, but perhaps more professional. I remember seeing someone mention the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III and I thought the silver one looked kinda dope.

It makes me happy to see Canon keeping these devices up to date. The G7 X can shoot 4k video, and it’s got WiFi and USB-C so it’ll be easy to get media off of it. Most importantly, its size means it can stay in the drawer by the door and leap into service at a moment's notice.

But anyway, what about y’all? Anyone else use something besides their phone to take a picture or a video?

Listening to music.

The whole reason I wanted to make this post is because I wanted to brag about my restoration project with my old fifth generation iPod.

But because of course this is what happens when I brag, I’ve been stuck for a few days trying to debug a hardware failure that is proving exceptionally frustrating to resolve. Chef’s kiss.

So instead of bragging about that, I’ll instead confess that I’m one of those sickos who maintains their own library of MP3s.

I’ve always looked at streaming services with squinty eyes. Maybe it’s because I’m still mad at what they did to our beloved Napster. Maybe it’s because I think it’s important to not give complete control of my cultural history to massive corporations5. Maybe it’s because buying an MP3 version of an album from an artist will give them vastly more money than my combined streams would ever account for. Maybe it’s because I am an aging boomer.

Either way, transitioning away from Apple Music will not be too excruciating for me. I’ll still use it because I have HomePods all over my house, but when I’m not home, I want need a way to bring my music with me.

The Light Phone does have some storage and an MP3 player option, but because of the intentional design, you’re limited to a single playlist and 1gb of tunes. That doesn’t work for me, brother.

I’ll keep y’all posted with my progress on the restoration process. I want to get Rockbox installed on it so I can experience what the home brew community is doing with this old hardware.

In the meantime, if anyone knows how to address issues with an iFlash Solo syncing with an M1 Mac mini, holler at your boy.

I’d like to take this opportunity to express how pathetic I feel that I need to take these extreme steps to reclaim some part of me that I feel like I’ve lost ever since going whole ham on the mobile revolution.

I talk at length about the joy that comes with technology, but I should also recognize the negative impact that tech can make.

We went through an era of unfettered growth from Silicon Valley-powered firms who had nearly no supervision and did everything they could to exploit our political and economic systems for their own gain.

And to be clear, their growth did bestow some incredible tools onto us.

But as much as our society derides subgroups like the Luddites and the Amish for their apparent aversion to technology, there is clearly some merit to how they approach technology. You should adopt technology because it’ll help you, not because everyone else is using it.

Every night around 10:30pm, I find myself lying in bed, entering the casino that is my iPhone. Every app is a different section of the game room floor.

My email app is a slot machine, where I hope I’ll hit the big bucks and get an email saying “yay you’re hired!”, but the odds are better that I’ll see an email saying “lol you owe me money still.”

LinkedIn and Reddit are craps tables, where I sometimes roll an 11 and see a post from a friend who had a successful day at work or a post on /r/AskHistorians that teaches me something interesting (like Did President Andrew Garfield ever eat lasagna?). But more often than not, I roll snake eyes and see something which makes me feel like a failure or living in a dumpster fire of a society.

Even my beloved RSS reader app, filled with feeds that I explicitly opted into, can feel like a game of blackjack. Yeah, I often walk away with at least some money, but I still sometimes leave the table feeling unsure why I’m passionate about anything anymore.

I let this happen to myself. And every time I pull my phone out of my pocket during a family dinner, I rob myself of what makes life worth living in the first place.

Like our Silicon Valley overlords like to say, you can’t stop the march of progress. Technology is rapidly improving, and major advances in our collective understanding of the universe are unveiled at an overwhelming pace.

There’s gotta be a way where we can harness the good parts of technology without entirely succumbing to all of its detriments. The first step, I suppose, is defining what I want to get out of life.

And really, it’s pretty simple:

  • Play Legos with my son
  • Sing karaoke with my wife
  • Watch Rocko’s Modern Life with my daughter
  • Make music, work out, and learn new things
  • Be able to visit the doctor when I’m not feeling well without going bankrupt
  • Build something useful for people
  • Not make other people’s existences any worse than they already are

If those are the things that are important to me, then why would I burn precious energy spending time on a device which gives me anxiety attacks on a daily basis?

So yeah, come August, I’m signing off from my iPhone for a bit. It’ll feel good to step out of the casino and focus on building legos, taking walks, shredding on the guitar, singing karaoke, hanging out with friends, and listening to music.

  1. At the time, I was extremely anti-book because the book publishing market is an extreme racket, issuing frequent updates to textbooks with minimal tweaks while commanding insane prices. Today, part of me wishes I read the assigned works for most of my liberal arts classes. Maybe I would’ve picked up more useful facts about the Australopithecus or found useful anecdotes from Cold War geopolitical conflicts. 

  2. This is what we used to call videos before YouTube. We'd record a bunch of segments of a video on someone's dad's camcorder, then use a capture cable to play back the video onto a computer, and then edit it in something like Pinnacle Studio. Wild times, indeed. 

  3. Which seems to be my point of reference for where to look for all of these problems... I worked at Best Buy from 2005 to 2010, so basically, what were the tech solutions we had for these problems before the iPhone came out? And is there anything from the past 15 years that has improved on that tech? 

  4. Maybe this is a hypothesis born out of privilege, but let’s call a spade a spade: this entire article and premise is only possible for someone who is drowning in technology and choosing to reduce his consumption. 

  5. Brennan Lee Mulligan recently had an excellent monologue about this topic, but I don’t have a direct link to it. Just look at Paramount’s recent decision to remove all of MTV and Comedy Central’s backlogs of content as all the proof you need that you should back up what you care about. 

Music Journalism Can't Afford A Hollowed-Out Pitchfork

🔗 a linked post to » — originally shared here on

It is hard not to see this development as a true indicator that we're nearing the endpoint of robust, meaningful music criticism as a concept. The idea that music journalism has no value is one of the most pervasive thoughts circulating among the suits who control the industry. What those people continue to deprive us of is smart, varied music coverage produced by actual journalists, most of whom now find themselves being squeezed out of an industry that only rewards slavish devotion to the biggest pop stars, or a constant courting of drama, gossip, and violence that is only tangentially related to music.

If there's a better future for music journalism to come, it will perhaps spring from the re-emergence of small-batch music blogs and more localized coverage. But what we're left with now is a corporatized wasteland, and fewer publications than ever equipped to write about music with all the rigor and passion it deserves.

I’m glad Iz mentioned the optimistic part of the situation at the end.

I’m, of course, sad and frustrated by what mega corporations are doing to journalism as a whole (not just music journalism).

But what keeps my hope alive is continuing to support smaller writers who cover their beats with an infectious passion.

I don’t see a future where journalism suddenly becomes a six-figure kind of job, because capitalism is not a system where art (and nuanced, considered discussions of art) is valued enough to justify that sort of business investment.

I suppose that could be seen as bleak, but take it from someone who is currently grappling with the costs associated with doing the thing I love in exchange for a salary: it’s great for the pocket book, but damn near lethal for my soul.

And I suppose by trading my passions in for money, I can use that money to support artists who are out there making stuff that makes me happy.

On a similar note: how do y’all discover new music these days? Are there any good writers or blogs I should be following?

Continue to the full article

Can We Resolve To Be More Normal About Taylor Swift In 2024?

🔗 a linked post to » — originally shared here on

I don’t doubt that Taylor Swift fans sometimes feel marginalized or attacked. Especially the ones who are extremely online and see every bozo on Twitter who says Taylor Swift isn’t a real musician or erroneously claims she doesn’t write her own songs. Misogyny exists. No one (except those bozos) disputes this. And it’s undeniable that Swift communicates something extra special and relatable to her core fans that more casual listeners miss. And that is worth writing about. But at some point, the compulsion to hush or shout down anyone with a dissenting opinion starts to feel wearying and ungenerous. In 2023, it felt like a classic case of being a sore winner, to borrow a phrase used by the writer B.D. McClay in 2019 to describe thin-skinned cultural figures who want “acclaim, but not responsibility; respect without disagreement; wealth without scrutiny; power without anyone noticing it’s there.”

The first example McClay wrote about, naturally, was Taylor Swift. And that was before she got really big over the pandemic and beyond. But for all her winning, she hasn’t got any better about sportsmanship. She remains obsessed with score settling. (When you have a billion-dollar tour and still feel the need to drag Kim Kardashian for something that happened in the mid-2010s you have unlocked a new level of pettiness.) As for the Swifties, I’m sorry, but you don’t get to say 'This just isn’t for you' when your idol has achieved the ubiquity of Taylor Swift. Because Taylor Swift isn’t just for you. She’s for all of us. Everyone on the planet has Taylor Swift being shot into their ears and up their nostrils. She’s inescapable. Whether you like her or not.

So, some of us are sort of sick to death of hearing about Taylor Swift. And that’s an understandable reaction that has no bearing on your personal enjoyment of her music if you’re a fan. Some of us being sort of sick to death of Taylor Swift will not stop the content machine from servicing you. Fear and capitalism will no doubt roll on in 2024. But maybe we can all be a little more normal about it.

I admit that I'm a bit late to this one considering we're more than halfway through 2024 already.1

Maybe it's a consequence of me being intentionally not online this year, but I haven't seen a whole lot of Taylor this year, which is odd considering she released a new album.

Anyway, while I was reading this article, I thought of a recent Daily Show segment where Jon Stewart quips: "Why does everything have to be so fucking weird?"

Go watch the clip (relevant segment is from 2:32 to 3:45) to understand the context and the delivery of that line.

My wife and I have been saying that nonstop this past month, and it's the perfect question to ask ourselves in what could be perhaps the most bizarre year of our lives to date.

  1. I blame the crushing weight of my ever-growing Instapaper queue, and the fact that I've been reading actual paper books more often lately 😬 

Continue to the full article

TikTok Has Made Shoegaze Bigger Than Ever

🔗 a linked post to » — originally shared here on

In early 2023, an 18-year-old college student decided to make her first-ever shoegaze song. Her friend sent her a “beat,” a grungy shoegaze instrumental crafted by the producer grayskies, and she spent two hours recording herself singing over it into her phone, using her everyday Apple earbuds as a microphone. No guitars were strummed, and no reverb pedals were stepped on. The next day, she titled the song “Your Face” and uploaded a snippet of it on TikTok, posting under the artist name Wisp. The video gained 100k views overnight, so she made another. That one got 600k views. She made another. That one quickly racked up 1 million views. Soon after, “Your Face” was being streamed millions of times on Spotify, and before Wisp even released a second song, she had signed a deal with Interscope Records.

Fast-forward eight months later and “Your Face” has been streamed nearly 30 million times on Spotify, almost twice as much as My Bloody Valentine’s classic Loveless closer “Soon.” The official sound snippet has been used in 126k TikTok videos, almost as many as Mitski’s runaway TikTok goliath “Washing Machine Heart” (174k videos). In the real world, Wisp sold-out her first-ever show in less than a half hour, and then her second just as quickly.

Consider this article a bit of a “shot, chaser” to my previous post.

I’ve been really into shoegaze lately. This article does a fantastic job of highlighting how zoomers used TikTok to give the genre a renaissance.

It's a good reminder that social media isn’t innately awful. It warms my heart to see the children using these incredible technologies to unite under the banner of ethereal and somewhat depressing tunes.

Go check out Duster's album Stratosphere.

Continue to the full article

WeblogPoMo 2024 - Song 18: Neutral Milk Hotel - In the Aeroplane Over the Sea

🔗 a linked post to » — originally shared here on

When I started this WeblogPoMo series, I knew I'd eventually need to write about Neutral Milk Hotel.

I kept putting it off because it's always been tough to put into words what this band means to me.

I mentioned in my POTUSA post that we used to go to Duluth every summer as a family.

When you visit a place every year, you start to develop routines and habits. My habit was to stop into the Electric Fetus.

Over the years, I acquired most of my CD collection from the Fetus. Highlights included The Unicorn's Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone?, Death Cab for Cutie's Transatlanticism, Ambulance Ltd's 2004 LP, and, of course, In The Aeroplane Over The Sea.

Back in my Rilo Kiley post, I mentioned how much it bothers me to answer the question "what is your favorite band."

If I were honest and not at all self conscious, I would have answered "Neutral Milk Hotel" from roughly eighth grade until my senior year of college.

Let's face it: the band is an odd choice for a favorite, no?

A lot of their songs explore heavy feelings and are, more often than not, pretty depressing. Their most famous album is about Anne Frank. Jeff Mangum's voice is simultaneously soothing and haunting, but unconventional and jarring the first time you hear it.

If this WeblogPoMo challenge has taught me anything, though, it's that it feels so much better to just like the things you like with a full throat. No point in whispering about the things that light you up, right?

When I got my first guitar in high school, the very first song I learned to play was "In The Aeroplane Over The Sea."1

It's a perfect song for a noob: G, Em, C, and D. Rinse and repeat.

I'd sit and strum those four chords in my basement for hours, belting out the lyrics with my best Jeff Mangum impression.

After figuring out "Aeroplane," I tried my hand at the other songs on the album. "The King of Carrot Flowers, Pt. 1" taught me my first barre chord (F). I even busted out my baritone to learn "The Fool."

Like I said, though, I was pretty guarded about my love for Neutral Milk Hotel growing up. I only shared it with folks who I could talk about deep things with.

I remember sitting in the back seat with my mom on a car ride back from Iowa. She asked me what I was listening to, and I showed her the album cover. She put my headphones in right as the first chord from "Communist Daughter" began.

She liked it up until he started singing about semen staining the mountain tops. 😬

This band got me through some of the hardest moments of my teenage years, and more than twenty years after that Electric Fetus shopping session, I find myself drawn to this album when I need to deal with my hardest crossroads.

Albums come and go from my music collection, but I wonder if I’ll ever be able to let go of this album.

It’s truly my most personally meaningful album.

I saw Jeff Mangum perform live a few years back. He took the stage and tears immediately started welling up in my eyes.

He sits down, politely and awkwardly waves at the crowd, picks up his guitar, and starts belting out “Two Headed Boy Pt. 2”.

His raw, haunting voice filled the music halls, powerfully belting out this beautiful song, sending chills up my spine.

At the end of this deeply moving performance, he casually plops his guitar down on his waist, looks up at the crowd, and says, “Thanks!” with the same gusto I use when I meet someone new at a professional networking event.

It made me laugh so hard.

“How strange it is to be anything at all,” indeed.

And for the record: when I die, nothing would honor me more than if someone sang “Aeroplane” at my grave side.

  1. I did learn "Horse With No Name" before "Aeroplane," but it's not a tough song to pick up. It's just an Em chord, and then you move your fingers from the second and third strings to the first and fourth strings. Going from Em to C for the first time was way more challenging. D to G was also really tough for me. 

WeblogPoMo 2024 - Song 17: Taylor Swift - Anti-Hero

🔗 a linked post to » — originally shared here on

The story my daughter makes me tell the most is the time I asked Taylor Swift out on a date.

In 2008, my dad’s cousin was a truck driver for the Rascal Flatts tour. He asked if we’d like to go see the show and get some backstage passes.

Country music has never been my go-to genre, but I especially find pop country to be frustratingly formulaic and addresses a range of human experiences I don’t personally identify with.

But who am I to turn down an opportunity to go backstage and see how a major tour moves about the country?

My dad’s cousin took turns bringing my family backstage, and it was my turn just prior to the show starting.

We got to see where the trucks parked and the drivers napped while the show was being set up and torn down. My dad’s cousin’s cab looked particularly roomy and comfortable, not at all what I expected the inside of a 40 foot semi cab to look like.

We got to see the area where the video mixing guys did their thing. I remember being surprised because I know the audio mixing guys sit on the floor in order to get a better feel for how the audio plays in the given arena, but for video, I guess that doesn’t matter as much.

We made our way over to the area that led to the stage. It’s basically a bunch of curtains that make a tunnel. In pro wrestling terms, you might call this “gorilla position”, named after Gorilla Monsoon who you could find perched at that area during a show.

While standing there chatting with my dad’s cousin, a golf cart quickly pulls up, and off jumps Taylor Swift.

In 2008, Taylor was in her “pink sparkly guitar” era. She was amiable and full of energy.

She sees me and asks if I live around here. I say yes.

She asks me if I know who plays hockey in the Xcel Energy Center. I look around at the dozens of Wild logos and reply, “The Wild.”

She asks me if I know who they are playing that night. I happened to know they were playing the Chicago Blackhawks, so I reply, “The Blackhawks.”

She asks me if I know of a good place to grab a bite to eat around here.

I don’t know what came over me, but I decided to take a shot.

I responded: “Cossetta’s is right down the road and they’ve got amazing pizza. I’d be happy to take you there once you’re done with the show, if you’d like!”

She laughs politely, thanks me for my help, and disappears into the curtain tunnel.

She performs her first song and then addresses the crowd:

“Hello Saint Paul! How about those Wild? I hope they crush the Blackhawks tonight! Hey, is anyone gonna hit up Cossetta’s after the show for some pizza?”

I’m still not very interested in “You Belong With Me” and “Love Story”, but the last few years of Taylor’s evolution are compelling to me.

I will throw on Midnights and Folklore when I’m looking for some good background grooves.

The two Taylor songs that I have on my playlist1 are “Anti-Hero” and “the 1”.

“Anti-Hero” is so absurd that it cracks me up every time.

“The 1” is chock full of solid one-liners that layer on top of a general feeling of malaise. In other words, an accurate encapsulation of my internal dialogue.

I’m not a Swiftie, but I’m in an era where I’m working on countering my natural instinct to dump on any exceptionally popular pop icon without cause.

And while I might enjoy listening to some of Taylor Swift’s discography, I’m glad she shot me down.

She’s not even close to being on the same level as Shannon.

  1. Each of us have our own playlist in our family so we can shout “Hey Siri, play Daddy’s Music” and have our own jams play in the house.  

WeblogPoMo 2024 - Song 15: CHVRCHES - The Mother We Share

🔗 a linked post to » — originally shared here on

I mentioned in a previous post how much I despise picking a favorite of anything.

But this WeblogPoMo journey is forcing me to actually reflect on what it is I enjoy about music.

An interesting consequence is that once I am able to articulate what I like about music, I feel more comfortable in expressing my musical tastes.

So in the spirit of personal growth: I’m gonna go ahead and say that CHVRCHES is my overall favorite band of the past decade.

I own each of their four albums on vinyl, which is noteworthy considering my picky rules when it comes to vinyls.1

Here’s what I love about each album:

The Bones Of What You Believe

The Bones Of What You Believe brings me right back to 2014, which was an exceptionally remarkable year for me.

I got married that year. Seems remarkable in and of itself that I was able to find someone to love me enough to wanna spend their life with me. It doubly rules that I love her right back.

I stood up in four other weddings that year. The summer was the last one where I saw my high school and college best friends with any sort of regularity.

I went full time with the company I started that year. We signed our first six figure deal and moved into an office. I couldn’t believe we were able to do that, and I can’t believe how proud I was of us for accomplishing that.

I suffered my first anxiety attack that year. My heart hurt so bad, I swore I was having a heart attack. Turned out it was only my fight or flight response kicking in.

I ran a marathon with my fiancée that year. I can’t believe I talked her into doing it. I did believe she could do it, though. She’s tough.

Throughout all of that, I can remember Bones blaring in the background.2

The single song that best represents CHVRCHES to me is the opening song on this album, “The Mother We Share.” I will likely never tire of this song, and someday, I will perform this song on an acoustic guitar at an open mic somewhere.

Every Open Eye

When Every Open Eye came out, I didn't like it as much as Bones. It sounds similar to Bones, but it does depart in a few ways which were hard to accept at first.

Over time, I've come to love many of the songs on the album, and "Clearest Blue" is untouchable when you hear it live.

I've seen CHVRCHES play live twice, and both experiences were incredible. I’ve heard the band described as "arena synth," complete with the kind of booming bass that reverberates deep in your soul.

Hearing the chorus of "Clearest Blue" along with pulsing strobe lights is an etheral experience.

Love Is Dead

Love Is Dead is my end-to-end favorite CHVRCHES album. It kicks off with the nostalgia-inducing "Graffiti" and ends with "Wonderland", a song about someone trapped in a cycle of anxiety and can't get out. The whole album goes hard and I’m frequently gleaning new insights when I pay attention to the lyrics.

“Graffiti” is the CHVRCHES song my kids know best. My daughter and son both sing this song loudly when it comes across shuffle, and my daughter added it to her playlist (which is about the highest honor a dad could achieve).

Screen Violence

Screen Violence, much like Every Open Eye was not my favorite when it was released. I listened to it for a few days on repeat, assuming I would grow to love it.

Sure enough, when I turn to CHVRCHES these days, I find myself drawn to songs like "California", "He Said She Said," and "Asking For A Friend."

This album will forever be tied in my memory to working on the wellness app I worked on during my time at BG. That period was one of significant transition and growth for me, and this album feels like a bit of a transition for the band as well.

Again, I’m very here for it.

If Rilo Kiley was the consistent soundtrack for me from age 16 to 26, I'd say CHVRCHES is the consistent soundtrack for 26 to 36.

Funny enough, Lauren Mayberry recently started a solo career. I hope she finds as much success as Jenny Lewis found when she went solo.3

  1. I could write a mini post about the requirements for my vinyl collection, but the footnote version is that I only own records I will listen front to back without wanting to skip anything. I don’t want to have a hundred records, I only want the best of the best. 

  2. That turns out to be a useful memory hack I’m glad I’ve been inadvertently using. I wonder if music is one way we’ve evolved in order to help our monkey brains retain memories. 

  3. Fortunately, it sounds like she's still going to make music with CHVRCHES, which makes me very happy. But I’m excited to see what kind of art Lauren can make on her own! 

WeblogPoMo 2024 - Song 14: The Presets - Talk Like That

🔗 a linked post to » — originally shared here on

When I inherited my sister’s 1991 Pontiac 6000 LE, it came with the custom CD deck that she installed after she inherited it from our grandma.

My vanity mirror-mounted CD sleeve contained the 5 or so burned CDs that I would rotate through, as was the style at the time.

Apocalypso was one of them.

This was the record I’d throw on when I needed to wake up before a party.

This was the record I’d throw on when I was making my way back from Edina after an exhausting truck unloading at Best Buy.

This album took me all over the metro area up until the day my car died and I needed a new one.

Related: I saw the Presets open for Cut Copy my sophomore year of college. Rob and I walked in flip flops from my house in the Como neighborhood all the way to the Fine Line in the warehouse district to see them.

That’s a 3 mile trek in one direction.

The show was incredible, but I will never forget how much pain I was in on the walk home.

I’ll also never forget how hard we were laughing about it.

WeblogPoMo 2024 - Song 13: Anxiety Attack Mitigation

🔗 a linked post to » — originally shared here on

A heads up: this post talks about mental health and suicidal thoughts again.

When you mention suicidal thoughts to your therapist, the first thing they do is work with you to write up a plan.

The plan is a series of steps you can take when you are unable to pull yourself out of a funk.

The steps start out small and accelerate all the way up to “go to the hospital.”

My first small step was to write down movies, TV shows, or songs that make me happy.

The movies and TV shows were easy, but I struggled to think of songs that made me happy.

As I’ve written a lot about this month, most music simply distracts me or serves as a sympathetic friend. It’s not often that songs put a smile on my face.

I started a new playlist in Apple Music called Anxiety Attack Mitigation1. Over the following few weeks, I added songs that brought a legit smile to my face when I heard them.

Here are the songs on it as of today:

Black Box - Fall into My Love (Radio Edit)

One night, my daughter was eating at the table while I was doing dishes. We were arguing about something unimportant. She was “very mad” at me.

This song comes on shuffle and I begin dancing. I can’t help it with this song, it’s too damn groovy.

I turn around and look over at my daughter. She looks up from her plate with an angry scowl. She sees what I’m doing and her jaw drops like a cartoon character. She gets this look on her face that’s equal parts amused and shocked.

She quickly realizes that she’s supposed to be mad at me, so she quickly covers her mouth and looks away.

Whenever this song comes on, even if I’m “very mad” about something, I can’t help but crack a smile.

Coolio - The Winner

I mentioned this song in my Hit ‘em High writeup, so I’ll make this quick:

This is a song that I’ve heard all my life, but never actually listened to until very recently.

Seriously, read these lyrics.

I’ll admit that I didn’t expect this sort of message from the same guy as Gangsta’s Paradise, but I’m grateful for the wisdom of Coolio.

Des'ree - You Gotta Be

102.9 Lite FM was my second favorite radio station growing up2.

I’d fall asleep to that station every night.

The song I most looked forward to hearing was this one.

Even as a fourth grader, this song made me feel good about myself.

As an adult, the song serves as a manifesto for how to keep moving through life.

Sum 41 - Fat Lip

I had this song on my Cybiko.

That’s a big deal because my Cybiko had a 16 megabyte card, which could store a whopping 16 minutes of low quality MP3s.

This song reminds me of middle school. Wanting to rebel but never feeling courageous enough to do it.

I’ve been lucky enough to see them perform it live twice this year3. I used to think pop punk music wasn’t something I was allowed to have as part of my identity, but the past few months have needed a soundtrack to help me make sense of my present situation.

Now, I’m no longer ashamed to admit that I love it.

12 year old Tim would’ve loved to see Sum 41 live. 36 year old Tim is grateful to have had that realization before it was too late.

And every time I hear this song, it reminds me that I need to put on my own oxygen mask before helping others.

Rêve - Still Dancing

I already covered this one.

Hoobastank - Crawling In The Dark

I’m embarrassed to admit I listen to a lot of these songs, and this one is probably the one I’m the most embarrassed about.

Maybe I’m reaching a point in my life where I want to care less about what other people think, and this post serves as exposure therapy.

But I can’t rock out enough to this song when I feel angsty. It helps me feel less alone.

Jimmy Eat World - The Middle

This was another song that was on my Cybiko.

Every time I hear it, I try to place myself into the perspective of either the singer or the girl.

As the singer, someone pops into my head that I feel could use a pat on their back, so I shoot them a text and see how they’re hanging in there.

As the girl, I allow myself to get the pat on the back.

Bluey - I Know a Place (The Creek Song)

The best children’s television show of the past few years is unquestionably Bluey.

The soundtrack to the show is part of the reason why.

Close your eyes when listening to this song and picture the scene being described.

It’s a sure fire way to ground yourself back in reality, to give you a chance to let go of the thing that is causing you so much stress, to make space for thoughts that matter.

Em Beihold - Numb Little Bug

I went out for karaoke a month or so ago and heard someone sing this song that I’d never heard before.

The lyrics match the way I feel when I’m especially down, and listening to her helps me feel less isolated.

Modest Mouse - Float On

Like the Coolio song above, here’s a song that’s been in regular rotation for years, but I hadn’t really listened to the lyrics.

This song is a reminder that life often works out just fine in the end.

Hoku - Perfect Day

You listen to this song and try to not get a dumb grin on your face.

Curtis Mayfield - Move On Up

Yet another song I’ve enjoyed for years without considering the lyrics all that much.

The uplifting lyrics and encouragement to persevere through struggle make this song perfect for this playlist.

It also often gives me perspective for my own struggles. I know there isn’t such a thing as “the suffering Olympics,” but come on, my struggles aren’t much compared to those of an African American in the 70s.

The Linda Lindas - Talking to Myself

I’m seeing Green Day this summer, and the Linda Lindas are one of the opening sets.

Their entire Growing Up album is very good, but this song made it on this playlist because, much like the Numb Little Big song, it often feels like we’re alone when we have depressive thoughts.

I’m super lucky to have friends I can call to talk about the things I think about that I can’t help.

Some of you may even be reading this post! I can’t believe people read this stuff, but again, I’m a very lucky guy. ❤️

  1. This is an incredibly dorky name. Just needed to admit that here. 

  2. My first was Radio AAHS. The ink I could spill about my love for Radio AAHS… 

  3. They are currently on their final tour. I’m not sure if this is like pro wrestling when people have retirement matches and then go on to wrestle for another 30 years (looking at you, Ric Flair), but it sure feels like they are ready to call it. Yet another reason I’m glad I took the opportunity to see them live this year. 

Continue to the full article