CD Organization!

As the world has become increasingly digitized, I’ve become increasingly uneasy. Yes, it’s convenient in a sense to have my media collected in a computer instead of taking up space in my house. However the idea of my favorite movies, music, or video games existing only on hard drives, where something can go wrong and everything can disappear at basically any time is terrifying.

Enter my CD collection.

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I was given my first CDs when I was in elementary school, and as far as I know I still have every CD I’ve ever bought, and I still have many (if not all) of the mix CDs I made back before iPod times. Needless to say, this all takes up a lot of space. You might be alarmed, but actually one of those two disc cylinders is actually mostly filled with blank CDs. But maybe you should be alarmed, bc after dragging all of this out of its shelf I remembered something.

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In the spare room I had stored two more boxes of CDs. Whoops. It hit me all at once a few weeks ago, that I should probably do something to organize this mess. I wasn’t even fully sure of all the CDs I had, and whenever I wanted to find something in particular (like when I loaned my My Chemical Romance albums to a friend this winter) it was a huge hassle. Enter my new best friend.

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This is a 136 slot Case Logic CD Wallet, which I bought from Amazon. My plan was to put all of my CDs in here (except for mix CDs) and then send all the plastic cases that were clogging up my life off to the recycling bin. I put the CDs in alphabetical order by artist (or play name for Broadway soundtracks). Artists with multiple albums were arranged in chronological order.

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Alphabetized from left to right, up to down, but not chronolized yet because that was too much of a hassle at this stage.

I also went off my rocker and decided that I would also tear up the album booklets and put the covers into the CD slots, which greatly increased the amount of time the whole task took. An wrinkle in this plan were the cardboard CD cases that have become a bit of a trend — those required a bit more cutting to size, and in a couple of places, I couldn’t get them to fit without totally ruining the album art. But I was able to preserve the album art for almost all the CDs. Nearly every disc has a cover in front of it, except for a few where I didn’t have the booklets anymore, and the second disc of any album that has two discs.

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There was no way this was going to fit.

Even when I got tired and didn’t feel like doing it anymore, I kept going because I was afraid if I didn’t do it all on one sitting I wouldn’t finish it at all. Altogether, from alphabetizing to slotting in all the CDs and covers, the process took about 4 hours. I threw on a couple of Harry Potter movies to entertain me, and got the job done.

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I did wind up leaving a few CDs out. I couldn’t bring myself to tear up these two signed albums, and The Light in the Piazza is super special to me, so I didn’t want to take it apart. I knew I had a lot of CDs, but didn’t think it was quite as many as it is. Towards the end I started to get scared I was going to run out of space. I only have 28 more spaces for CDs!

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I’m glad I got this little task done. It’ll definitely make my life easier in the future. I’d been meaning to do it for awhile, so now that it’s done it’s like a little weight off of me. And it’s definitely very aesthetically pleasing when I flip through and see all the album covers instead of just the discs.

My next big project will probably be to print up some photo albums of my favorite pictures I’ve taken because I’m super worried about them disappearing too, even though I do have a backup made. Also, probably I should finally sort out my iTunes library on my iTouch, because god is it an unholy mess because of some weird choices Apple made.

Review: Mania by Fall Out Boy

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I’ve been a Fall Out Boy fan since my freshman year of high school when a girl at my bus stop introduced me to them. They’re probably the band that I’ve been actively keeping tabs on for the longest, and also they’re one of two bands where I know all the members’ names. (Fun Fact: the other one is Rammstein.)

So suffice it to say, I was very, VERY excited when I heard Mania was coming out, although since they announced it with the first single in April 2017, I had a very, VERY long wait. (The album was originally supposed to be released in the summer, but they pushed back the release date so they could scrap most of the album and write new songs. [Source]) In fact, the wait was so long that I very nearly forgot about it, but lucky for me, I remembered, because there is some very, VERY enjoyable music on this album.

There are a lot of the hallmarks of Fall Out Boy here, such as big, booming, inspirational choruses, titles that have nothing to do with the content of the songs, and lyrics that occasionally sound like the poetry a high school freshman would write and think was so cool even though it’s kind of awful. It’s not my favorite of their albums (that would be Folie a Deux), but it’s pretty solid!

Before I go into a song by song breakdown, I’d also like to put it out there that I have one major complaint regarding the packaging! I’m a big physical media person, so of course I bought the CD instead of buying it from iTunes or whoever else sells MP3s nowadays. The color combination chosen for the tracklist on the back cover makes it nearly unreadable in anything other than bright daylight. AWFUL graphic design choices were made here.

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WHO DESIGNED THIS??

And now for the breakdown. I’m going by the order of the songs on the CD, which is apparently different than other places such as Spotify for whatever reason. So don’t be confused if you’ve seen a different album order elsewhere!

Stay Frosty Royal Milk Tea: The beginning of this song kind of alarmed me when I started up the album for the first time — it was kind of like being musically punched in the face. The lyrics are both cheesy (“Are you smelling that shit? Eau de resistance!) and inspirational (“The only thing that’s ever stopping me is me.”). Musically it’s fun to listen to. I like it!

Last of the Real Ones: Definitely one of the songs that feels more focused and tells a clear story without having to read into the lyrics too much. It’s catchy. Kind of in the middle for me in terms of the songs on this album, but on the upper end of middle. I’ve linked the music video here so you can hear it, but it’s kind of….weird (I’m not crazy about the llamas), and sort of makes me feel like they needed to to make the video cheaply so they reused the costumes from Young and Menace because they already had them.

Hold Me Tight Or Don’t: This feels like a super boppy summer song. It’s definitely one of my top favorites from this album and it makes me want to dance. The lyrics are kind of disjointed, but I do get the overall sense we’re talking about a friends with benefits or on and off kind of relationship here. The lyrics are CATCHY though, and I really like the way some of them sound individually. (ie: “I took too many hits off this memory // I need to come down.”) I can totally understand why they chose to make a music video for this one, although only the good lord knows why they picked a Day of the Dead theme.

Wilson (Expensive Mistakes): I’ll be honest, I’m not crazy about this one at all. I feel like it’s lyrically weak. “I’ll stop wearing black when they make a darker color,” feels like it would fit right in on the album that made them go mainstream, From Under the Cork Tree. And, no lie, the first time I heard the line, “I became such a strange shape from trying to fit in,” the image that popped into my head was Spongebob when he became round from trying to be too normal.

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It honestly feels like the most disjointed song on the album to me, like it’s just a bunch of different lines mashed together. The video makes me laugh a lot, and it seems like the guys had fun making it, but it does not make me like this song any better.

Church: I’m always drawn to weird, overly dramatic songs, so of course this is my favorite song on the album. There’s a big beautiful chorus that I’ve had a lot of fun belting out in the car, but I was originally annoyed because I thought it didn’t relate to the verses at all. However, then when I was reading the album booklet and actually understanding all of the words Patrick was singing my dormant English Major training rose from the grave and I felt like I could write a traditional five paragraph persuasive literary analysis essay with the thesis, “Fall Out Boy loves and worships fame, despite the negative aspects of it.” Spotting the wordplay in, “Take the pain / make it billboard [Billboard? ; ) ] big,” was a lightbulb moment for me. The bridge section often gives me chills, and I love how Patrick really gets to show off his vocal range. I’m not at all crazy about the video, but I need you to hear this song.

Heaven’s Gate: I think this one is my least favorite, despite the fact that the chorus has a nasty tendency to get stuck in my head. I like the oldies vibe, but that’s pretty much the only thing I like. The lyrics are kind of goofy, despite the sweet subject matter of wanting to be in heaven with a loved one. Meh.

Champion: This is one of the songs they kept when they overhauled the album. It’s got one of those big anthemic Fall Out Boy chrouses. “If I could live through this, I can do anything,” is something I’ve been repeating to myself as a mantra since I heard it, since I’m in a very unhappy place in my professional life at the moment. It’s a solid song, nothing too exciting or original, but still good.

Sunshine Riptide: This one is way down on the totem pole for me. I just find it a little boring, but that’s okay, that’s just my opinion. I don’t really have a lot to say. It just feels a little pedestrian to me.

Young and Menace: I have serious mixed feelings about this song. I LOVE the verses, both lyrically and musically. When I first heard it back in April I was like, “Oh my god, I love this song.” And then the “chorus” arrived. It was SO jarring. I’m not super into dubstep/super electronic music, so I’m not into the nonsense they’ve put between the verses at all. I didn’t actually time it, but I’d estimate that probably about a minute of this nearly four minute song is taken up by this thing that I don’t like. Also, there’s a sound in those bits that’s basically a car horn, which can be disorienting when you’re listening to the song while driving.

I can appreciate a band trying to do something new and different than what they’ve done, but that doesn’t mean I have to enjoy it. Also, the music video is pretty weird and really did a lot to put me off the song as well, tbh. (If you’re curious, this is the other song they kept from the original version of Mania.)

Bishops Knife Trick: This seems to me like another rumination on fame. (“I’m struggling to exist with you // and without you.”) It’s not one of my favorites, but it’s not awful. It’s a pretty solid song. Not much to say about this one.

So there you have it, my thoughts about the newest album by one of my all time favorite bands! If you like the music in the videos I’ve linked, then I definitely think that Mania is worth purchasing (or streaming someplace if you can’t spare the cash).