Pop punk. Poser Punk. Mall Punk. No matter what you call it,
blink 182 (yeah, it’s a lowercase “b” now) more
or less invented it, or at least brought it to the mainstream.
Bands like Good Charlotte, New Found Glory and The Starting Line
owe their livelihoods to blink. The band’s fifth full-length
album finds Mark, Tom and Travis going through more changes than
merely capitalization issues. Blink 182 is a large step
forward for the boys, further blurring the line between emo and pop
punk. Yes, there is a line.
In the interim between the band’s last album, 2001’s
Take Off Your Pants and Jacket, all three members explored
differing solo projects. Guitarist Tom DeLonge and drummer Travis
Barker collaborated on Box Car Racer. Barker also formed the
Transplants with other punk rock notables. Bassist Mark Hoppus,
well, he did vocals on that A Simple Plan song. The influence of
these diversions can clearly be felt on this album. Most notable,
is the larger presence of Delonge vocally, as well as a songwriter.
Blink 182 almost feels like a Box Car Racer album, featuring
Hoppus. But where Box Car failed in repetition and mediocrity, the
new blink succeeds with a new-found diversity.
Gone is the toilet humor and silliness of the former blink.
Blink 182 is dark and brooding, at times very angry and at
others incredibly somber. “Violence,” with its abrasive
guitars, has Delonge screaming “Like violence, you have me,
forever and after/Like violence, you kill me.” That’s
not to say that the usual poppy singles aren’t still thrown
into the mix to add a bit of levity. Opening track “Feeling
This” fits right in with the band’s former efforts.
“Go” is an equally fun song as well. The rest of the
album does its best to break the conception of what a blink song
is. “I Miss You” and “The Fallen Interlude”
experiment with samples and drum machines. With more than just the
usual guitar/bass/drums combination, the album on the whole feels
fuller than previous releases, and much more mature as well.
“All of This,” perhaps the most moving track on the
album, features bittersweet vocals from Robert Smith of the Cure.
Since when are blink songs moving?
It only makes sense that the band is beginning to mature. Now in
their 30s and with wives and children, it was about time. Perhaps
because of their past, not in spite of it, the band’s latest
shines more brightly. Blink 182 is an unexpectedly strong
album from three guys known for adolescent skateboard punk.
Hopefully, they’ll continue in this direction.
Rating: 4 stars.