Blink 182 Still At It With California


On July 1st, 2016, pop punk fans everywhere were celebrating as the old pros Blink 182 released their seventh studio album California. It’s been four years since their last release Neighborhoods and much has changed since then. The band’s former guitarist and co-vocalist Tom DeLonge is off chasing aliens and having secret meetings with Bill Clinton, and meanwhile, Alkaline Trio’s vocalist Matt Skiba has taken over for him. Tom was great, and although no one can replace his distinct voice in the many older Blink songs we all know so well (“Where are youuu?”), Skiba fits in perfectly with the band’s style while contributing new elements of his own. So while it’s not the exactly the same band we’ve known for, well (jeez it’s been how long?), the new album is certainly still something to be excited about—it’s packed with jams. The reason this album was so well received is because despite the fact that the members have been adults for a long time now, its style is a throwback to the angst and crude humor of their earlier albums such as Take Off Your Pants and Jacket (2001) and Enema of the State (1999). Their latest release, Neighborhoods (2012), had some great songs and was surely well written, but it was more mature than the Blink many have gotten used to, which is why California was so welcome.

The record begins with the song “Cynical” and Hoppus uttering a phrase reminiscent of their emotional younger days: “There’s a cynical feeling saying I should give up / you said everything you’ll ever say. / There’s a moment of panic when I hear the phone ring / Anxiety’s calling in my head.” The song starts slow but quickly breaks out into aggressive punk beats. The chorus rips as Hoppus and Skiba shout over three-chord pop punk righteousness: “What’s the point of saying sorry now? / Lost my voice while fighting my way out.”

“Bored to Death”, the band’s first single off the record, was released back in April. I first heard this song over the summer, and I admittedly hadn’t thought about Blink for a long time before then, but this got me incredibly excited for the rest of the album. The song features the catchiest chorus of the record, which still occasionally gets stuck in my head to this day: “Save you’re breath, I’m nearly / Bored to death, and fading fast / Life is too short to last long…”

Then of course there’s the song “Built This Pool”, which is a whopping 17 seconds long. When I first heard this song, I thought to myself, “Did I hear that right?” and then I remembered I was listening to Blink, and concluded that I probably did. Check this one out, it’s short and lyrically brilliant.

In “Home is Such a Lonely Place”, the band gets in touch with their softer, more emotional side. The song has lines sure to warm your heart like “the universe is an empty place without you.” It’s the same emotion heard in earlier songs such as “I Miss You”, and it fits in surprisingly well in an otherwise fast and aggressive pop punk album.

The last song, “Brohemian Rhapsody”, a short and fast one with guitar-driven intro followed by one line—an immature yet hilarious twist on a cliché saying—reminds us that the band still hasn’t grown up, which is why we still love them after 24 years.

Not many bands can stay relevant after so many years, but somehow Blink-182 managed to do it with California. With so many catchy hits and the welcome addition of Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba to the lineup, this is an album you will want to check out.

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