Well, finally, after quite some time, the boys in Blink-182 might actually get mistaken for men on their newest release, Blink-182. This new album seems like a natural progression from Take Off Your Pant and Jacket, but in a direction that many fans might have not expected from the musical equivalent of a Kevin Smith dick and fart joke movie. Maybe it was the breakthrough of emo (note: this is not an emo album) into the mainstream that convinced Mark, Tom, and Travis to write big boy songs. Either way, this album might have the ability to win Blink back some fans that they might have lost when they became a bit too MTV for some of their older fans.
The opening four tracks; "Feeling This," "Obvious," "I Miss You," and "Violence" are so heartfelt and good that it seems like they aren't even performed by Blink-182. The only thing ensures the listener that they are listening to the band that wrote the song "Dick Lips", is the signature nasal voice of Mark Hoppus and the hauntingly deep backups of Tom Delonge. Each of these tracks could be released as a single ("Feeling This" being their first) and do extremely well, opening the band up to the same audience, but with a bit of a different sound, one might even say, reinventing themselves. Perhaps in this time of Good Charlotte ruling the airwaves, it just wasn't the right time for another punk album by the usual Blink-182 definition (catchy hooks, pop lyrics about penises and boobies, and really three chords really fast).
After track four ends, the album seems to go askew a little bit. The reading of a letter opens "Stockholm Syndrome" and it seems well out of place, and it crosses the line between good and eerie, and overall, it's pretty depressing. It just doesn't fit. "Stockholm Syndrome" itself reintroduces Blink-182's pretty straight forward punk style, fast and loud, which is good, because after the letter this album really needs something to pick it back up. Unfortunately, this is the point where the listener is most likely to zone out. A.D.D. inspired by previous Blink albums might play a bit too big of a role here and cause the remainder of the tracks to blend together, even though there is some actual substance that should be paid attention to. Unfortunately, "The Fallen Interlude" isn't one of them. Aside from this track being a showcase of how good a drummer Travis is, it sounds like it should be on a Beastie Boys instrumental album. "Go" makes up for it though. It has a kind of dark overtone to it, as does the whole album, but it sounds like it could have come straight off of Dude Ranch, complete with the fact that it clocks in under two minutes. This album has its ups and downs, but fortunately the ups higher than the depth of the downs.
"Always" is one of the standout tracks on the album. No one should be able to resist the draw and catchiness of this song. It is straight from the heart, as opposed to straight from the crotch like so many Blink songs in the past. In other words, the album wraps up on a high note. "All of This" sounds like there is a Robert Smith guest vocals, because, in fact, there is a Robert Smith guest appearance. Odd for Blink-182, right? The band that once ran around the MTV studios naked riding tricycles, but this is just more proof that this album is their ascent into manhood. The dick and fart jokes will probably still be present in their live shows, but hopefully there won't be another album of it.
Blink-182 is a real statement for the band. It says that they are older and more mature, and they aren't afraid to write about their feelings. Everyone knows they are still kids at heart, but their audience should actually appreciate the fact that this album can be enjoyed by someone over the age of thirteen. One of the other highlights of this album is the nonmusical content. This band fully understands the idea of album sales, and it shows because the album itself is packed with other stuff. For example, each track has at least one of the band members commenting on its origin, or creation, or presentation in the liner notes, so anyone interested can learn that little extra tidbit about the song that makes you sound cool at keg parties. Also, 5 of the tracks come with their own videos ("Feeling This," "Obvious," "Down/The Fallen Interlude," "Violence," and "Stockholm Syndrome") created by the band with rare scenes and insights into the band. When all this comes together, the product is a something that is worth a listen, even for the fans that may have been tossed to the wayside.
Jason Cipriano is the Senior Editor. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.