Cover photo: Blink-182 finishes a show at this year's Coachella festival
Cover photo credit: Coachella's Facebook page
Anyone who’s spent any significant amount of time around me in that past few years has likely heard me drone on about how men in their 40’s should stop writing songs like they’re still in their 20’s. This, of course, is in reference to Blink-182. Blink-182 was my first musical love, and even though I do not listen to them much anymore, they are absolutely the most influential band of my life. I would not have the taste in music I have today without them, and I don’t know if I ever would have picked up a guitar or bass guitar, which are hobbies that I love and plan to keep for the rest of my life, without listening to the catchy guitar riffs or thick basslines that are common throughout their discography. Of course, like with any first love, the spark eventually faded when they decided to do something that didn’t make any sense. What was this senseless action, you might ask? That action was none other than their 2016 album California.
First of all, what an uncreative, uninspired name for an album. California. Might as well have named it Sky or Grass or some other equally uninspired, overplayed, and painfully simplistic one-word title. Unfortunately, the titles of many of the songs aren’t much better than that of the album.
“She’s Out of Her Mind.”
“Kings of the Weekend.”
Keep in mind the men that wrote these songs are all in their 40’s. Two of them have kids that are about the age that they were when they started Blink-182 in the early 1990’s. Why are you writing songs about running the weekend, or about a fling who turned out to be an insane person?
Fast forward a few years. Tom DeLonge, the original guitarist and co-lead vocalist has returned from his hiatus, during which he was replaced by Matt Skiba, the guitarist and co-lead vocalist of Alkaline Trio (which is an amazing band by the way). DeLonge did not work on California, or the 2019 album that followed it, cleverly called Nine.
Get it. Because it was their ninth album.
Anyway, you can only imagine my excitement upon hearing this news. With DeLonge as part of the band, Blink’s sound had evolved from album to album in an age-appropriate manner. The last album that he worked on, 2011’s Neighborhoods, was a fantastic album, filled with experimental guitar tones, darker lyrical themes, and an increased use of symbolism. Again, age-appropriate progression.
Then “Edging” happened.
I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I had waited 11 years for the progression to continue, only to be hit with a song called “Edging.” All I could do when the title of the lead single was announced was sit and wait for the damage.
The damage never came. It’s great. No, it’s not my favorite. Not even close. No, it does not represent a musical progression. No, I do not want the rest of the album to be that way. But yet, for some reason, I like it. It doesn’t sound like it was written by an A.I. that had been tasked with listening to Blink-182 songs and then trying to write one itself. It doesn’t start out with a guitar riff that sounds vaguely like me trying to tune my guitar and checking to make sure I got it right (there’s four songs on California that have basically the exact same intro of three picked notes with the first two being the same note). It doesn’t sound like it was written in an attempt to recapture some semblance of youth that was left at the last Warped Tour. No, the lyrics are not mature, and the music is not remotely complex. But it sounds real. It sounds honest. I guess that’s what was missing from California. Don’t get me wrong. There were way too many songs about your 20’s on that album, and I hope that “Edging” is one of only a few, if not the only song, as immature as itself on the new Blink-182 album. But the real problem was that it didn’t sound at all like Blink-182. It sounded like a sad attempt at trying to be Blink-182. I suppose I can’t blame them, as Matt Skiba, although great in his own right, is not Tom DeLonge, and is therefore not part of Blink-182 has always been and what the progression was.
Or maybe I’m just a hypocrite.
It’s probably that.
Blink-182’s new album does not yet have a name or release date.