Review Summary: What's my age again? What's my age again?
I hadn't heard of any punk music until I was eleven years old. So growing up in the nineties, I missed things like Green Day, The Offspring, or Rancid for that matter. Well, a close friend of my brother's left a burnt cd at our house after spending the night. My brother and I popped the cd into his computer. On It were several songs, ranging from Relient K, Weird Al, and then...Blink 182. Never hearing any punk music whatsoever, I fell in love with these songs. The lyrics were fun, catchy, and offensive. A great break from some of the contemporary religious stuff we always listened to at the time. Reliant K's "Sadie's Hawkins Dance" was great, but Blink 182's "All the Small Things" was incredible. The cd had four songs from this album, the singles, as well as "The Party Song". My first dose of Blink 182 and I would never forget it.
"Enema of the State" is where the band took a cue from their previous single "Dammit", and learned to write songs in that similar format. The album's lyrics are indeed juvenile with tales of sex, parties, girls, pranks, etc. However, occasionally the band will surprise you with songs about, say suicide and growing up. Most of these instances are songs written by Mark than those by Tom. Some say the lyrics are terrible. Looking from where they see it, I agree. However, Blink 182 was obviously writing for teens and wanting to have a good time. The songs accomplish this goal perfectly.
The album begins strong with "Dumpweed". A track that reminds me of "Dammit" with its intro riff. A great way to start the album off and a sign of what's to come. The song tells of a girl Tom can't handle and how we would like to have one he “...can train”. Those not accustom to Blink 182 will get their first dose of Tom's voice. It is an acquired taste and takes time to get used to. Some describe it as whiny and high pitched, but given a chance, he becomes a very catchy voice to listen to.
The next two songs are fun and short and showcases the band's juvenile writing. “Aliens Exist” is actually about aliens, but is a fan-favorite and a catchy number by Tom. “Don't Leave Me” is by Mark and is surprisingly about a girl about to leave him. The lyrics to these are cheesy and simple, but very effective and quickly become great sing-a-longs.
“Going away to College”, “Adam's Song”, and “Wendy Clear” are Mark's more mature offerings. “Going away to College is about growing up and Mark leaving a girl behind. “Adam's Song” is a favorite and marks a great progression for the band. A piano is even thrown in near the end for a great emotional effect. The song tells of suicide and was reportedly written for one of the band's fans. “Wendy Clear” is about moving on and watching a past girl friend being with a guy that's a jerk. Mark's songs add a lot to the album and shows a side of the band that wouldn't be fully developed until their self-titled album in 2004.
“All the Small Things” was Blink's biggest hit and you can pretty much see why. The bridge arrangement is the highlight here and climaxes the song in a very strong way. However, I preferred the other singles to this. “What's My Age Again” is a great tune, and addresses that they in fact, don't act their age. Interesting the band knows this, but they don't care.
“Mutt” and “The Party song” are the other favorites of mine. “Mutt” is about hormone-driven sex to put it blankly and was used in the American Pie movie. I find the song addresses the issue in an extremely honest way. “The Party Song” is a song I've known for a very long time. Very unique, in the fact the verses are thrown out rapidly by Mark, but he slows down for the chorus. The song offers a warning to guys about some party girls you shouldn't approach.
“Anthem” closes out Enema in a good way.The song is a good summary of what Blink 182 stood for at the time. It called for parents and authorities to lighten up on the teens and spoke of patience reaping rewards in the end.
The Enema of the State is one of my favorites albums of the nineties, as well as one of the most defining. Juvenile, playful, and catchy, Blink 182 knew what teens were looking for, but also just wanted to have a good time themselves. I can crank this out, and it never seems to become stale to me at all. Give or take one or two of the songs, this is a must-have for any pop-punk fan.