In the land of pop-punk, a land known for it's people having the intellegence of a 10 year old, one band stands tallest as the most immature, most sex oriented band in all the land. Blink 182. Taking cues from the original pop-punk bands, Blink 182 took singing about masturbation, boners, and boobs to a whole new level with their big breakthrough with drummer Travis Barker, Enema of The State. Dynamic flogger duo Mark Hoppus and Tom DeLonge made up the rest of the California trio (hmmm... California pop-punk trio singing about masturbation.... Sound like anyone you know?). Their gift of finding a catchy hook and making an undeniably fun song is never more evident than here. Now if only my parents had let me get it when I was younger, maybe I too could be a little weed-whacking punk.... Damn Slutty Nurse getting the freakin cover.....
Before I begin my review I would like to preface my Overall by explaining the two kinds of songs found on Enema. One is The Tom Delonge Formula and The Mark Hoppus Formula.
THE TOM DELONGE FORMULA TO WRITING A SONG
1. Have a really catchy guitar hook to it
. Scattered throughout the album are songs that have a fun solo beginning. This is a surefire way to get people to like your material.
2. Have it be about the most immature thing
. For example, masturbation, dysentary, aliens, small penises, slutty couples, bisexuality, Your Mom jokes, the list goes on.
3. Have Travis play really fast for you
. Where's the fun in being on a sugar high and singing about boners when your playing at average speed? Play at the speed of light!
THE MARK HOPPUS FORMULA TO WRITING A SONG
1. Play an incredibly simple bassline
. Cuz it's just too hard to sing when playing more than four notes.
2. Have a more serious subject matter (but never show signs of maturity)
. Suicide, losing love, breaking up, are all examples of subjects Mark incorporates in his songs, but really were any of them ever that mature before their goth influenced self-titled album?
3. Bring the tempo back a little bit
. If I'm gonna be more serious, then I need to not play too fast, or I'll lost that edge. Some of Enema's best material comes from the slowed down, mellowed out feel.
Anyway that's enough of that, moving forward...
Enema's pop-puk charm partially comes from it's best songs in the Tom section. Starting with the fun and breakneck Dumpweed
, Enema rocks hard and fast without a moment to breathe. Dumpweed is one of my favorites off the album, with a fun to play opening riff by Tom, and his vocals in some kind of accent that I didn't know existed are a blast to listen to, especially when he belts the chorus out. Singing about not being able to get the girl has never been original, but Tom's punky spin on it makes you enjoy the suffering of him just a little bit more. Travis's spasmodic drumming is great, as are his fills where he hops out a 1&2 beat. It serves as a good opener, and is one of the better songs found on Enema. There are other great songs on here that follow the Tom Delonge formula as well. Dysentary Gary
is an incredibly immature song laden with F-Words and Tom sneering harsh hate filled lyrics into the mike. The interlude between the verse and chorus has some nice woodblock done by Travis. The soloing guitar in the chorus is fun to listen to. Mark's cameo is an added bonus, with him almost sarcastically saying "*** the guy that took her and ran away". The song drops out for a moment for some mellow solo, then Tom explodes back in with "*** this place, I lost the war, I hate you all, Your Mom's A Whore". These Tom songs provide a lot of fun, even if they get a little tiring after about 4 or 5 listens.
The Mark Section has some of the most genius songs done by Blink. One of my favorite Mark songs is Going Away To College
, a song about, well going off to college and missing your girlfriend. It's gentle chords at the beginning provide a momentary rest from the loud and louder first 2 songs on the album. The lyrics could come off as either genius or mere sorry attempts to rhyme. ("I haven't been this scared in a long time/And I'm so unprepared, So Here's You Valentine") The harmonies in the chorus are truly good, so I enjoy those very much. Also, this song has some girl-loving lyrics instead of Tom's girl's suck except for their tits lyrics. The most famous Mark song has to be Adam's Song
, a number written about the suicide of one of their fans. It's dark guitar followed by some melancholy, if not over the top lyrics about killing one's self. However, they never really go all out and emo by using cliche's like "I wanna cut my wrists and black my eyes" (Although the band who DOES use those lyrics should really do us all a favor and not pick up a pen ever again), but use more of a metaphorical style of writing, to add to the touching aura the song produces. Excellent drumming by Travis only punctuates the message. The solo uses.... *gasp!*.... Piano?!?!?! Yes! Ahhh Mark, thank you for showing that the worlds most immature band ever has a little bit of depth!
However for every serious song on Enema (I count three) there are 4 immature ones. And some of those are really bad. For example, All The Small Things
. It was a nice choice for a single, being it was the most poppy and all, but it's about having a small wang people, come on. It's nowhere near as catchy as the other singles, What's My Age Again
or Adam's Song
. In fact it gets on my nerves a little bit. I always skip this song, because the quality level is so much better elsewhere. The other two really bad ones are the 2 following All The Small Things, The Party Song
. Tha Party Song is the ones Mark song I can't get into. It's words are goddamn unhearable until the chorus which randomy throws in "And then I saw her standing there, with Green Eyes and long blonde hair, she wasn't wearing underwear..." Also throwing in some boob references didnt let me give much kudos to the song. After that is the Tom song Mutt
, a song about a pretty useless subject, popular kids who have lots and lots of perverted sex. The negative points write themselves.
All is forgotten though with my personal favorite off the album, and it is one you can't really pinpoint, and that's Anthem
. It's verses are immature enough to be from Tom's head, yet the bridge is serious enough to be from Mark's. The beat in the beginning sounds like Mark could have done it, but the second verse defintiely sounds like the beat in Dumpweed. My theory? They probably wrote this song together. Tom's sneering words about a party are not forgettable (Would YOU forget "forgive our neighbor Bob/I think he humped a dog?"), but they are vastly immature. But hey, once you learn to accept that, it's really not bad. The second verse explodes with some fantastic drumming by Travis and some great harmonies. When the bridge comes in, Mark hollering behind Tom is actually a little powerful. When the soft section comes in, a hot drum solo and bassline punctuate Tom's vocals. This song sounds little like Man Overboard off Mark, Tom, and Travis Show in that it's serious and fun to listen to. It's a great way to end one of the most fun and immature pop-punk albums in history.
For casual fans of Blink 182, this is really their definitive album. Laden with hooks, catchy lyrics, and immature subjects, this is the real Blink 182 at it's finest. When listening to this, you go back to a time when Blink wasn't goth and in fact were a band us unsuicidal kids could listen to. Enema is Blink 182's best album IMO, hands down.
Going Away To College
Great drum work by Travis
Catchy guitar hooks
Most of Mark's songs
Really immature subject matters
Tom's voice gets annoying after a bit
Mark's basswork is easy as hell.
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