Ahhh…good old Blink-182, managing to create some of the worlds most amazing Pop-punk songs while, at the same time being mature, grown up individuals.
On second thought, scratch the last part of that statement, Blink-182 are some of the most childish people the world pop-punk scene has had the pleasure of accommodating over the past couple of decades. With each previous album having endless amounts of songs about poo, girls, genitalia and other teenage…fascinations, this album showed a bit of maturity coming into Blink’s music…
…A little bit, but it’s still as mature as a toddler. The usual kind of poo jokes and stuff are still here but in a more diluted, less in your face style. They find time to poke fun at boy bands, families, party girls, dominating girlfriends, relationships with people young enough to be a person’s grandchild, relationships in general and conspiracy theories. Not to mention Mark pointing out how childish he can be himself. The serious element that would become omnipresent in their last album and to a lesser extent, the follow up to this, starts to creep into their music here
There is no doubt that this album is the one that shot the band to super-stardom, but it came at a price. The previous Blink 182 drummer* left the band after a battle with alcoholism, in his place, Blink picked up Aquabats drummer Travis Landon Barker, who would prove to be a more than adequate replacement. With Travis now in the frame, Blink would start this album which would prove to be their stepping stone to success.
The music wasn’t affected adversely by Travis’ arrival and it would be with his help that the album would produce the hits that would then be released on live album The Enema Strikes back.
Tom’s guitar work throughout the album is very much the same as usual, powerchords, powerchords and…more powerchords, no change there then. His vocals still remain as those rather high–pitched, nasally whines that people either love, or hate. I personally find that Tom’s voice is perfect for the songs on this album, especially the singles that would be released from it. His songwriting however, is a difficult one to explain. He goes from writing childish songs about being abducted by aliens to writing a serious song about difficult relationships. Just shows his songwriting versatility I suppose.
Mark’s vocals and songwriting on the other hand, are, as usual, much more mature. Instead of sounding like a pre-adolescent like Tom, Mark keeps his lyrics and subject matter much more mature. Many people who pick up Blink 182 albums where Travis is on the sticks will notice that Mark always sings the more serious songs, it’s not surprising as mark would strike you as the more mature straight away. His bass playing is, unsurprisingly, not brilliant on the songs that Tom takes centre stage on. Instead, mark starts “playing when it’s songs that he’s the main focus of, and it works, the bass throughout the album ranges from average to good, punky bass with substance.
Where this album shows up is in the drums, Travis is a talented drummer who isn’t afraid to make himself heard along with the rest of the band, his drumming stays solid throughout the whole album, with him having little flourishes now and then. As well as playing fast, fill heavy beats, he can play lighter, mellower beats when need be, which is just as well as this album has a few tracks that call for it in particular. He also fits right into the bands childish persona and had a big ad in writing songs, especially the singles.
They matured a bit on the album
Tom FINALLY knows his vocal range
Amazing within it’s genre
Not mature enough
Tom’s vocals can still grate
Mark’s bass is not always as good as it can be
Some filler tracks
May not appeal to people outside the genre
Won’t change your opinion about Blink 182
Considering that previously, blink would have stayed away from topics such as suicide and moving away from relationships that you want to stay in, they’ve done quite well and have pulled the album of rather well. It’s not a classic by any means but to blink 182 fans, this is an essential purchase. If you don’t like blink, don’t bother
Within genre, 4/5
Out of genre. 2.5/5
*I would be thankful if someone could provide the name of the original blink 182 drummer