Review Summary: Neighborhoods Part II, not bad, just repeated.
When you leave a major label like Interscope/Geffen after 13 long years, three multi-platinum records and two chart topping records, your next record needs to become a statement. Dogs Eating Dogs is that statement, or was supposed to be. This project seems a little conservative. This release is nothing that we have not heard before. It is kind of like sticking your big toe in the pool to see if it is cold before you go all in. It seems like ever since their eponymous record released in 2003 (terrific record I might add) the band seems to relinquished all creative control and we thought it was the major label bringing them down. Maybe this entire time it was themselves. In essence maybe Tom, Mark, and Travis do not know how to be independent individuals yet.
The extended play starts with the song "When I Was Young." Which slightly resembles "The Ghost on the Dancefloor" off the previous record. The song features a decent chorus that is an ear catcher but it seems entirely too safe. Same with the titular track "Dogs Eating Dogs." This sounds a lot like "Natives" off the last record. Further on to the next track you have "Disaster." In which you hear moments of "Love Is Dangerous." As you keep listening you can not help but feel an over reliance on past formulas that have worked for this band and even some that have not worked. It becomes like a Neighborhoods Part II (no pun intended.)
There are some standout moments though. The first song leaked off the release "Boxing Day" is a beautifully constructed song. It's nothing that we have ever really heard from the band before, and after hearing the first three tracks, it's a breath of fresh air. Tom's and Mark's voices sound great together and it sounds really genuine. As well the final track "Pretty Little Girl" which is the strongest track on the release with Travis' best drum line and the most rambunctious, care free lyricism. The jam also includes a really random rap section performed by up and coming young rapper Yelawolf. The rap throws you off a bit but it kind of kicks the conservative nature from the first three tracks to the side. These two tracks however can not save the overly conservative release that is Dogs Eating Dogs.
Look maybe I'm wrong, maybe blink-182 know what they're doing. Maybe blink-182 being independent will bring their best creative abilities to the table. Maybe they wanted to re-release their last album from a new perspective and then possibly people could like it better. However it simply seems recycled, dull and unexciting until you're more than half way through. And when you're one of the top pop punk groups in the world, halfway through isn't good enough.