Oh, Blink-182, what happened? You guys were so good! If I was having a bad day, I would come home and listen to your music, knowing that it would cheer me up. But what now? What’s with this Angels and Airwaves/Plus 44 bullshi
t? I want Blink-182 back!! Ah well, I suppose that it was for the best. Tom Delonge was hurting more than helping anyway. Fortunately for us, Blink-182 left behind some excellent albums, one of them being Take Off Your Pants and Jacket
. Some see this as the black sheep of Blink’s discography, and I can understand why they think that. After the immensely immature Enema of the State
, I’m sure that a lot of people expected the band to mature somewhat on their next album. That didn’t happen at all. TOYPAJ basically follows the same formula of EOTS, which is, make an album full of fun, catchy, pop-punk tunes with some mature songs thrown in for good measure. That isn’t a bad thing, though. Before making their undeniably grown-up self-titled album, they decided to release one more fun, immature album. I’m glad they did.
Take Off Your Pants and Jacket
is certainly an interesting album to analyze. A lot of people wrote it off as a stupid carbon copy of their other albums, most notably the one released right before it, Enema of the State
. Such accusations are not unfounded. EOTS had a lot of immature songs, and TOYPAJ has a lot of immature songs. But if you take a closer look at the album, you will find that the writing on TOYPAJ is more mature than the writing on their previous albums. Obviously, the songs are still about relationships and teenage rebellion and such, but the band manages to pull them off in a way that seems fresh (something that is certainly hard to come by in the genre nowadays). And although the subject matter is certainly childish, the writing is anything but.
Personally, I have always admired Blink-182 for their lyrics. Catchy and fun, they personify everything the common teenager goes through. On this particular album, the immature songs are done in a mature way. I’m sure that some would disagree, but consider this: how could Blink-182 release TOYPAJ, an obviously immature album, and then release the self-titled Blink-182
, an obviously mature album, without any hint of transition on TOYPAJ itself? They could, I suppose, but it’s really not that likely. On songs like Anthem Part Two
, Story of a Lonely Guy
, and Everytime I Look For You
, the band shows off a mature writing skill not found on their other albums. These songs, along with others on the album, perfectly show off Blink’s ability to write mature lyrics about a somewhat immature subject. The whole album isn't like that, though. The maturity level drops to zero when you get to Happy Holidays, You Bastard
. This song is only around forty seconds long, and is full of swearing and vulgarities. Oddly enough, it turns out to be one of the strongest songs on the album.
Another thing I’ve always loved about the band is the dual vocalists. Mark Hoppus and Tom Delonge, after all these years, are still two of my favorite singers. It’s sort of ironic that for all the hate Tom Delonge gets nowadays, blink-182 really wouldn’t be as good without him. Frankly, his voice is perfect for the genre. Scratchy and boyish, it certainly does give the music an immature feel. Tom usually handled the immature, pop-ish songs, and that doesn’t change on this album. Tom’s voice is the driving force behind songs like First Date
and Please Take Me Home
. In stark contrast, Mark’s voice is smooth and polished, and sounds considerably older and more mature than Tom’s voice. This is probably the reason why Mark usually sings about more mature subjects. When Mark and Tom sing together on a song, the result is awesome. Their voices are so different, yet they complement each other so well. This is exemplified wonderfully in the song Stay Together for the Kids
. This song really is one of the band’s masterpieces. Tom’s clean intro riff is great, and Mark’s quietly sung verses add to the power of Tom’s heavy and powerful chorus. Musically speaking, there isn’t much to say. The riffs are simple and easy on the ears, and the bass, although audible, is nothing to write home about. The only musical standout is Travis Barker’s drums. A lot of Blink fans praise him as the greatest drummer in the world, which is obviously not true. He is one of the more talented drummers in the genre, though. His fills are fast and his cymbal work is pretty good. So, overall, this album is average fare musically. But, hey, this is pop-punk, and the music doesn’t have to be technical. If it was, well, then it just wouldn’t be pop-punk.
At the end of the day, this album is just good pop-punk, plain and simple. It’s catchy, it’s fun, and it’s full of hooks. Recently, it’s gotten to the point where pop-punk has been overtaken by the faux-emo look and sound, and it’s nice to go back to when the genre was good. After a long day, this album is perfect for lifting your spirits. Blink-182 was one of the most influential pop-punk bands, and it certainly is a shame that they split. But as I said before, they left behind a lot of good music. If you’ve never heard Blink-182 before (unlikely), then they are perfect for getting into the genre. Their music is highly accessible and easy on the ears, and they introduced a lot of people to the world of music. They will be missed.