Review Summary: Blink's comeback album is top-heavy, at times brilliant and at others subpar and even nearly unplayable.
This will not be a review whining about how I want the old blink back. That’s not happening, and it wouldn’t have been realistic to expect a return to the style of Enema and TOYPAJ. Punk bands never stay punk as they get older, anyways. It would be a bit ridiculous if Tom was still calling a girl’s mom a whore, or if Mark still sang about breakups the way he did in Dammit. No, this is the mature blink, and that’s completely OK.
Onto the actual album. This album is incredibly top-heavy. From the opening riff in "Ghosts on the Dance Floor" to the last note of "Wishing Well", every single second of music is wonderful. The opening track was written about the late Jerry Finn, who produced every blink album starting with Enema. This is followed by "Natives", which is one of the highlights on the album. It is a little less than 4 minutes of pure pop-punk, bringing blink back to the days of Enema, minus the immature lyrics. I have no clue why this song wasn’t released as a single, because it’s absolutely brilliant. This is followed by the lead single "Up All Night". This is a weird song, and an even weirder choice as the lead single. It’s pretty decent, but there were much better options for a lead single. The only explanation I can think of is that they spent a lot of time putting this song together, starting from before they broke up, and they wanted it to be their first single as a band again.
This is followed by the second single from the album, "After Midnight". Another highlight, this will eventually be remembered as one of blink’s greatest achievements musically. It starts with some subtly incredible drums by Travis, then the guitar comes in. The verse, which is sung by Tom, builds up nicely to the chorus, which is sung by Mark. This song is followed by "Snake Charmer", which is about Adam and Eve. It starts out with some strings and drums and then slowly builds up to a jamming out of sorts. the chorus is one of the catchiest on the album.
"Hearts All Gone Interlude", while not reaching the level of The Fallen Interlude, is a decent piece, and perfectly sets up "Hearts All Gone". Blink got bored one day and randomly decide that they would release this song online, a little while after "Up All Night" was released as a single. The blink fans that were worried about the album because of how different "Up All Night" was breathed a sigh of relief when this was released, because it is another one of the songs that goes back to their pop-punk roots. The drums on this song are especially mind-blowing. This song is followed by "Wishing Well", another highlight. This song is about blink getting back together. It has the signature “da da da’s” that we all love from blink.
However, after that, it’s pretty ugly. Songs like "Love is Dangerous" and "Fighting the Gravity" are utterly terrible. "Love is Dangerous" is the track that sounds most like Angels and Airwaves, and it isn’t even as good as them, which is saying something, considering the subpar quality of AVA’s music. Tom drawls, “Lawwv, lawwv is daannggggerroouuuss,” However bad that song is, "Fighting the Gravity" is even worse. Mark said that he was in a weird mood when he wrote this, and it shows. Mark says “This makes no sense, this makes no sense, no,” a billion times over some weird instrumentals. Some of the other tracks are decent, like "Kaleidoscope" and "MH 4.18.2011". Luckily, they saved a strong song for the closer, "Even If She Falls". Nothing in particular stands out in this song, just a nice, fast-paced track to end the album.
One thing should be forgotten in all the hype surrounding blink’s reunion album. Travis Barker’s in this album is nothing short of incredible. This album cements his status as one of the greatest drummers of all time. Every single song has drums that, one way or another, amaze me. Travis says that it’s his job to make the songs sound different, and he does it as well as anyone possibly could.
This is not a return to form for blink. This album doesn’t match the level of any of the three, or maybe four, albums that preceded it. The first 8 tracks did, but the last 6 bring it down considerably. However, it’s a blink album, and we should appreciate the fact that they’re back together.