Blink-182
California (Deluxe Edition)


3.0
good

Review

by QuinnObropta USER (11 Reviews)
May 19th, 2017 | 23 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Hey I'm Sorry, but get rid of John Feldmann.

Second chances are a wondrous thing.

When a band releases an album that gets as mixed of a reception as California did, they should really put their heart and soul into their follow up. Now, California (Deluxe) isn’t necessarily a follow-up, because due to label issues they couldn’t produce an additional album. Nevertheless, we are here, with a fresh batch of 11 new blink-182 songs and an acoustic renditioning of Bored to Death.

There are many things improved from the standard edition, and there are many things that stay the same, for better and worse.

Starting with positives, Travis delivers some more killer drum breaks. “6/8” shows incredible speed on the ride cymbal and technicality when it comes to the hihat. The drumming in the bridge of “Misery” is very good as well; Barker doesn’t go all-out, he keeps his talent shining bright as well as blending perfectly with Marks killer bass riff. The rimshots on “Last Train Home” are interesting and work perfectly, and the sparractic patterns of “Don’t Mean Anything” are quite impressive.

Matt Skiba’s playing has been improved, as well. He provides some amazing riffs, such as the ones present in “Parking Lot,” “Wildfire,” “Can’t Get You More Pregnant,” and “Last Train Home.” These provide some great variation on the record and power cords, while still used quite often, are not used as much.

Bassist Mark Hoppus has continued to improve his bass playing. “Misery” is a prime example of this, adding another song to the best Blink bass riffs. In every song, he adds octave jumps and small fills, putting the bass on this above other Blink releases.

California (Deluxe) is a very experimental album since the addition of Matthew Thomas Skiba. There are a lot of darker songs on this record. “Long Lost Feeling,” “6/8,” “Last Train Home,” “Misery,” and “Don’t Mean Anything” provide a darker overall feel, sparking some much improved lyrical content. “Torn apart like the broken hearted, light it up with the fire we started, misery loves company” is one prime example of a great lyric. Lines like these are littered throughout the record, making this album much improved lyrically.

While talking about song meanings, “Don’t Mean Anything” takes the trophy. The first verse Mark sings about the death of his mother, and in the second verse Matt sings about his father leaving him in the middle of the night. This is accompanied by an infectiously catchy chorus and bridge, all combining for a thoroughly amazing song.

There is a profound amount of energy present here aswell, and it is most present in the faster songs. “Good Old Days” is a great summer tune that is pure fun without sounding generic.

The trio tries out a more electronic direction on songs like “Long Lost Feeling” and “Bottom of the Ocean.” They both sound very, very, very good. It really shows how talented these people are at picking up new tricks.

The vocals are pretty good as well. Skiba’s performance in “6/8” is emotional, hearing him scream about how “this sh*tty song needs some personality” and how he’s a disappointment, so he better disappoint them more. His vocals on the lower register are dark and ominous, adding a great feel. Overall, the vocals are almost great; there are less “nananana” additions, but the album still contains a considerable amount of “woah”s.

This leads into the albums negatives.

“Hey, I’m Sorry” has a pleasant ballad feel, while plagued by countless “woah” vocals. It’s a complete let-down, since the final chorus is the best on the record and the verses are wonderful. The piano inclusion makes the song really pretty, but the constant nonsense vocals make this song hard to listen to.

Lyrics are overall improved, but there is one song that completely blows any progress made. “Parking Lot” has a second verse of random and disjointed memories from Mark’s childhood, making a chorus presenting multiple ideas on what it desires to be about but ends up being generic and headache-inducing. There are other moments throughout the album where it sound like the group went to Google and looked up “what rhymes with ___.” In “Misery,” the chorus provides the abysmal line “Smash it up like there’s no tomorrow, leave me here with the fear and sorrow.” It ends up feeling incredibly “edgy” and forced. In the song “6/8,” Skiba rhymes “lead” and “greed” is a way that has little to no correlation, sounding so forced it ruins that entire section.

Matt Skiba, while providing some excellent riffs, rehashes quite a few from the original release. The riff from “Bored to Death” is used in “Wildfire.” The riff from “She’s Out Of Her Mind,” “No Future,” “Sober,” and “San Diego” are used in “Misery” and “Long Lost Feeling.” The riff from “Brohemian Rhapsody” is used in “Parking Lot” and briefly in “Wildfire.” The riffs are better, but there are still too many songs lacking a good one.

On a side note, naming the song 6/8 “6/8” based on its time signature is dumb. It’s not impressive to write a song beyond 4/4.

Another problem is the marketing for this record. Six tracks were released before this twelve-track record was released, completely messing up the flow. If you have listened to every song put online from this album, it won’t be nearly as good of a time for you.

The joke song on this record, “Can’t Get You More Pregnant” is terrible. There is nothing funny beyond the idea of a song with this title, it throws away the serious mood presented by “6/8,” “Long Lost Feeling,” and “Bottom of the Ocean.” The instruments may be good, but they are wasted in this thirty-four second demonstration of what it feels like to have erectile dysfunction.

Another let down is the final track, the acoustic renditioning of “Bored to Death” is pointless. It wasn’t a studio version, which would have been great, but instead it was a slightly corrected live show, with jarring cheering and clapping. Matt changes a line in the second verse and it loses the feel of the song. The audience’s claps during the bridge are completely unnecessary and take some time to settle into the tempo, and Skiba jumps an octave with his vocals before the end of the four-bar phrase, almost as if he forgot or got too excited. He backs off from the the mic, but backs off way too far to the point we cannot hear him. They could’ve gotten Tom DeLonge to sing the line before the final chorus “Save your breath, I’m nearly bored to death and fading fast” and it would have broken the internet, but instead, we have a poorly made live version with problems easily fixed by professionally recording it.

Last, the biggest and most glaring issue; John Feldmann.

John’s producing and mixing ruins many good moments of the record. “6/8” is one of the most aggressive and gritty songs Blink has ever made, but it’s littered with pitch correction, auto-tune, and useless effects on the vocals and the guitars. Skiba’s unclean vocals are ruined because they sound too processed. Mark’s vocals sound robotic numerous times, and there is an overabundance of electronics, even on the songs not meant to be the testing of such technology. The drums blend with the guitar far too often, ruining Barkers amazing talent. John giving the green light to the countless uses of “woah” in this record is humiliating. They wanted to make a fun summer record" He’s the man. They want to try something darker" Anyone else.

In the end, the new edition of California is more experimental, bearing better lyrics, a better bass, and overall better songwriting. It’s infectiously catchy and every song has a part that will be glued to your head for days to come. It is knocked down by poor producing, a lack of consistency in tone, repetitive riffs, and an extreme use of purposeless effects and “woah”s.

3/5


Favorite tracks: Misery, Last Train Home, Don’t Mean Anything, Bottom of the Ocean, 6/8
Least favorite tracks: Parking Lot, Can’t Get You More Pregnant, Bored to Death (Acoustic)



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Comments:Add a Comment 
QuinnObropta
May 19th 2017


32 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Definitely an improvement. With a different producer, this could've been amazing.

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onionbubs
May 19th 2017


6968 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

decent review but it could've been condensed better to make your points more concise and to avoid some irrelevant tangents. for example definitely omit the part about the song being called 6/8, since it's unimportant to the review, as well the part about the marketing of the album. but overall it was a pretty enjoyable read. have a pos



I more or less agree with a lot of this. the worst part of the band right now is definitely feldman and if they move away from him the record will be at least a little more creative. the lyrics are also abysmal but in places their easier to ignore here because of better instrumentation which is way tighter than it is on california and the band is at least in that field pushing themselves more than on the original. skiba sounds better here and sings more which is a welcome change but no matter how good he sounds i still dont want to see him regurgitating "woa ohs" and "we are forgotten young suburbias" throughout the tracklist. last train home onward (album basically ends at bottom of the ocean) is the strongest stretch and misery is pretty cool too but otherwise there's not much else to listen to here. better than california tho



I just wanna see matt back in alk3 goddamnit, if anything just to get the chance to see them live. I have the bad feeling that their days are numbered, and although their last two albums are shaky, i need to see them at some point

Digging: Kevin Devine - Bubblegum

QuinnObropta
May 19th 2017


32 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

@Onion I wrote this once I got the album leak from Tuesday - Thursday, I ended up writing most of this within the span of a few hours. I really like this as a fan of Matt, Mark, and Travis, but musically I can't give it over a three.

SweeneyTodd
May 19th 2017


1474 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Extra tracks are better than the originals, Last Train Home sounds like an Alk3 b-side. Can't Get You More Pregnant is just why, Built This Pool was funny for like 2 seconds, CGYMP didn't garner any reaction from me other than "what"

Digging: Glassjaw - Material Control

onionbubs
May 19th 2017


6968 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

pretty sure the first two seconds of built this pool is just part of the guitar riff



last train home is pretty cool but would be better if the chorus wasn't repetitive as fuck

WetHarmonica1916
May 19th 2017


80 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

As someone that really loved California, I wasn't expecting too much out of this deluxe edition. But I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. With tracks like Misery, Hey I'm Sorry, 6/8, and Don't mean anything it makes me wonder how they didn't make it on the main record but Rabbit Hole, Teenage Satellites, and Left Alone did. I was thinking about doing my own review of it.

onionbubs
May 19th 2017


6968 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

ive put together my own playlist of the best songs from both albums and while its not one of their better releases its sure as fuck better than what we actually got



skiba and mark need to learn how to write lyrics again and they need to get a different producer. then they'll be great

QuinnObropta
May 19th 2017


32 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

@Wet Harmonica I enjoyed Left Alone and Teenage Satellites. The ones I didn't like from California were Sober, No Future, Los Angeles, Kings of the Weekend, Rabbit Hole, California, and Brohemian Rhapsody. It's really a guilty pleasure for me, as long as I have some tylenol.

onionbubs
May 19th 2017


6968 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

left alone brohemian rhapsody and los angeles are among the only songs i liked on the disc, along with cynical the only thing that matters and bored to death (tho she's out of her mind is kinda ironically fun). on here i dug most of the second half with 6/8 being the highlight of these entire sessions but much of the first half didnt do much for me (not wild about parking lot good old days dont mean anything and hey i'm sorry)

WetHarmonica1916
May 19th 2017


80 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

She's Out Of her Mind is just a really fun Pop Punk song to me lol, its one of my favorites from the record.

onionbubs
May 19th 2017


6968 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

she's A A A antisocial A A A antisocial A A A SHES AN ANGEL YEEEEEEEEEEEAH



looking back at the production of this, neighborhoods and other recent albums from pop punk bands (uno dos tre revolution radio the blood album etc) and you start to really noticed how sorely missed jerry finn is

SweeneyTodd
May 19th 2017


1474 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"pretty sure the first two seconds of built this pool is just part of the guitar riff"



I don't mean 2 seconds of the track, I mean I laughed for like 2 seconds after I heard it

minty901
May 19th 2017


3572 Comments


Love this review. I really like your writing style; it's casual without being colloquial. Pos. Also this sounds a lot better than California proper. I love the darker tone.

minty901
May 19th 2017


3572 Comments


She's Out of Her Mind makes me throw up in my mouth.

minty901
May 19th 2017


3572 Comments


God dammit The Good Old Days's chorus has the same progression as Kelly Clarkson's Heartbreak Song has the same progression as Jimmy Eat World's The Middle.

Spec
May 19th 2017


34843 Comments


good old days sucks

Satellite
May 19th 2017


25690 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

slightly less terrible than the terrible original release

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Spec
May 19th 2017


34843 Comments


you're too hard on the band d00d !!

Satellite
May 19th 2017


25690 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

nah i really gave this a shot. the production is absolute horseshit. john feldman is the michael bay of the music industry. and i had to keep reminding myself that the cringe-inducing lyrics were written by grown adults.

QuinnObropta
May 19th 2017


32 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I agree with @Onion on the chorus of Last Train Home being really repetitive. Most of these songs change after a few listens and then change after a few more, so reviews are hard.



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