Blink-182
California (Deluxe Edition)


3.4
great

Review

by Rowan5215 STAFF
May 20th, 2017 | 91 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "Your cry for inspiration never reaches ears on distant stars."

There's something so persistently, inanely charming about California, that both exists in spite of its myriad flaws and somehow makes them more glaring. I don't know what it is. Teasing apart what's nostalgia and what I'm actually enjoying can start to feel like splitting hairs, especially with Blink-182, one of the few bands I'm willing to give a pass for releasing an album as, uh, artistically challenged as California 2016. But when they weren't writing awful hooks with Patrick Stump or aggressively mediocre ballads about home, there were glimmers. The melodies were there, when they could claw their way through the toy monkey production, and Travis was there, and "Cynical" was there so you'd know it wasn't a complete wash. There was some charm to the straightforwardness, the basic pop mentality, the retroness (if I can be so bold as to apply the term 'retro' to a pop-punk band).

It feels almost redundant to complain about how much better this edition is and how the best tracks are bonuses in 2017, but honestly, it's getting ridiculous – do you think Matt Skiba's contractual obligation to leave the best songs off Alkaline Trio albums has carried over to Blink" Yet there's more to the deluxe than just some more good songs: it sounds like Mark, Matt and Travis actually sort of care again. "6/8" is like when Travis said there would be a post-hardcore song on Neighborhoods and it was just the last 30 seconds of "Up All Night" except they actually followed through, with a titanic chorus and some honest-to-god Matt screams I didn't dream up for once. "Hey I'm Sorry" is the only song that gets away with the metric fucktonne of 'woahohhhhs', because the pre-chorus melody alone is gorgeous enough to justify a lot of cheesiness. "Bottom of the Ocean" sounds like the dance-y backing track from "When Your Heart Stops Beating" got lost on the way home, popped some Xanax and stumbled in on Mark and Matt karaokeing to a Justin Timberlake song. It's probably trash, but insanely listenable trash nonetheless. Of the two songwriters Matt is clearly the more engaged, and even if there's nary a mention of sacrificial virgin ears on here at least he isn't writing about his divorce anymore, right" Mark sticks close to the yellow dotted line throughout, with his storytelling ambitions rarely raised higher than 'meet my friends at the Target curb/I rolled my ankle, Matt just broke his wrist', and his lovable voice never raised at all. At least he snuck a Smiths reference in there, I guess.

The deluxe tracks may swap out a bit of California's tacky charm for slightly less tacky jams, but the music on display isn't wildly different. Matt is still relegated to hitting high notes buried in the background way more than he should be, Mark still sounds like the chorus of "Bored to Death" applies to him, Feldmann is still just the worst, and everyone listening at home still misses the hell out of Tom. There are some decent suggestions at future development dotted here and there, but the best moments on either edition of this album – "Cynical", "6/8", that goddamn banger of a bridge in "San Diego" – are still the ones that draw most heavily on a history that's gone on longer than any pop-punk band rightfully should, a funny, stupid, bittersweet story that many fans have shared in for the majority of their lives. But maybe trying to tease apart nostalgia and talent is a waste of time, because mining nostalgia as shamelessly and expertly as California does is a talent in itself.



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user ratings (119)
Chart.
2.7
average
other reviews of this album
QuinnObropta (3)
Hey I'm Sorry, but get rid of John Feldmann....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
May 20th 2017


41572 Comments

Album Rating: 3.4

"she saaaid" - mark hoppus, 2016 and also every other year since he started writing music

Digging: Broken Social Scene - Let's Try the After - Vol. 2

conditionals
May 20th 2017


555 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I for one enjoy being the only person in the world who detested 'California' but enjoyed the title track exclusively. (EDIT: no wait 'Cynical' was awesome, as review points out).



I'll check this out, but after some heavy personal reflection recently, 'Enema of the State' is the only album from my once-favourite group that endures with me.



BTW people should check out PAWS' 'No Grace' album from last year which Hoppus produced. Amazing album, and the production is amazing.

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
May 20th 2017


41572 Comments

Album Rating: 3.4

I don't dislike the title track but it seems like a case of good idea, poor execution. the build-up was cool but the payoff at the end was a little bit lame. Cynical and San Diego are definitely my preferred cuts



honestly you could listen to 6/8, Hey I'm Sorry and maybe Last Train Home and skip the rest, this review is more a personal gush than a hey this record's objectively good or anything

minty901
May 20th 2017


3686 Comments


There are some great tracks on here.

conditionals
May 20th 2017


555 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Wow, your review was spot on and encapsulates everything I feel about these tracks. I was really surprised at the consistent quality - the only really weak tracks are 'Last Train Home' and 'Hey I'm Sorry', which blew my "woo-ooo-aaaah" quota within 5 seconds (Feldmann: the worst). It's crazy how much better and more present Skiba is here, although I do agree that they sacrificed some of the charm of California for simply good songs.

Glad I checked this out. My review summary would be "it's a long way back to the middle of the road"

Tunaboy45
May 20th 2017


16734 Comments


she says I drink too much
HAWAIIAN RED FRUIT PUNCH>

couldn't care less about this band anymore

Digging: PUP - Morbid Stuff

claygurnz
May 20th 2017


5232 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Agreed Tuna, it's a shame but yea no interest whatsoever anymore.

MrGarland
May 20th 2017


215 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Oh hey, more material that sounds forced.

rodrigo90
May 20th 2017


5201 Comments


Give them time bro, the next album will be better.

No I don't want Tom's bullshit, if he returns FINE, but if he doesn't, I'm good anyway.

rodrigo90
May 20th 2017


5201 Comments


Tastes are tastes, friendo

MrGarland
May 20th 2017


215 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I still can't believe this album made me appreciate Neighborhoods. Matt is better off in Trio, and Mark is better off posting on twitter.

onionbubs
May 20th 2017


11205 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

1st half of neighborhoods rules but 2nd half kinda sucks. the bonus tracks are better than the whole album tho

Digging: Periphery - Periphery IV: Hail Stan

rodrigo90
May 20th 2017


5201 Comments


So I think I will download this version of the album.

conditionals
May 20th 2017


555 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Never forget just how much Mark loves being in this band. It makes the material a bit more endearing. The fault lies with the direction they, either by choice or by production, are taking the music.



It makes this all kind of sad. They want to produce great music that continues their legacy, but have just gone about it in the absolute worst way possible. I still believe that there's great music left within the band, I just wish they could find it.

rodrigo90
May 20th 2017


5201 Comments


They failed when they did the green day strategy. That movement killed the whole album

onionbubs
May 20th 2017


11205 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

what are you referring to as the green day strategy?

SweeneyTodd
May 20th 2017


2149 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The Green Day strategy? You mean, write some passable pop-punk albums and forever sing about being a teenager despite the fact you're all nearly 50 and will probably soon be grandfathers?

onionbubs
May 20th 2017


11205 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

at least blink isn't also throwing around empty appeals to politics

JesperL
May 20th 2017


370 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

final paragraph is perfect. at this point blink just needs to stop creating new music and go on anniversary tours for their good albums before breaking up imo

Spec
May 20th 2017


35667 Comments


good old days is actually one of the worst songs i've ever heard



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