blink-182
One More Time...


4.0
excellent

Review

by Rowan5215 STAFF
October 21st, 2023 | 304 replies


Release Date: 10/20/2023 | Tracklist

Review Summary: apologise for the past; talk some shit, take it back

"2023 - who the fuck are we?" is the second-to-last question asked in blink-182's One More Time, and it hangs in reverse like a reflected shadow across an album most assumed would never exist. It's a surprisingly canny question from Tom DeLonge, he of the airplane-arms, aliens, Angels and Airwaves, one of music's most notorious flakes. But it fits with the new man we see in the extensive Zane Lowe interview on Apple Music - candid and down-to-earth, graciously giving shoutouts to Matt Skiba and smiling through recounts of both of his ugly departures from blink-182, DeLonge claims to have been through a borderline ego death upon learning the news that Mark Hoppus was sick with lymphoma. Cynically, this is a familiar tune for us who went through the same song and dance when Travis Barker barely survived his plane crash in 2008, but Tom isn't the only one singing it this time. Hoppus seems like a man reborn, soaking in the crowd's adoration night after night in videos of their current tour, shamelessly blasting "The Adventure" in his dressing room, and talking about, again, his new lack of ego that let an old Box Car Racer demo turn into one of One More Time's best songs. The proof is in the pudding, they say, and while Neighborhoods is a better album than its reputation suggests, all the unresolved tension is evident in a disconnected, scattered album.

One More Time isn't that. The answer to the question DeLonge asks seems to be they are three dudes reconnecting their friendships over a shared love of their music and relief to be alive. It may come with plenty of flaws and questionable inclusions, but from the euphoric hooks (good luck getting "ole ole ole ole" out of your head for the next month) to the constant trading of vocalists on almost every song, including the debut of Travis fucking Barker on the mic after 20+ years, One More Time's enthusiasm is absolutely infectious. The most evenly split release between DeLonge and Hoppus since 2001's Take Off Your Pants and Jacket (whose summer-high to winter-loneliness arc seems to have been the roadmap for Barker in the production of One More Time), the album opens perfectly with "Anthem Part 3", a shameless nostalgia bomb of shimmery guitar licks, machine-gun drumming and intertwining vocal hooks that will inject serotonin straight into the veins of all you older millennials who still spin Enema of the State on the commute to a boring office job. DeLonge dominates the first half of the album overall, riffing like it's 2001 through lost Box Car Racer gem "Terrified" and delivering a ecstatic hook on midway highlight "When We Were Young". The sheer joy of hearing the guitarist back and fully committed to blink, giving his all to the style of music that was his first love, is more than worth the price of admission here.

Kicked off by the "Always"-nodding synthpop "Blink Wave", Hoppus takes the reins for a more experimental back half where the album really comes to life. Anyone with a Defend Pop-Punk sticker buried deep in the drawer will go absolutely hogwild to the steam train that is "Bad News", while the destined-to-be-underrated "Other Side" fills that classic penultimate Hoppus spot with a touching dedication to his late bass tech, Robert Ortiz - a nice reminder that the bassist's low-key contributions, the likes of "Wendy Clear" and "Here's Your Letter", were always the heart of their respective albums. He even brings back some of that +44 magic to the time signature-shifting monster "Turpentine" - "generation lost and forgotten, clawing at the lid of the coffin, your god ain't coming back this time" - inbetween choruses where DeLonge politely tells the listener "stick your dick in Ovaltine" and other dubious words of wisdom. But it's the dark "You Don't Know What You've Got", which marries the "Adam's Song" riff to some even more heartwrenching lyrics this time around, that deals directly with Hoppus' fight with cancer with a bluntness that's both uncomfortable and all the more powerful for being housed in a blink-182 album.

Really my first instinct is just to describe One More Time as "astonishingly good", and I've sold it that way to several friends and family members to get them to listen, but there's fumbles here that can't be overlooked. The most egregious is the absolutely turgid "Fell in Love". This would already be one of the worst blink songs ever with its AI-generated vocal lines (Hoppus' "it's craa-aaa-zy" has to be heard to be believed) and regurgitated production, but it crosses the line with an absolutely repellent opening which turns one of the greatest intros of all time, The Cure's snappy bassline hook for "Close to Me", into some royalty-free ad music jingle bullshit. It's a real wonder how this slop ever made the cut, although everything from the song's family-friendly hook to the 2:18 length screams TikTok-bait, it's an instant skip for anyone actually interested in good music. The same goes for the two obligatory-feeling, not outright-bad short tracks: "Turn This Off!" is trying a little hard to fill the "Happy Holidays You Bastard" slot without any of the spontaneous fun, while "Fuck Face" is a throwaway from an EP Barker recorded with Rancid's Tim Armstrong, a distorted 30 seconds of Travis and Tom screaming at one another that's a lot less entertaining than it sounds on paper. That these missteps only take up about three minutes of the album's total runtime is a promising sign, especially for a band which seemed to lose the art of the album format after the devastating death of genre figurehead Jerry Finn. There's more here one could criticise, from the compressed, suffocating mix that makes Finn's absence sting all the more, to lyrics that run the gamut from lazy to just unreal (tell me "let's search and destroy all the innocent throats we can step on" wasn't written by a chatbot trained on Hoppus lines). But we don't expect perfection from blink-182, folks: we just want them to once again walk that impossible tightrope they used to balance on effortlessly, to deliver summery pop-punk bangers and dark experiments in the same breath, to crowbar catchy hooks into our heads for days while also making us feel with the heavier lyricism that made Untitled the best album in this genre. One More Time does not consistently find this balance, but it does enough to make the moments when it falls off hard emphatically worth sitting through.

The temptation to read this album, the sheer unlikely existence of it, as a kind of therapy for Hoppus is strong; especially upon hearing in the Lowe interview that DeLonge, himself a survivor of skin cancer, was a strong positive voice for the bassist throughout his chemotherapy and recovery afterwards. It'd be a mistake to ascribe too much of the album to this interpretation, but it's a nice way to frame an album that deals so frankly in rekindled friendships and getting older, as something supportive and healing for all three men instead of an empty exercise in nostalgia. "blink was always a way to force happiness in the room […] we were trying to make up for a troubled youth", DeLonge says in the same interview. As the final strains of "Childhood" ring out, and the last question of the album is asked ("where did our childhood go, I wanna know?") blink does a very unusual thing for them, and lets the instruments tell a story the vocalists can't quite put into words. Like a modern version of that massive double drum outro on "I'm Lost Without You", the coda of "Childhood" lets the drummer cook over a synth patch that sounds ripped straight from an old NES system. It's a bizarrely moving moment, nostalgic and silly and devastating all at once; you can almost hear Barker's over-compressed, loud-as-shit drums as the sound of adult responsibility, taxes, midlife crises and all the rest crashing in over a sound that represents childhood in its simplest, purest form. Where'd our childhoods go? Shit, they're right here, back where they belong in the hands of a band who could always capture them more effortlessly than any of their peers, and they're back to writing the kind of anthems that make us feel like that last summer as a kid will always last forever.



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user ratings (292)
3.4
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
October 21st 2023


47584 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

the Lowe interview is some great context for all you one more time enjoyers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uE6RpGJJWlQ

JayEnder
October 21st 2023


19733 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

album rules



mixing sucks



/thread

JDoberman
October 21st 2023


199 Comments


I knew the production was going to tank this, because that's been the case for their past however-many releases

it's just a particular shame in this case since the backstory was beautiful and the songs ain't bad at all, really

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
October 21st 2023


47584 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

the mix absolutely stinks but Travis was the right producer for this overall. can't see anyone else pulling off something like the transition to Mark's bridge in Turpentine, he killed that shit

twlight
October 21st 2023


8681 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Does producer really mean he mixed it? I doubt he was sitting behind the board pushing faders but I could be wrong

Slex
October 21st 2023


16513 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I mean I will admit that transition and Mark's half in general of Turpentine is fucking incredible

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
October 21st 2023


60250 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

ronwa retirement writing = y e s

ronaw exclusively retirement writing on nostalgia acts that should have long since broken up = nasty irony that hurts my soul

Spec
October 21st 2023


39374 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I’m digging the album so far. Anthem PT3 goes hard and i feel some leftover atmosphere from the s/t.

twlight
October 21st 2023


8681 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Only jammed it once but there are some really good songs on this

Ectier
October 21st 2023


2569 Comments


Dont know if ill check this out, but this is a beautiful review

Butkuiss
October 21st 2023


6900 Comments


I’m sending Rowan’s imminent second return from retirement

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
October 21st 2023


47584 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

johnald still skating right past the thesis of my review on the way to a driveby dunking is weirdly comforting. some things never change etc



for those curious, there's a little rowanaissance cookin cos of some promos and cool stuff that happened my way, but I won't be back full-time. apprec the nice words tho

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
October 21st 2023


60250 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

the thesis that it's wholesome and affirming to see three weathered dudebros growing and reconnecting After All These Years is cute but doesn't account for how no more than 3-4 of their 17 new tracks should ever have made it out of the soundproofed garage that all of em undoubtedly own

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
October 21st 2023


47584 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

emphatically: k

BitterJalapenoJr
Contributing Reviewer
October 21st 2023


1023 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Review is stellar Rowan.



The album isn't as good as I was unrealistically hoping for last year but nowhere near as bad as I feared it would be when the singles came flooding out over the past weeks.



Overall, the nostalgia hit is great and there are some bangers (Turpentine, Terrified, Other Side), there are some rotters and the production is fucking horrendous.



Probably settle somewhere between 3 and 3.5 which would make it my lowest rated Delonge album outwith Neighborhoods .

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
October 21st 2023


18244 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

excellent review row, i've been looking forward to reading it.



this is obviously a massive improvement over their recent albums. just having delonge back is reason enough for fans to get hyped. for me though, i can never overlook the genre's crux, which, for me, is there to represent the youth and vigour of a new generation. it's why i've not agreed with any of the older pop-punkers coming back, because a bunch of near-50 year old dudes talking about.... masturbation just feels creepy af to me.



that said, this is fine. the production is pretty shitty though, it feels squeezed to an inch of its life.

henryChinaski
October 21st 2023


5007 Comments


I always wonder what that look on Travis' face is supposed to mean!

PotsyTater
October 21st 2023


10101 Comments


How are you bozos lapping up a phoned in 2023 blink 182 album and STILL haven’t even heard the new Angel Electronics album? Ash Nerve and Ada Rook have been shaping the pop-punk / happy hardcore scene from behind-the-scenes for a hot minute and you grout-lickers probably don’t even know a new blink like this wouldn’t even exist if Barker wasn’t breaking bread with them and sharing production notes at Jupiter Sound all throughout the pandemic

MeatSalad
October 21st 2023


18559 Comments


"I always wonder what that look on Travis' face is supposed to mean!"

Doin his best Jane Doe impression

twlight
October 21st 2023


8681 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Because people like things you don't like pots. Hate to break it to ya



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