Blink 182 released their first album since the self titled disc dropped in September 2003. A long hiatus from playing and touring together as each band member went off to do their own thing. Mark Hoppus (bass, vocals) created a couple of TV shows and started producing, Travis Barker (drummer) created collaborations with just about everyone who’d get into the studio with him: Tom Morello, Slash, The Game, Flo Rida, Drake, Eminem, Lil Wayne, and even did a “Stairway to Heaven” cover on American Idol with the likes of Mary J Blige, Steve Vai and Randy Jackson. Tom DeLonge (guitar, vocals) went off and met some commercial success with the band Angels & Airwaves (whose album Love II will drop on 11.11.11)
The first single off Neighborhoods is “Up All Night” and compositionally speaking, it sounds raw and real, much like their albums Dude Ranch and Cheshire Cat, but lyrically picks up where they left off with Take Off Your Pants and Jacket and Blink 182…
I’m not going to go through this song by song as a normal review, but I’m going to summarize the feel I get from the band:
Maybe it’s just that I grew up with Enema of the State and heard nothing but songs of teenage rambunctiousness lasting well into their twenties, or the social drama that we perceived to make us “cool” or not… they were fun and they were funny. That’s what we loved about the band’s videos and their sound. But this isn’t the same band anymore. You could see the change coming in Pants and Jacket and it really hit home on Blink 182. These guys have grown up. What they’re singing about is some heavier motifs in life. From divorce, depression, abuse (both physical and mental) and they now have a message other than party and have fun.
Is the new Blink worse than the old? Yes and no. They still have the sound that is unmistakably theirs and they can still put on a great show (just saw ’em at SPAC a few weeks ago) with laughter and their immense stage prescence… and Travis’ drum solos (my head would explode if he and Neil Peart did a drum off.) They had glimpses of this on earlier albums, from “Adam’s Song” to “Stay Together for the Kids” to “Easy Target” and “All of This” but never had these songs of seriousness engulfed an entire album.
Blink 182 was a band that got us through, or helped us hold onto, our adolescence and our youth. Now, maybe because most of them now are parents, and are seeing things from the other side of the fence, have a message to the kids who’ve been used and abused by parents and peers.
It’s not a bad thing, it’s just not what we’re used to. You’re going to have to listen and decide for yourself: