How does one begin to measure the influence of a band like Blink-182? You can’t count how many garage bands were spawned after Enema Of The State came out. You can’t put a price on taking a relatively new genre and thrusting it into the mainstream with full force. Without Blink 182 and their peers like Green Day and The Offspring, and a little while later, bands like New Found Glory, where would pop-punk be? It quite possibly would never have even gotten started.
Enema Of The State is viewed as a pillar of the genre. But for its hit singles and nostalgic elements, it’s arguable that Take Off Your Pants And Jacket is actually the better record. The musicianship is as matured as can be while still being kind of the same, and time together only helped the Mark, Tom and Travis show increase its chemistry. From the very first drum blasts and guitar plucks of “Anthem Part Two,” Take Off Your Pants And Jacketgets you moving. It is as much an expected Blink 182 rocker as it is a statement: Not only did Blink embrace the spotlight, but they started to shine even brighter.
Take Off Your Pants And Jacket is perhaps where Mark, Tom and Travis decided that music was about more than seeing girls flash them some boobies at shows. About more than time-honored sketches like bringing Satan on stage as a special guest. Sure, the trio still likes doing those kinds of things, but TOYPAJ is the middle ground between the young musicians who released Enema and the – gulp – adults who released the self-titled. Forever engrained into this record is the transition between almost two entirely separate bands. For a band like Blink 182, who formed almost two decades ago but has only released five full-lengths so far, each album captures a piece of where the band was when they released it.
The mixture is one that works. For every dick joke (“Happy Holidays, You Bastard,” “Mother’s Day”) there is a catchy, now-classic pop-punk anthem with some actual meaning (“First Date,” “The Rock Show,” “Stay Together For The Kids”). Songs like “Everytime I Look For You” are well beyond what a listener of Enema might expect out of the band’s next output. The album manages to stay balanced, though, and it is perhaps one of the better laid-out tracklistings on a pop-punk album.
Take Off Your Pants And Jacket is a transitory record for Blink 182, but you can’t tell just by listening to it on its own. It’s developed and it’s full – it feels holistically complete, dick jokes and all. It may not have as much nostalgia as Enema Of The State and it may not have the depth of the self-titled record, but Take Off Your Pants And Jacket is Blink 182’s best effort.