Review: Blink-182 – [Untitled]

It really does feel like yesterday that I was just unwrapping the CD of this Blink-182 classic, known to many as their [Untitled} fifth effort, and grinning ear to ear about the sound that was about to surround me for the next two-plus years of a standard album cycle. Little did I know, this would be the last studio album Blink-182 would record for eight (!) years, until they returned with 2011’s Neighborhoods. This studio effort was a flawless execution of slick pop-punk hooks, experimental rock, hip-hop beats, and a top-notch collaborative song with The Cure’s Robert Smith. While some longtime Blink fans were disappointed with the final result of this record (that succeeded the bulletproof pop-punk classic, Take Off Your Pants & Jacket), almost all of these fans now point to this album as a seismic shift in the band’s songwriting and offered glimpses as to where they would take their sound for the foreseeable future. This fifth LP was produced by Jerry Finn, and it would also end up being their longest album to date, clocking in at a little over the 49-minute mark. Mark Hoppus, Tom DeLonge and Travis Barker should be looking back fondly on this momentous album today that would find Blink-182 breaking down the silos of what a pop-punk band should sound like, and blow the doors off the hinges in the process.

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Review: Blink-182 – One More Time…

Blink-182 - One More Time...

It’s February 2023, 3:08 PM. Phone buzzes. Unknown number. Local area code.

”Tate, this still you?”

I’m thinking, “I can ignore this, right?” I almost always ignore these. But there’s something in the familiarity of the phrasing that picks at a scab in my brain. A small circle of people in my life have ever called me Tate. Most of them were from my childhood neighborhood. None of whom I’ve spoken to in over a decade. The silence between us is not due to any real falling out but a byproduct of the stretching of time that turns brothers into strangers.

It’s September 1997, 6:45 AM. I’m 14 years old and panicking. I’m about to start my first year of high school, and I am fucking terrified. Middle school was rough. And standing there alone in my parent’s basement has my skin feeling like a hand-me-down Halloween costume. Who am I? Who the ever-living-fuck am I? I walk to the bus stop. It’s raining. I have no music in my ears. Up to this point in my life, music has been something that happened around me. My parents played music in the background, friends showed me some grunge and metal records; I heard pop music on the radio. But I was a passive passenger to the sounds that washed over me. A hook searching for bait in a world rapidly changing before my childhood eyes.

Second stop, a few kids I know jump on.

”Hey, Tate, have you met Ryan?”

Friendships formed through the collective trauma that is high school tend to have a weightier feel as we get older. Reminiscing on them is like the smell of pencil shavings, graphite and wood clipping the air, pulling us back to a simpler time. A nostalgic breeze where youth was the possibility of forever; that’s why we chase its intoxicating scent.

Over the next few months, Ryan and I will bond over girls, late-night phone calls, and navigating this torturous linoleum hell. He has an effortless cool that I admire and a confidence I try to fake. Our personalities play off each other well. We become fast friends while our neighborhood group reconnects. Most days after school, we are in the park trading insults and arguing over pop culture, or downstairs, alternating between shooting pool and fighting over the video game controllers. Our pubescent faces stuffed with everything my teenage metabolism would race to process. I never had any friends later on like the ones I had during those days. (Jesus, does anyone?)

One afternoon, Ryan will leave his CD binder at my house. That night, I’ll slide a grey album cosplaying as a six shooter’s cylinder out from a sleeve backed by a bull’s giant testicles and hit play. Never again will I walk to the bus without music. That’s the night I discovered Blink-182. And nothing’s been quite the same ever since.

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Review: Blink-182 – Take Off Your Pants And Jacket

Blink-182 - Take Off Your Pants and Jacket

Usually you can trace back to moments in time when you know you’ve discovered something special or extraordinary. Sometimes that can be a new love, a new album, or new band that makes you feel like you’re discovering a new part of yourself in the process. Looking back on the 20th anniversary of this pop-punk classic makes me remember the carefree days of school ending and looking towards the promise of an unpredictable summer. Treading into the unknown only furthered my discovery of who I was, and in the process, helped me discover one of my favorite bands of all time. Blink-182 had made quite a name for themselves on their album, Enema of the State, and all eyes were fixed to see how the pop-punk band would follow up their massively successful and now legendary record. Enter Take Off Your Pants and Jacket, the studio album that’s a pun for <ahem> the act of self love. Mark Hoppus, Tom DeLonge, and Travis Barker couldn’t have been riding any higher coming into this fourth album, and working with veteran hit-maker Jerry Finn (Green Day, Sum 41) wasn’t going to change their trajectory into the stratosphere of popularity. The topics covered on the album tackle young love, fighting back authority figures, and more serious issues like divorce. With a mix of both topical elements, on top of well-crafted pop-punk tunes, Blink-182 must have known they created something special.

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Review: Blink-182 – California

Blink 182 - California

What’s left to write about Blink-182? There’s no point to rehash the drama that Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker have with Tom DeLonge, nor is there any point to harp on the incredibly bizarre interviews and statements DeLonge has given the press lately. We’ve all ranked their discography a hundred different ways and chosen sides. I guess all we can really do now is talk about the music, right? It’s a development that I (and many others) will welcome. And, when we talk about the music, we’ll find that band’s seventh full length album, California, is probably the most classic Blink release since 2001’s double-platinum Take Off Your Pants and Jacket.

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Review: Blink-182 – Dogs Eating Dogs EP

Blink-182 - Dogs Eating Dogs

It still feels strange to hear new music from Blink-182.  I’m not sure what it is … maybe it’s because they’re the band that started me down a path that completely changed my life.  Without having heard them, I am really not sure where I would have ended up.  Or maybe it’s just because after their ‘hiatus’ I had relegated myself to not really expecting to ever hear new music from them again.  So now … when I first hit play on a new Blink-182 song … I get this indescribable feeling that washes over me, almost as though I shouldn’t really be hearing this.  Like it’s a dream of a dream.  It’s weird.

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Review: Blink-182 – Dogs Eating Dogs

Blink-182 - Dogs Eating Dogs

When it comes to Blink-182, there’s not much the three piece hasn’t done. They’ve released a couple classic albums, released even more classic songs, become a staple in modern rock music – and everything in between. Teenagers and adults took the Internet by storm when the band announced that they were reuniting back in 2009 after a four-year hiatus. Two years later came the release of the band’s first album in eight years, Neighborhoods. However, it left a sour taste in a lot of people’s mouths when it was revealed that the band recorded the majority of the album separately, sending each other tracks via the Internet. While the album followed in the musical direction of the band’s untitled album, it left more to be desired, especially with the uncertainty of when we would hear more material from the band. Then in October the news broke that the band had left their longtime home at Interscope and planned to continue as independent, like many others are in these changing times in the music industry. Shortly after the announcement of the band leaving Interscope, the guys tweeted that new music would be out before the year was over: the Dogs Eating Dogs EP.

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Review: Blink-182 – Neighborhoods

Blink-182 - Neighborhoods

Today is September 20, 2011, and there is a new Blink-182 record in existence.

1,096 days. That’s exactly three years and one day.

That’s how long it’s been since Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker and close friend Adam Goldstein managed to escape a flaming Learjet 60 crash site in South Carolina with severe injures. They were the only survivors of the crash.

That incident is credited as the event that brought Blink-182 back together. For the first time since 2005, Mark Hoppus, Tom DeLonge and Barker were communicating with each other. Much larger and prominent than the sequence of events that tore them apart, the tragedy held enough weight for them to realize they wanted to spend time together, rather than stay apart with bad blood between them.

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Review: Blink-182 – Take Off Your Pants and Jacket

Blink-182 - Take Off Your Pants and Jacket

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.

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