Blink-182: Comeback As Good As Original?
In 2009, punk band Blink-182 announced that they had decided to come off of their indefinite hiatus and begin making music together again (with a simple "Blink's back!", courtesy of Mark Hoppus, Blink's co-vocalist and bassist). Shortly after, they released informal statements of a new album in the works – one that took a little over two and a half years to actually release. With their newest album Neighborhoods creating a tidal wave of both negative and positive reactions, it’s safe to say that the band has gone through a lot of criticism as of late. With this, a question remains to be answered: is Blink still the same lovable pop punk hooligans we had all grown up listening to, or have they changed for the worst?
To be clear, Blink-182 handled fame quite differently than many other commercially successful artists did. Never really giving too much care into what they were perceived as (reference "First Date" music video here) and dedicating themselves to the one thing that truly matters – the music – Blink-182 served as a beacon of hope for real artists in the rapidly conforming industry. Remaining original with their pranks and careless lifestyles, Blink-182 shook the world with their decision in 2005 to go on an indefinite hiatus.
The hiatus was cut short by both the death of the band's former producer, Jerry Finn, and Travis Barker’s plane accident that resulted in numerous casualties, the only survivors of the crash being Barker himself and Adam Goldstein (better known as DJ AM). Realizing that life was too short to waste talent, Blink decided to come together again, announcing at the 51st Grammy Awards their radically amazing decision to reform. Two years later, their comeback album was released after pushing the date back more than a few times, and the band toured as the main headliner on the Honda Civic Tour with equally influential punk band My Chemical Romance as co-headliner in 2011.
After listening to Neighborhoods, I see that Blink-182 has, in fact, changed as a band. They are no longer the rowdy group of young adults that sang out memorable anthems of hope like “Adam’s Song” or catchy pop songs such as “All the Small Things.” While I appreciate the fact that Blink has matured and grown up as a band, I feel that Neighborhoods was a weak comeback that didn’t do the band justice. I believe that Tom Delonge’s main project during the band’s hiatus, the successful alternative band Angels & Airwaves, had way too much ground in the album, making it a tad too reminiscent of Airwaves and making Blink-182 lose the punk edge they had always held, even when belting out their sugary hits like “Feeling This.” The interlude of “Heart’s All Gone” was a pure mark of Airwaves and Delonge’s work, seeing as how Blink had never done anything like that before on any of their albums except for their self-titled, and the difference between the two is vast.
The day that the first single off of Neighborhoods was a day I remember very well. It was a hot summer day and I had been stalking Blink’s posts on the single, downloading a radio app onto my iPod so that I could witness the premiere while it was set to play on KROQ, the world-famous radio station. The anticipation had been killing me for days, and I was ready to hear what one of my all-time favorite bands had come up with after all these years of making me wait. As soon as "Up All Night" played, the sheer idea of this being the newest Blink song, that they were actually together, made the whole thing seem a lot better than it actually was. The song itself was great, the lyrics good but not old-Blink good, the general song was impressive because it still held the unique musical style Blink always had but was something new, something fresh. And at the time, that was good enough for me.
When Neighborhoods came out, I had already adjusted to Blink’s promised new style, and was eagerly anticipating the full album release. The songs weren’t amazing, but they weren’t horrible either. The dedication I had always held for Blink is what kept my love for them going, but if I had heard Blink for the first time from any song off of Neighborhoods, I probably wouldn’t have given them too much interest. The fact is, Blink-182 is still the same personality-wise (Mark Hoppus’ interviews always crack me up) and I still hold the same love for them in my heart as I always will, but the best Blink-182 has to be the old Blink-182.
With the band's newest announcement that they will not participate in other tour until their next album is released, I'm expecting about another two years before the band actually embarks on said tour. Now that the guys have had their stab at getting back into the groove of being a band again, I can only hope that they release something more original Blink-oriented. The hiatus affected them as a band, and I hope with their next release they can bring back more elements of their previous style while still maintaining the balance they’ve newly acquired back.