Blink-182 – “California”
The opening few songs of Blink’s newest adventure, featuring the absence of Tom Delonge that is Matt Skiba, gave me some hope.
Then the rest of the album happened.
If Blink-182 goes forward with this lineup, then I’m sorry, but it’s just always going to have an empty slot to me. Tom Delonge’s song-writing was such an important element that made Blink what it was. That ability is what made Blink-182’s comeback album, Neighborhoods, such a success to me, but I digress. We’re not here to talk about that album.
Mark Hoppus has boldly decided to go on without such a great complementary element, and I think the product suffers from it.
I actually enjoyed the opening three tracks. Travis Barker is as good as ever in “Cynical”, a song that seems to emanate something you would have heard on Take Off Your Pants and Jacket. Meanwhile, “Bored to Death”, the first single released from the album, brings you back to the good elements of Blink’s self-titled album. “She’s Out Of Her Mind” was a classic Blink song with Mark Hoppus strumming the base in his usual 1-5 pattern that’s very familiar throughout the band’s earlier work.
After that, the album sort of flies off the tracks. It seems Blink took a lot of direction from their new producer, John Feldmann (of Goldfinger fame) and some other guest writers, featuring Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy, Martin Johnson of All Time Low, and David Hodges of Evanescence.
Stump helped co-write “Sober” and “San Diego”, and it was plenty noticeable with quite a few pop elements that I thought that Blink-182 had grown out of after their self-titled album. Meanwhile, “Home Is Such A Lonely Place” featured some string suite that really doesn’t fit in with the Blink sound whatsoever, so it’s questionable as to why David Hodges thought that would be a good idea. The album’s title track, “California”, seems like the most out of place song they’ve ever written.
This doesn’t feel like a natural evolution for Blink-182. It feels like a complete change-up. I’ve always enjoyed bands that can shift in to an experimental phase in their career, and I feel like as a follow-up to Neighborhoods, this album completely misses the mark.
No disrespect to Matt Skiba, but Blink-182 is not a band where you can just plug in some other band’s guitarist and everything will run smoothly. Ask the Red Hot Chili Peppers how they’re doing without John Fruciante (not great). Since the beginnings of their mainstream success, Blink-182 was able to create a style that was unique to Tom Delonge, Mark Hoppus, and Travis Barker. If Hoppus and Barker were so hellbent on releasing new music, why not create a supergroup with Skiba and do whatever it is that you want? Assigning the Blink-182 name to this trio seems extremely lazy and uninspired, much like a lot of the tracks on California.