Remove ads, unlock a dark mode theme, and get other perks by upgrading your account. Experience the website the way it's meant to be.

Blink-182 – California

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Melody Bot, Jul 18, 2016.

  1. Melody Bot

    Your friendly little forum bot. Staff Member

    This article has been imported from for discussion. All of the forum rules still apply.

    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.

    While 2003’s Blink-182 was esteemed as the trio’s Mature Record, it turned Blink into a band they weren’t. Their reunion release, 2011’s Neighborhoods, is evidence of that – an album trying really hard to be important but ultimately having no direction (and very few hooks) and being relatively forgotten. California is a return to form for the band and it’s the most “fun” record the band has put out in over a decade. It was time to discard all the negativity surrounding Blink the last few years and adding Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba has been a colossal boost. His influence on Hoppus and Barker can’t be measured as he fits naturally within the band’s dynamic – never trying to be DeLonge and instead adapting his melodies to work near-perfectly with Hoppus’s earworms.

    Opening track “Cynical” is the launching point as Hoppus stares down anxiety over a singular guitar strum before Barker’s maniacal drumming interjects and Skiba screams, “What’s the point of saying sorry now?” while a multiple yelps of “I’m not sorry!” air in the background. It’s a subtle middle finger to the past and it leads into one of the catchiest Blink songs yet — the lead single “Bored To Death.” Mark Hoppus is one of the very best in the pop-punk genre at writing hooks and California is bursting with them. The incredible pre-chorus on “Bored To Death” is one of many things that was missing from the last few Blink releases and it’s stuff like that that sets Blink-182 apart from the rest of the genre.

    “She’s Out of Her Mind” feels like the spiritual successor to “Rock Show,” as the chorus blasts off similarly to the early-00s mega-hit and results in one of the most infectious sing-alongs of the band’s lengthy career. In fact, there are bits and pieces of classic Blink littered throughout California. “No Future” features a killer bridge that lifts up an otherwise forgettable track while “Left Alone” may end up being the most underrated track, as it could fit in seamlessly with the untitled album. And then there’s the unabashed fun of “Kings of the Weekend.” Yes, the song has the lyrical depth of a kiddie pool, but damn isn’t that chorus just perfect for summer driving? It’s reminiscent of some of the easy-going jams from Take Off Your Pants and it’s a welcomed moment in the middle of the album.

    California also moves forward within the current pop-punk scene. Producer John Feldmann is not shy about pushing the band into the same space as bands like Fall Out Boy (“Los Angeles”), All Time Low (“Teenage Satellites”), and 5 Seconds of Summer (“Home Is Such a Lonely Place”). It doesn’t always work, but the catchiness of “Satellites” is undeniable and “Home” is a nice change of pace. The band also worked with a handful of co-writers such as Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump, Martin Johnson of Boys Like Girls fame, and former Evanescence member David Hodges. The most notable is “Sober,” the first of two that feature Stump’s contributions. The ;primary idea was “what could Blink be on modern rock radio in 2016?” and the result is a soaring anthem about falling in love, recovering, and being okay with fucking up sometimes. Barker’s drumming provides the track’s backbone (per usual), while the sprinkling in of delicate piano keys sets it apart from the other fifteen tracks. It’s a excellent mix of Blink’s past and present, elevating the track to one of California’s best.

    Just like every Blink-182 release, this one is far from perfect. Obviously the last thing we need in this world is a rock-and-roll album dedicated to the Golden State, but those themes are really only relegated to three tracks. The aforementioned “Los Angeles” is more an apocalyptic take on the city, while the Alkaline Trio-esque “San Diego” is a nostalgic ode the band’s hometown. However, it’s the cheese of the title track (co-penned with Johnson) that the album could do without; the band’s love letter to the state induces multiple cringe-worthy moments. And yes, the album is about four tracks too long and the lyrics are more-or-less what you’d expect on a Blink-182 album in the year of our Lord 2016. But that’s not why any of us listen to a Blink-182, so I’m not expecting the lyrical content to be a deal breaker for most (although it may impact the lasting power for some).

    Ultimately, California bridges the serious side of Blink-182 with the youthfulness of Take Off Your Pants and Jacket. And sure, fans are going to pick sides between the original trio and the new one. But it feels like a true win-win for both sides – DeLonge gets to hunt UFOs and make movies while Hoppus and Barker are back to making fun pop-punk music and enjoy doing it. It’s reflected throughout the entirety of California and there are plenty of “nah-nah-nah-nah’s” and “whoa-oooooh’s” to go around (hell, we even get the first two joke songs since TOYPAJ, including song of the year candidate “Built This Pool”). And even at thirty years old, I’m having a ball feeling 16 again while blasting a new Blink-182 album with the windows down. Thank God for punk rock bands, indeed.

    heymynameisjoe likes this.
  2. slimfenix182


    Sums up exactly 100% of my feelings on this album haha.
  3. About the concluding paragraph, "original trio" really isn't fair since Barker wasn't on the first few albums. Also, considering "Built this Pool" a song of the year candidate is hilariously....uhhh....something. Hilariously silly? Hilariously sarcastic, I hope?
  4. Great review. I love this album
  5. I love the record, while seeing the flaws... but I've got to say, I completely disagree about the title track. I love that song. Maybe it's because I have such a love/hate relationship with that state, and recently left it and moved back up north, but that song strikes such an emotional chord with me. I get that it's cheesy, but maybe it's something you can only get if you've lived there.
    CMilliken likes this.
  6. mattylikesfilms Jul 19, 2016
    (Last edited: Jul 19, 2016)


    Album is alright. At first I dug it but then after a few more listens, I realized it's half baked, and it's severely lacking lyrically..

    7/10 for me at best since "Left Alone" is a jam and a half.
  7. Larry David

    I'll see you again in 25 years Prestigious

    I definitely agree that Left Alone is the most underrated track on the album. Maybe it's just because I lived in California, but I think the title track is a perfect end(almost end) to the record. It really makes me nostalgic, and want to move back
    mattylikesfilms likes this.
  8. jorbjorb

    7 rings

    It's a good album.
  9. ncarrab

    Prestigious Supporter

    I'm enjoying this album much more than I thought I would. I've listened at least 30 times straight through and haven't once gotten sick of it. For me, it's an album where every day I have a new favorite track. Miles better than Neighborhoods.
  10. DooDooBird


    If I was to trim the fat off of this album, these songs would have to go:

    Los Angeles
    The Only Thing That Matters
    Teenage Satellites

    Those are always skips when I listen to this album.
    RoKKeR likes this.
  11. DooDooBird


    Anyone know what the next single is? My vote would go to Left Alone, that chorus is undeniably the best thing on this album, in my opinion.
    FTank likes this.
  12. FTank

    Prestigious Prestigious

    Agree with almost everything. Good review!
  13. FTank

    Prestigious Prestigious

    I've been thinking about this and I think I'd cut LA, No Future, Rabbit Hole, Brohemian.
  14. My votes would be left alone she's out of her mind or sober
  15. vein.ftm

    Trusted Prestigious

    This album sucks
  16. LosManosFuertes

    Love This Place Supporter

    I've really enjoyed the discussions that have been happening about how Untitled looks now in retrospect. After that record came out I thought that they had changed their game and weren't going back, now it looks like that was just lightning in a bottle or something.
    That being said, I like this record a lot. Definitely not perfect and I think it's maybe being held to an unrealistic standard in some respects because it's blink, but taken for what it is I think it's solid.
  17. efp722


    I'll have to listen to the title track again to find the "cringe-worthly" moments your talking about. Can't say i've noticed them before on that track.

    "Home" is, hands down, the one track on this album I cannot stand. Its the only track i have no issues with skipping.

    Other than that, great write up.
  18. efp722


    Bro Rap
  19. Eml182


    The Japanese Bonus track is fantastic - easily could have been the closer vs. California. While every song could be about Tom (EDIT: Sarcasm), this one seems bittersweet about the friction...

  20. Tata Toothy


    Scott was in the band till 1998 and for most of that time the band was going by the name Blink. When they add the 182 he was on Cheshire Cat and Dude Ranch. After dude ranch Travis took ove .

    But then again no one really remembers or thinks about Scott when it comes to blink 182, now a days.
  21. CMilliken


    Great review Drew. I enjoy the album as a whole, but there are a few misses for me. I'm also one of the very few who enjoyed Neighborhoods.
  22. spencpants Jul 19, 2016
    (Last edited: Jul 19, 2016)

    Can I pet your dog? Prestigious

    Y'all need a proofreader / copy-editor ;-)
    noKings likes this.
  23. mattylikesfilms


    I like this song but the chorus is ehh.. but that's kind of the case for this whole record in my opinion.

    I still like Neighborhoods quite a bit. I never understood the hate behind it. Sure, it's not as great as Untitled by any means, but as someone mentioned in this thread already- that was lightening in a bottle.

    I also think Neigborhoods is much more creative and all around better than California.
  24. FTank

    Prestigious Prestigious

    Nice job adding nothing to the discussion.
  25. CMilliken


    Glad I'm not the only one. When listening now I can tell the production isn't as glossy as their other stuff but it felt like A more mature Blink and I liked that. So California feels like a step backwards in a way even though I do enjoy the album. Plus, I'm not huge on bands bringing in co writers. Don't know why but it bugs most of the time.
    mattylikesfilms likes this.