I never really got over the teen angst phase of my life — I am destined to live out my punk rock musical preferences for the rest of my life. So when blink-182’s newest album, Nine, came out last Friday, I couldn’t wait to listen.
I got half of what I hoped for. Some of the songs indulged my need for a whiny, screaming voice and drums smashing together in a way that induces headbanging. But a few of the songs sounded much more controlled and mature. It’s as if this punk rock band … aged. Weird.
The first song that comes to mind is “I Really Wish I Hated You.” Moving toward being categorized as a ballad, the song is sort of quiet. The percussion doesn’t come in until about the 15-second mark, and even then it’s so light that I barely noticed it. As the song approaches its chorus, there’s this buildup that seems to lead to a beat drop, but the first chorus is muted. It’s not until the second repetition that the music picks up.
It may seem nitpicky, but this is uncharacteristic of blink-182’s vibe. I didn’t even recognize the singers in “Black Rain.” It sounded like a Fall Out Boy song. Upon further research I realized the man singing the verses is a new band member, Matt Skiba, who replaced founder Tom DeLonge. But even Mark Hoppus, a long-time vocalist, didn’t sound like himself.
The album ends with a true ballad: “Remember to Forget Me.” While the production quality was good, there was one lyric that really bothered me. Hoppus sings out, “Hey, mom, I’m on my own/ Scared to death and far from home.” And I was just thinking, “Dude, you’re 47. Is this really how you feel?”
It seemed less genuine, and more like the band was trying to appeal to a younger audience. It made me wonder who their fans are these days, and whether they are putting on a front to relate to new listeners.
But the album wasn’t all bad! The first two songs, “The First Time” and “Happy Days” were a combination of classic blink-182 and their newer sound. These two tracks lured me in and kept me interested in how the rest of the album would turn out. In “Happy Days,” the verses were a little soft, but the choruses brought everything back together.
“Darkside” was an instant classic. This is exactly what you would expect from the band. It was the perfect combination of punk, pop and dance. The chorus contains all the screaming my heart desires and redeems Skiba, the newbie, in my eyes.
As I mentioned earlier, I never got over my teenage angst, so naturally “On Some Emo Shit” spoke to my soul. You can hear the nostalgia, real or imaginary, in their voices. Unlike in “Remember to Forget Me,” I didn’t think this was as forced, considering that I too will be on some emo shit for the rest of my life.
Though I have my issues with some of the songs, I can’t deny I’ve been playing this album on repeat for the last week and have already added some songs to my favorite playlists. Blink-182 is one of my favorite bands, so I’m definitely super biased here, but if you’re a fan like me, it’s worth the listen.