blink-182 'One More Time...'
An album review
One More Time…
by Josiah Hughes and Sam Sutherland
Jos: In July of 2017, we released our first episode of Blink-155. If you’re reading this newsletter, you are likely aware of it, but if not, what followed was over a half-decade of inscrutable and self-indulgent meta commentary/comedy about culture thinly veiled as noughties nostalgia music criticism and/or unnecessarily comprehensive pop podcasting.
The show was, obviously, a definitive work for ourselves, but it couldn’t have existed the way it did without the all-encompassing black hole that was blink-182 at the time. blink, a band that had gone through eras of perfect scrappy punk through increasingly industry-friendly pop music, then inner turmoil and a series of floppie beanies and flop eras, were then joylessly touring the B and C circuits with Matt Skiba shittily standing in for Tom DeLonge, who had himself been quite shitty for a while. The tensions and contradictions and general struggle made for fascinating pop-punk paradoxes that drove our (stupid, needlessly long) conversations.
By the time Tom rejoined the band, we had already moved on from this band in conversation, and I had moved on from them entirely. I saw Blink-155 as an exercise in saying farewell to each song, one at a time, and enjoying the highs while finding good in the lows — a weekly eulogy to a part of myself that needs to fuck off. In that way, Blink-155 was perhaps a podcast about death. But both Mark and Travis have now cheated death, while Tom has beaten the odds (or hobnobbed with the right propagandists) to prove himself “correct” as an alien enthusiast. A full circle has been completed and closed, no longer the perpetual ouroboros that once functioned as the engine for two grown men to babble endlessly into the night.
With that in mind, the arrival of a new blink-182 album with Tom DeLonge in “the year of our lord” 2023 feels like a visitation from the past. And because they took so long, it’s a mostly unwelcome visit. While they were in the desert, so to speak, blink-182 achieved their highest possible place in pop culture, with rappers and social media stars and DJs and normies and alts all singing their praises endlessly. But they didn’t quite finish the album ahead of the so-called ~vibe shift~ and now we’re presented with the idea of fun and funny mall punk in a time where recession, inflation, dying online and IRL infrastructures, and, most notably, a barrage of gruesome images from constant violent genocidal acts are constantly front-of-mind. There has never been a better time to put away childish things.
Loving something as mainstream and corporate and meaningless as blink-182 was a kind of naughty indiscretion, a whimsical and winking flex of privilege, but doing so now feels gauche. Or it just feels kind of, for lack of a better term, Reddit, and I feel just as much self-loathing for listening to this without headphones as I do for being so excited to play the new Mario game that comes out on the same day. The so-called “Peter Pan syndrome” has blossomed into a terminal, seemingly inoperable illness.
And yet here we are, staring at 17 new blink-182 songs, forced to keep swallowing from the same bowl of slop we joyfully started choking down in July of 2017. The title One More Time… evokes a stock line of dialogue from an action movie, where a retired cop is forced to pick up his badge and gun again. (And to be clear, blink-182 are basically cops.) Perhaps a better title from the same pool of stock action movie lines might’ve been I’m Getting Too Old for This Shit.
Sam: I genuinely doubted this day would ever come. In the grim post-”Edging” silence, I allowed the idea that Blink would just break up again before finishing an album that was very clearly not even started before they announced it to take hold in my mind, to the extent that I remain skeptical that there will be a full collection of songs to write about when we actually finish this newsletter on Friday morning. That would still be perfect, right? Just that old placeholder artwork and the endless giving of rope.
When we stopped doing the pod I wondered what would happen if this day did come, and I can say this now — part of me assumed we’d just end up doing the pod again. But I’m grateful that Josiah instead found a new and in many ways equally painful avenue for processing our feelings and takes, because I really am dreading this the way I used to dread episodes that started with Josiah messaging me in the morning like “i hope you’re ready to DIE FOR REAL tonight i have an IMMACULATE PLATTER OF PAIN awaiting you” (he does not talk like this). And I even had fun at the Blink show! I wouldn’t have missed it! Maybe this will be good? I did love “Blame it on My Youth” at one point but I was for sure losing my mind at that time, too.
Blink-155 and, to a lesser extent, Blink-182 is how I have marked the passing of time over the last half-decade of my life, and I’m genuinely glad that we’re still here to do this together, even if it's probably going to suck and be depressing. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Anthem Part 3”
Sam: This sounds like some pop-punk Belgian band using GarageBand drums for a YouTube cover that’s like “What if Lewis Capaldi was Blink-182???” (I have never heard Lewis Capaldi.) I appreciate how teeny tiny the guitar lead sounds, though. Kind of a bold production decision? Once that chorus hits… they got me. These fuckers got me again. I love my boys. Only Blink-182 rules.
Jos: The wimpy little guitar tone is so good. I gotta be honest, the hits and softboi guitar off the top get me very excited. They’ve managed to capture the feeling of a blink “Anthem” song (although I’m still feeling a bit annoyed that they open with an “Anthem” song because it’s a level of pandering that, while not below blink or even below me, still feels like they’ve been reading too much of their own lore). Okay now that the guitars are opening up it sounds like a bad Ataris song. And now it’s gone full Euro punk. The fast part sounds like it would be on a German snowboarding DVD called like Bad Monkey Plow that you can’t find any record of online but your friend’s older brother definitely had it. Tom sounds like shit on this song, wow. Sounds like Coheed. This is definitely a Sam chorus hahaha. That’s what this sounds like — a Fest band who says they are blink-182 worship but you can’t really hear it. It’s funny how we went from “earth is dying help me Jesus” to this awful half-time outro about how they finally started doing therapy. This is definitely an album about being an old guy who finally realized it’s not “gay” to tell your buddies you love them.
“Dance With Me”
Jos: I can’t help but wish that blink would do a whole ass Ramonescore song. Instead, this definitely sounds exactly like that last Angels & Airwaves album, one of those songs where Tom was super horny and creeping on a model in the music videos. The hammer-on riff is okay, it definitely gets stuck in my head. There’s a little bit of AI Dude Ranch Tom coming through in the autotune. This song is embarrassing as hell but it’s growing on me. The chorus sounds like 5 Seconds of Summer. Obviously the better band who sings “olé” is the Bouncing Souls. But I do love the verses just being the two chords creating tension that lets loose with the chorus. Considering I’m never gonna listen to this band again after today, this song could be worse. The bridge is kinda good, but singing “dance with me” is almost worse than the “olé” part. Update: Now that I’m hearing it in situ, it is a pretty good second song. I think it’s because “Anthem Part 3” was so bad.
Sam: When I first heard this on the heels of the first two actually good singles, I realized that, okay, this album was not actually going to be good, obviously, why would it be. Just a wretched dogshit song about nothing that I would never listen to if it wasn’t for work (this is real labour) that made me genuinely mad for how bland it was. But now that I’m riding the high of “Anthem Part 3” I have to admit that the rest of it rocks. I get that Blink need to write songs for an incredibly diverse audience, and if “More Than You Know” is for me, this song is for people whose first dance at their wedding was to “First Date” who get offended when you remind them that it’s one of the worst songs ever written. And that’s fine! Unlike Josiah, I am listening to Blink-182 until I die. Play this song at my funeral so it’s the final thing I hear (please don’t, also I wouldn’t hear it sorry).
“Fell in Love”
Jos: I will never forget where I was when I first heard this song. We were on vacation in Copenhagen, reaching the end of our trip where the hotel room we first found lovely considering its price was starting to feel like a tiny claustrophobic prison. The TV didn’t have any channels and kept signing us out of apps, so I had to manually type in an email address and password on the broken remote to watch the bizarrely empty Danish Disney+ every single day (Netflix was mysteriously deleted from the TV halfway through our stay), and we were starting to notice weird stains in the corners of the room that no one ever cleans. I was sitting on the toilet with a sliding door that doesn’t close properly, and Sara was trying to find something to watch on the TV in the other room. It was a weird, windowless room which made the time of day unclear, and my digestive tract was running wild from Danish pastries and smørrebrød. I happened to see there was a new blink song, so I clicked through and genuinely thought the start of the song was a Danish pre-roll ad for some kind of European heart pill or mystery sandwich spread. I kept scrambling for the Skip Ad button. I guess it’s an interpolation of the CURE, but it makes me feel SICK! They gotta unpolate that shit!! The rest of the song is absolutely awful. It sounds like Nine, and the call-and-response vocals are terrible. The chorus sounds like an MGK B-side without any of the swag. When Tom sings about “having sex all night” it’s soooo bad. I’m glad Danish Disney+ was able to drown out the sounds of me listening to this (as well as the toilet sounds), because this is very shameful. Also, are they trying to grab listens from people who are searching for “The Rock Show” with the wrong title?
Sam: Putting a line about boning all night long into the Cure’s “Close to Me” is a pretty funny idea — sure, the Cure is good, but they’re TOO SUBTLE about fucking. This one really makes me wish we were still doing the pod because you know the YouTube videos for this would be incredible. We’d probably have to wait a year but all those “First Date” couples will have anniversary slideshows ready to rock soon enough and they will be amazing. Let’s agree to meet back here in one year and find out. Put a reminder in my calendar. BELATED EDIT: Wait THIS is the song Robert Smith is on? He has a co-writing credit? Hold up is that because he actually was in the stu or is it one of those preemptive legal credits? What the fuck? Hahahaha yes. Robert Smith and Ryan Tedder, such a dynamic songwriting duo, finally together! Thank you, Blink.
Sam: I was feeling pretty low after the sex cure song when here comes another song for the me portion of the Blink audience (I notice Josiah isn’t capitalizing blink but I am, which I appreciate as our individual house style). Got that “All of This” guitar tone in the verses while incredible Tom moments abound: “laughter from the children,” “innocence and magic for all” (maybe?), “I will reach the summit to hold you in my arms with a view.” I assume this is what Angels and Airwaves sounds like, and it’s the first song on the album to not feel like a true Mark AND Tom joint, but it’s also the best thing so far so maybe I should be happy with Mark being relegated to “ahs” in the chorus. When Tom comes in after the (vibed out, love it) bridge with the super-distorted “welllllcome” I was like “hahaha I love this album I will always love this album I will always be the same person I was in 1997 oh well.”
Jos: I scrolled ahead and saw the, er, Obvious thing that you realized about this album, so I’ll give it a second, but this is definitely some of Tom’s fake post-hardcore music that he loves to make. It really just sounds like early Skillet or something. Not a compliment (it’s not always a compliment when I say things sound Christian, although it usually is). Something that I suppose is interesting about this album is that it’s slightly less blink-182 doing an impression of blink-182 and more the band comfortably being themselves, because Tom is such a psycho with so many weird ideas. But it has this kind of adolescent angst that, for a 50-year-old man, is even more unnatural than singing “shoo-be-doo I love you in high school,” like a near-senior citizen trying to plug in to hip youth culture, but he still thinks hip youth culture is Cloud Nothings and Wavves.
“One More Time”
Jos: This album definitely feels like an album that was made after the members of blink-182 read their own Wikipedia a bunch. They were like, damn we really are an American rock band formed in Poway, California, in 1992. This kind of navel-gazing is more or less what I expected from Tom’s big comeback. At first I thought it was all a little too literal, but if there’s anything they’ve taught us over the years it’s that they’re really, really bad at using metaphor or nuance. I think there’s some kind of truth to the idea that millennials think they’re special snowflakes, not in an alt-right or boomer way but more in the sense that everything we experience, we act like we’re the first ones who ever experienced that. Which is why all of these new blink songs have comments like “I’m 38, and this song made me call my buddy Gongshow that I used to play Sega with after school until we had a falling out because he didn’t like Ecco the Dolphin.” Like the universal pain of getting older is only happening to millennials, and never has or will happen to anyone else. I think the clumsy dumb-guy sadness of this song matches that perfectly. I also love when Travis sings.
Sam: Embarrassing now that I’ve listened to this album three times (I take my job seriously) but it took getting to this track on my first full playthrough to realize that they are really just trying to do self-entitled again. Like a retconned horror franchise, THIS really is the album that should have followed, and it makes me really wonder what some of these ideas — I am working under the assumption that songs are like spiritual eggs that people drop throughout their lifetime I guess? — would have sounded like if we got them in 2005. But I guess there hadn’t been enough brushes (pun not initially intended, but it’s good) with death to get this kind of introspection, and honestly, I did get very misty the first time I heard it because I am a millennial inventing the feelings of growing older for the first time. As discussed to death back in our podcasting years, I always struggled with Blink’s obvious attempts to relate to their perceived audience, and having them drop that agonizing performance of adolescence to just BE REAL WITH ME FOR THREE MINUTES is magic and I love it. Everyone’s dying but Blink-182 is forever.
“More Than You Know”
Jos: The piano at the start of this song is insanely vibey. It’s sooo sick. There’s definitely some real pathos that could have been mined in this album. But when it comes in, it sounds like what I imagine new Millencolin sounds like… why can’t they remember what fast blink sounds like? Why is it always so European? Also, maybe it’s just in the lyric video, but why does it sound like the master volume of the song is turned down at the 30 second mark? Speaking of Marks, it’s so funny when he sings “Your bed is the last battlefield”.... Reminds me of dads calling their bed “the ol’ work bench.” I think the chorus of this song is kinda cool, and I love the poppy little “ooo ooo” things that are in the background sometimes, but Tom’s yelling is soooo bad. It sounds like he just heard Minor Threat yesterday.
Sam: Fresh off my big-brain revelation a few minutes ago, this feels like another near-self-entitled track that got run through some EZdrummer plugins for maximum heaviness. Loved this when it came out, love it even more in context. It’s a shame we’re not halfway through this album yet because it would feel great to just commit and say it’s officially good but this is the one-third mark which is obviously not good. Honestly it kind of sounds like +44 trying to write a Blink song? But Josiah is wrong, as usual, because Tom’s yelling is amazing. Also I have listened to the whole album and I know he hasn’t and it’s so funny being in the future and knowing how much worse it’s going to get for him. Shh.
“Turn This Off!”
Sam: When these lyrics leaked in pixelated Reddit form, they looked pretty bad — a funny song about cancel culture from Blink-182 is just what the discourse needs! But hearing them sing those same bad lyrics, well, it’s fine. Can’t believe THIS is where we get classic strained Mark vocals. A rare instance where the Tom-less joke song that preceded it (“Built This Pool”) was probably better.
Jos: I don’t much care for these kinds of fast rude limerick songs, to be honest. And I’m sure the lyrics about cancel culture are fucking atrocious, but at least we can’t hear them! I will say this — “Built This Pool” sounded like a fake pop-punk song from a ‘90s movie, while this one really does sound like a novelty NOFX or Vandals song. And those are two bands you definitely want to sound like if you’re trying to write a sorta lightly libertarian anti-cancel culture song.
“When We Were Young”
Jos: It’s so funny that they wrote a jingle for the shitty expensive Warped Tour Coachella. You can practically hear that this song was designed to play over bad drone footage of a bunch of millennial losers dropping a few thou to see “all of the bands.” It’s cool that Gob’s Tom Thacker will be there to play with Sum 41, though. Would love to chop it up with him. This song feels like a demo that hasn’t been quite finished yet, but there’s still something there. A lot of these songs go to the chorus too quickly and it feels kinda insecure, there are often a lot of interesting vibes (that usually sound like Angels & Airwaves) that just blast right into the big part. Does Travis hate foreplay? I thought he was an expert lover…. The chorus is kind of interesting and seems to possibly have a unique time signature. But this song also kinda sounds like classic rock like Cheap Trick or something. It’s like the Detroit Rock City soundtrack. That would be a good movie, a 38-year-old father of three scrambling to find a sitter and sell his hobby car so he can pay $12,000 to take his common-law high school sweetheart to watch Bowling for Soup in a parking lot in Vegas and hopefully work up the gumption to propose in the pit at like 3:45pm.
Sam: It makes me feel very stupid to be asking this, but — is this actually just straight spon-con? I recently realized that the When We Were Young nu metal equivalent (SiCk NeW wOrLd) is run by the firm that manages almost all those bands, so it would make sense that the same was true for the much dorkier iteration. Josiah’s right, the chorus is cool, but the forced nostalgia feels so targeted that I just can’t get down with any of it. This is the “Going Away to College” of this record but with more branded cool down zones. Impossible to imagine System of a Down or Korn writing a song like this, but I will admit I am lightly amused by the exercise of imagining a single about moshing with all your best high school friends sandwiched between songs about the Armenian genocide and being diddled by a family member.
Jos: Man I love this song hahaha. I haven’t listened to it since we spent over 6 hours talking about the lyrics, one word at a time, and didn’t even make it through Tom’s verse. That’s the real shit right there, the shit that gets me misty-eyed — doing every stupid idea that crossed my mind for half a decade, and Sam willingly going along with it. The “Edging” word by word lyric episodes were almost definitive because they proved we could really do anything at all, and still enjoy it, even if it’s unbelievably difficult and very few people are listening. It was a kind of zen acceptance that yes, you can just do things even if they get 0 views, and that was also kind of a realization that we could also not do that and have some free time every once in a while. And I owe it to this hilariously shitty, bouncy jock jam that I really love for that reason.
Sam: We’ve reached that classic line of demarcation between Josiah and I because I can’t listen to this song, I hate it, I have forced myself to let it ride for the purpose of honestly reacting to this album as a complete work but I will never listen to it again after this moment. I will always cherish those six hours as some of most pod moments we ever had, but listening back to the thing that killed us is simply too much to go through again. Will still sing along with all my heart next time they come to town obviously.
“You Don’t Know What You’ve Got”
Jos: Mark’s cancer song is definitely one of the better ones, and kinda sounds like the big windows-down alt rock he does best. I love all the stupid drum tones, like Trav was just throwing on different big-room reverb plug-ins for each section. He’s just like me. This seems like a song that would’ve been written in like 2012. I think the chorus comes in too early again and then the song has nowhere to go (and the chorus reminds me a lot of this “new Weezer” that I love). It’s a nice little bouncy tune though, and feels like what the Tom-less blink had been going for on a song like “Left Alone.” Definitely won’t listen to it again.
Sam: Yo “Left Alone” is a good comparison. This would have been the best song on Nine but it’s feeling pretty extraneous here. That said it’s probably one of the only melodies that was stuck in my head first listen. “‘Adam’s Song’ but make it cancer’ is probably going to be a winning formula for a lot of people, and I bet Mark is really earnest in the Zane Lowe about it, but like Josiah I will skip this every time it comes on moving forward (because unlike Josiah I will continue to voluntarily listen to this album).
Jos: This sounds like one of those ‘80s new wave covers of a California Deluxe song that furries would make and put on YouTube for some reason. I can understand the urge to make something like this, especially since these are a bunch of old guys who love the Cure, but the vibes are absolutely wretched. When it’s chill, it’s not that bad — hell, even the pre-chorus is okay, but the big chorus with Tom following the synth line is sooo grotie ahahah. I can already see the nasty animated cassette tape and the font that will appear on the lyric video. You know when dork-ass “dirtbag left”-wannabe shitposters used to share image edits that said like, “Erm, You Should Delete Your Account” on an ‘80s background? This song sounds like how those look.
Sam: Cheeky title! I think this song would actually be good if they removed all the “wave” elements. The melodies are good! The verse kind of sounds like Alkaline Trio which is pretty funny! Agree about the pre-chorus! Chorus itself sounds like Angels and Airwaves but in a way that would make me think “should I listen to more Angels and Airwaves?” Blink will never top the integration of their shared affection for the Cure that is “All of This” and it’s so funny that this album has two infinitely worse failed attempts.
Sam: It’s not just the repetition of the phrase “Bad News” — the chorus does sound like “Portions for Foxes” right? Where’s that Jenny Lewis songwriting credit? Sexist much? The pre-chorus that only happens once is sick and initially convinced me I like this song but I just like about ten seconds of it. This is starting to feel like the second hour of TV repair videos. I should probably reveal that Josiah sent me a leak of the album so we’re at least writing this on Thursday and not Friday morning, but the idea of waking up early to listen to this is making me depressed in a way that feels oddly familiar.
Jos: By the way I am up early on Friday morning adding the YouTube embeds and giving this shit another read-through, which is disorientingly tedious. When this song starts, it’s very good. The cousties, the warm vocals, it’s so cute. However, it immediately turns into another modern “blink worship” band that sounds nothing like blink. This is pop-punk for guys who have framed Bob’s Burgers flash art on their wall and know the exact angles to take photos of Lifetime vinyl variants so that the flash doesn’t reflect off the sleeve. It’s music for guys who fold and stack all their Descendents shirts better than a Hot Topic employee, and constantly launder them despite having never once had B.O. in their 3+ decades on earth. It’s for dudes with barely-healed lip piercing marks who punish me to go see that No Pressure band live, and I pretend I’ve never heard them because I don’t want to hurt their feelings. If they’d just calm down a bit, blink would have had a nice Enema-era song here, but there’s way too much Defend Pop-Punk going on here. Sometimes I think I would love to turn that Defend Pop-Punk assault rifle on myself. Also is Mark embodying a character who is getting a divorce or is he revealing something? He does seem like the most divorced member of the band, despite what the facts may tell us.
Jos: It’s interesting how they’ve subverted the concept of an “interlude,” which we often associate with maybe an ambient or abstracted melodic section that might play with other motifs, or even sew one song into another via a kind of aural bridge. Instead, Tom said what if an interlude was one of the most jarring and overproduced and bizarrely left-field sections of the album, but still short enough that it doesn’t really have time for the listener to process it. The interlude also has the hilarious high, single-note piano plinking that those alt-rock bands who had a floor tom player put in all of their songs after they heard Kanye’s “Runaway.” This sounds like what I imagine Portugal. The Man sounds like.
Sam: This would be a lot harder to rap over than the band’s previous interludes… but maybe we should try? This is the most Neighborhoods moment on the album and I actually kind of love it even if it’s strange to have a loose half-demo on this immaculately fussed-over album. Why not just finish this song? Let those plinks ride, baby!
Sam: People will focus on the way Tom twists the pronunciation of “turpentine” to rhyme with “kerosine,” only to pronounce it correctly a minute later when the rhyme scheme changes ONLY TO return to the initial pronunciation seconds later, and they’ll be right (you could argue this is spoiled by the winking conclusion, but I will not). This is so perfectly Tom I fell back in love with the album in this precise moment last night when I went out for a walk to finish my first playback (started while washing the dishes which is pretty funny since this is where the band’s ear for interpolation turns to the unlikely source of Anna Kendrick’s “Cups”). Add Mark singing about the ocean in the bridge, and you’ve got the best track on the album. Not sure how I’ll feel in a day or a year, but this is all I need from my special guys being back together.
Jos: There’s a lot to dig into here, but first, why are there Mumford era handclaps at the start? I really don’t want to admit how much of the Zane Lowe interview I watched, but there is a funny part where they reveal that Tom has never heard of Post Malone. Maybe he really does think Cloud Nothings and the Lumineers are modern music? The “een” and “ine” pronunciation switch is kind of amazing. I was going to tattle and freak out until he did the self-aware wink about it at the end, and I agree with Sam that it’s perfect. It pairs with the next song nicely because it’s kind of pod-related, someone bullying you for pronouncing something wrong so you make it part of your whole thing. The song itself doesn’t sound like blink-182 at all, but it does kind of sound like all the songs on an Atticus comp at once. When Tom says “take a pound of ecstasy, blah blah blah,” I feel a level of cringe that I haven’t felt since Neighborhoods, so the band really did need him all along to plumb new depths of embarrassing. It’s an interesting throwback to call a song something like “Turpentine,” makes me think of Modest Mouse’s “Dramamine,” Beck’s “Novacaine” and Bush’s “Glycerine.” There’s something about this song that feels very earnest and true to the band, but in a way that makes me feel very uncomfortable.
Jos: Even though there’s no cussing in the song itself, it was still age-gated and could not be embedded from YouTube. It’s just too hardcore! Tim Armstrong is certainly a divisive character. On the one hand, the facts surrounding his relationship with the Distillers’ Brody Dalle, whom he met when she was 16 and he was in his 30s, are all very terrible and villainous on his part. But, separating the art from the artist, he’s also partly responsible for the best song of 2023, Bonk! Bonk!’s timeless “One Time,” which I genuinely do listen to at least 3 times a week. This little hardcore song is decidedly less cringe than the usual attempts at hardcore that Tom has tried on Boxcar Racer. I was skipping around the Zane Lowe interview, mostly to hate-watch Zane’s pants, and it seemed like Mark knew nothing about this song, like he didn’t know Tom sings on it with Travis. I wonder if he’s even heard it. Also I’d like to think the lyrics, “shut up, you talk too much,” are directed at Blink-155, and, more specifically, me.
Sam: If only Tim Armstrong had given Blink “One Time.” What is this and why is it here. The most genuinely baffling moment on an album that has “Blink Wave” and samples “Close to Me.” Trying to see this whole album through the cynical prism of audience demographics, who on earth is this one for? Seems like a prop for interviews so be able to talk about how this album “brings all of the band’s disparate influences together” or creates a “genre jambalaya” (pretty sure you can’t say that) or something. But I guess as Josiah has pointed out I do relate to the sentiment.
Sam: Is this about Matt Skiba? I feel like I’ve been asking a lot of questions throughout this process but that’s because this album just begs so very many, like did Mark kill Matt Skiba? Pretty sure I love this. When they stop trying to prove a point and just write Blink 182 songs, they’ve still got it! Just checked the Wikipedia “One More Time”-style and this is one of the only songs without co-writers. The other one? “Hurt (Interlude)!” Interesting!
Jos: Hahaha dude I also thought this was about Matt Skiba. I wonder where he was buried. To be honest, I can’t remember how to figure out what is stage right, and I also don’t remember what side Mark usually stands on. These are hopefully the kinds of details I will never learn or remember about this band I am trying to forget. It’s cool how he says, “We’ll always have that coffee life.” I just realized I’ve always longed to have a true coffee companion, a brewed broth brother who’s constantly slurping the soup. Maybe I’ll meet him, one day. I agree this song is pretty good. I hate that they are reusing the “First Date” lead, but it’s a cute lil punk song, and it’s funny that Tom does some “Repeater” guitar chugs in the bridge.
Jos: Because I’m a freak who is trying to rid myself of this band but obviously never will, I still keep checking the blink Reddit and looking for leaks and tidbits and pathetic simp posts and whatever else. So I knew there was hype about the album closer. Seeing that it’s called “Childhood” and exceeds 4 minutes, I expected it to be a big Explosions in the Sky cry-fest like MGK’s “Twin Flame” (great tune). Instead, this is truly a bizarre song and I think I kind of love it. I’m reminded of the time I started a fight between Smash Mouth and the Smashing Pumpkins, which was so funny because it’s hard to imagine two more disparate artists. But this song does sound like both Smash Mouth and the Smashing Pumpkins, opening with some bouncy little Shrek music before landing on a kind of noodly Adore-era singalong. Then, of course, it hits a new Weezer chorus, but then there are those 2010s synths that sound like the Flaming Lips or early David Bazan solo stuff. I don’t know, this is weird as hell. It’s definitely not good, but as someone who likes new Simpsons and new Weezer and every single Neil Young album, it’s definitely fascinating. I’ll probably be revisiting this weird lil tune.
Sam: Damn dude you nailed it. I was so excited for you to get here and you’ve captured the “genre jambalaya” (no?) they’ve got cooking perfectly. I actually think when it opens up the chorus kind of rocks until Tom’s voice dips low in a head-to-head battle with that autotune and it’s either the worst or the best thing on the album. “Two thousand twenty three / who the fuck are we” is amazing. An anthem for our times. Just incredible that an album I’m pretty sure I mostly like (even if it doesn’t seem that way reading back) ends with a song called “CHILDHOOD.”
Sam: I finished writing out my song-by-song stuff and… just kept listening to the album. Didn’t even think about it. This will probably land somewhere in the California zone for me — I wouldn’t tell you it was good, but I also know all the words by now (this never happened with Nine, no idea how that album goes outside of “blamey blamey”). Going to listen to this until it’s etched in there and I know it. This is maybe damning the boys with faint praise, but this is at least the best Blink album since self-entitled and it’s not even close. And I’m sorry for the psych-out when the first two singles came out, that was Josiah’s idea and several people got really mad at me about it, Ashley even told me I was an idiot. But look at this masterpiece you have now. I wonder if anyone will read it? I guess you listened to 10000 hours of a podcast. Someone should just text-to-speech this and the pod can live again. Although the real lesson here is that just like Mark and Travis, you can’t kill the pod no matter how hard you try. And Josiah, I won’t wait until you get cancer, you know I love you.
Jos: For fuck’s sake, I just started the album again too. Ugh. One more time and then it’s back to listening to difficult Resident Advisor/Forced Exposure shit. I’m glad that we did this exercise, and I guess I just wish there was a different topic that we both had this intense of a mutual passion and disdain for, but it’s very fun to be blabbing about tunes in this shared Google doc and saying hi to one another when we see the other one’s also in there typin’ away. Ultimately, this is definitely a new blink-182 album with Tom, and I don’t think anyone would like it as much as they do if the band hadn’t done the Skiba era for a decade. I love you too, Sam, even though you don’t respect the grammar style guide I’m trying to establish here (lower case b, italics instead of all caps, etc.).
I guess there’s only one question left: What will we do when they release more songs?
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