|We're Sad Too Mark, We're Sad Too|
Tom, Mark, and Travis are all back. They had a re-union tour that made them shitloads of money. A new album is fast approaching retail release. So why is it that I am proclaiming the death of one of the most definitive (and my personal favorite) punk rock bands of all time? Well, as much as it hurts me to say it, but they have ceased to be Blink 182. They might be in name, but just because an entity has a label attached to it does not mean the composition matches the description. Like Ron Artest changing his name to “Metta World Peace,” everyone still knows he is a fucking lunatic who has a propensity for beating the living hell out of spectators if he comes into contact with a thrown plastic cup. For me, there is an “old” Blink 182 that was characterized by specific musical styles and behavior, which has sadly perished in lieu of “new” Blink 182 A.K.A Angels and Airwaves featuring Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker.
A bit of a prelude is in order, I suppose. I probably owe most of my vulgar lexicon to the “Parental Discretion”-type albums produced by Blink 182 produced during my days in elementary school. What could possibly be cooler for an 8 year old than covertly listening to a catchy, fast paced, completely crass CD about doing outright foolish things? Not much, I’ll tell you that much. But as I grew up, Blink 182’s musical style become much more refined from the very raw punk sound of early albums like “Cheshire Cat” to more produced and finished versions. This progression culminated into the holy grail of “Enema of the State,” the band’s breakout album with absolutely sensational singles like Going Away to College and What’s my Age Again, the latter possessing everything that would define what made “old” Blink 182 enjoyable: Simple guitar riffs, a few catchy guitar chords, the drumming mastery of Travis Barker, and irreverent sense of humor while depicting a completely immature guy actively sabotaging a date with a vast array of dick moves. It had me laughing and constantly listening to the tunes with utter delight
Opinions differ on “favorite album” or their “best song”, but most diehard to moderate Blink 182’s fans would agree these guys were at their best when they were melding simple but rhythmically catching punk rock with hilarious on and off stage stunts. Like when they were given a budget to record a music video to record their single Rock Show, but instead filmed themselves driving around California making it rain with their funds, successfully pissing off whatever boneheaded music industry exec made that ill-advised investment. Yet, with the emergence of the self-titled album “Blink 182,” for the first time, I noticed a division within the ranks of die hard Blink followers. There was a definitive shift toward more experimental pieces within their music and Tom Delonge’s, instead of belting out nausea inducing expletives, was singing with a more artistic purpose, despite his lack of understanding that he can’t sing. (He’s more of a “whine in tune with the music” vocalist, and that’s being generous. If there was this kind of crowing cleft quickly resembling the Marianas Trench within the fanbase, you can bet it was even more poignant between band members. This terrible reality was realized when in 2004 the band announced those dreaded words for fans: that they were going on an “indefinite hiatus”
Fast forward past the side projects of +44 and Angels and Airwaves to the current day, where we have, an upcoming album from newly reunited “Blink 182” coming out to store shelves. I had the fortune of hearing the new single relatively early on off of this album, “Up All Night” as well as attending a concert of theirs back in August. As a long time fan, the differences both in concert performance and musical composition were evident to me. They still played a majority of the songs that made them “Old” Blink and had their humorous banter between songs. But these exchanges were brief, almost forced, and the energy they performed songs with just wasn’t nearly on par with what they did back in the day. “Up All Night” further demonstrated that, whatever differences Mark and Travis initially had with Tom’s more mature and artistic direction for the band, have been settled to a point. The simple riffs and chord arrangements have been replaced by synthesizes, reverberating vocals, and a much deeper and emotional theme of songs. Even though I actually thoroughly enjoy both the new single as well as Angels and Airwaves, there is just too much difference between enjoying a band like I do with the current edition of Blink and loving every single rude lyric and catchy composition that defined the “old” Blink. Though it is with a heavy heart I resign myself to this fact, but I admit that the Blink that I once knew and loved is truly dead, replaced by the members of Blink without any of the essence or attitude. Many hardcores were turned off by the self titled album alone, and a lot of my friends disliked Angels and Airwaves, so this may be the point of no return for Blink’s dedication to their new sounds and fanbase that adopts them. Though saddening, I can still take solace in the fact that I was able to grow up alongside “old” Blink and take in every enjoyable moment that they produced. R.I.P “Old” Blink, as one of your lyrics aptly states, “You’ll be sorry when I’m gone.” Truer words have never been spoken.