Blink 182- California
In the world of Nineties and Noughties punk rock, Blink 182 are legends. With records like Dude Ranch playing a huge role in reigniting the punk movement, and Enema of the State being one of the highest-selling records of the genre, the band really carved out an impressive niche for themselves in musical landscape of that time.
However, following 2003’s self-titled record, the band took a backseat until the release of 2011’s Neighbourhoods, which had very mixed success. I wasn’t too crazy about the record, but I did appreciate that the band was trying something new.
By comparison, California is a straight-out throwback, reminding us of what made fans love Blink 182 in the first place. ‘Bored to Death’ is a notable highlight, and the track ‘Los Angeles’ hikes back to the sounds of Enema, whilst the wacky humour of the band comes in the form of ‘Built this Pool’, a 17-second slice of goofiness. Additionally, the title track and ‘Home is Such a Lonely Place’ are two quieter tracks that add a lot of personality to the record, through thoughtful guitar playing and intimate production.
But this leads to two large problems I have with this record. For a punk rock band, there is a real lack of rawness here. The songs feel squeaky clean, and really lack the roughness that was such an important element of songs like ‘All the Small Things.’ The clean production is so overpowering that there were moments where I even wondered if I was listening to an Imagine Dragons record. Secondly, many of the tracks follow the same song writing structure and sound, and coupled with the clean production, makes the second half of the record really repetitive, and borderline obnoxious.
There seems to be a gaping Tom DeLonge-shaped hole in this record. Hardcore fans will love its throwback sound, as will fans of punk rock. But for me, I found this record is be very middle-of-the-road. Come on Blink 182, what happened to the inner punk in you?
Blink 182- 'Bored to Death'
Blink 182- 'Los Angeles'