Blink 182 have just released their latest album, Nine. It’s the second album to feature Alkaline Trios Matt Skiba In place of original member, Tom Delonge, and here, the band seem to have really cemented the new line up.
The First Time opens strong with a hint of energy – something that has been lacking in their most recent output. It’s very vibrant, upbeat – and like the accompanying album cover, very colourful. I’m not going to downplay Tom Delonges importance in the bands history, but Matt Skiba is a very suitable replacement, both as the guitarist, and as co- vocalist.
Happy Days is very reminiscent of the bands self titled record from 2003. It’s pop rock, with a layer of polish to the sound that didn’t exist in the earliest moments of Blinks career. There’s also maturity to these songs that definitely didn’t exist back then. At the end of the day, most will view the more juvenile past of Blink 182 more fondly, but the grown up version of the band absolutely has its merits.
Heaven heavily features Skiba’s vocals, and shows off the great drumming ability of Travis Barker. His ability to apply rhythm tracks from totally different genres, and not only make them work in a pop rock environment, but have it actually boost the track is second to none.
On Darkside, Blink embrace an almost dance vibe, much like Good Charlotte did before them on some of their biggest hits. It’s catchy and fun. First single, Blame It on My Youth, also embraces that electro feel. Mark Hoppus tells the story of his earliest days, while the band musically deliver a very pop oriented number. This has huge commercial appeal, so it’s selection as lead single is a no-brainer.
Generational Divide sees the band ramp up the speeed, and pay homage to the punk rock moments of their past. It’s under a minute long, and proves to be a highlight for me. Run Away is another electro inspired track, one that has a certain level of anguish to it, that calls earlier tracks like “Stay Together For the Kids” to mind.
Black Rain starts off tmospheric and airy, and serves to demonstrate what a great singer Matt Skiba is. In the verses, the song becomes a frantic rhythmic beast, quite infectious. I Really Wish I Hated You is quite possibly the best track that Blink has recorded in years, while Pin The Grenade is another track that showcases the drumming talents of Barker.
No Heart To Speak Of is another example of that very radio friendly pop rock sound that Blink have settled in to. It works for them, but I’d really love to see them put out a super fast, straight forward punk rock record. I know they are still fully capable of energetic rock.
No sooner than I committed those thoughts to the screen, Ransom actually bursts to life, and gives us a minute and a half of energetic punk rock. Just in the nick of time!
On Some Emo S**T is another album highlight. A little emotional in the verses, but featuring a big memorable chorus, and more great rhythm from Barker. Hungover You is a little bit more filler than killer initially, but earns its place with another big and memorable chorus.
Closing out the album is Remember to Forget Me. Another emotion charged track – and I know I’ve said this before, but I really like an album to close on an energetic high, and this is anything but.
Blink 182, understandably, have moved on from dick jokes, and it’s for the better. While this softer more commercial oriented rock is not my “go to” or preferred style, I can understand why this band remains as popular as ever.