Blink-182 - California
Blink-182's "California" album was released on July 1, 2016!
Age 5 is an important age in the development of children. At this age the child explores the world around him and learns to express his feelings. He begins to truly understand that thoughts and feelings are truly his. From a kind of disillusionment and understanding of the environment and of the self.
This is how this album feels like to us...
So before the disillusionment and understanding, our young album was preceded by a long period of conflicts between the band members, especially between guitarist / singer Tom DeLonge and two other bassist / singer Mark Hoppus and drummer Travis Barker.
During that time we got a failed and forced album (mentioned later) that sounded like the last twitches of dying followed by many attempts to hold the trio as it is with the same lineup and with the same sound.
And here after that period, comes a new album that redefines the band, its sound, and its future, and punk-pop in general.
We did not get carried away at all, "Blink-182" is the band that led the punk-pop of the 2000s with the dizzying success of two albums, "Enema Of The State" and "Take Off Your Pants And Jacket", with which it led the rock charts and also the mainstream charts and has won dozens of awards. (This is an opportunity to listen to them again if you have not yet had the opportunity).
In 2005 after 6 years of dizzying success, the band took an indefinite hiatus due to internal conflicts and disagreement about the future and creation of "Blink-182". The seeds for conflict were sown in 2002 when Tom decided he wanted to try something different and he formed the "Box Car Racer" band. Since he preferred not to look for a new drummer he asked Travis to serve as the new band drummer but in the bass role, he took somebody else rather than Mark. The event created a distance between the three and in fact, was the trigger for all the problems. This continued as Tom was already becoming unbearable and unable to work with, due to disagreement on his part to everything the other two had written and wanted to do. Add to that the drug addiction and you will understand what happened there.
As the conflicts intensified, the gaps between the band members widened, until they reached a point where they could not even communicate with each other. Imagine what a trio (not a quartet or quintet) that builds itself together, reaches a crazy level of success and suddenly when one of the friends wants to go to the "mall" the other two prefer to go to the "sea" !!
That's exactly how it happened, Tom turned to his video art projects and invested in his new band "Angels & Airwaves", the other two also formed their own band "+44" and later Travis even set up a nice project with DJ AM, in short, the three were busy with their own affairs and would not communicate with each other until 2008.
In September 2008 Travis and DJ AM were involved in a plane crash, the plane with which they went on a tour crashed on the runway at the airport in South Carolina during takeoff. The crash killed all passengers and crew, with Travis and DJ AM the only survivors. Following the tragic incident, the other two band members arrived at the hospital where Travis was hospitalized and accompanied him throughout the treatment. The reunion evoked the desire to reunite and do what they love to do, perform and write music. They even announced this desire at the 2009 Grammy Awards.
But as much as it sounds like a Hollywood script, there is no happy ending here...
The band members who at the time lost their legendary and regular producer Jerry Finn who died of a heart attack, tried to write and produce an album on their own. Emphasis on "tried," because despite the good intentions the matter became complicated and oppressive, with Tom still busy with his second band, writing and recording in San Diego, while the other two were writing and recording in Los Angeles.
In 2011, the album "Neighborhood" was released. It really sounded like a neighborhood, but a dark and remote neighborhood, with no infrastructure, no means, a neighborhood inhabited by heartless, means-free, and sparkless people. They are there only because they need to have a home and a job. They are there because they have to survive, but they have lost all interest in joy or happiness and they concentrate only on the daily routine.
The three failed to keep the fire burning, they did not transmit at all at the same frequency, and until there is already some interaction then it is more in the direction of "war". Despite all the efforts the three fail to recreate the spark, the atmosphere that was in the good times, and working together was just awful. The conflicts arise again when Tom is the one who sows destruction again... he failed to commit to the band and puts his second band as a top priority, even though he claims that music does not really interest him than. Despite the communication issues and despite the substantial dysfunction of the members, Hoppus and Travis decided they want to record a new album, but discover (from Tom's manager) that Tom is finally not interested and wants to leave the band.
After tough long fights with Tom in court, they finish the ordeal and embark on a new path, they recruit Matt Skiba the guitarist and singer of the band "Alkaline Trio" as an official member and started working on a new album, "California".
This is the first album where they work with a new producer other than Jerry (John Feldmann) and this is of course also the band's first album without Tom. The three entered the studio and although they came with a package of ready-made songs written during the period with Tom, they decided to shelve them and write brand new songs. 28 songs were written by the three, with Matt (the new guy) being an integral part of the writing and processing of the songs. They would enter the studio without prior preparation and start working from scratch every day for 18 hours in a row. John made Tom (the main lyricist) write lyrics quickly, every time they would build the skeleton for a song, he would ask Tom to go out for an hour or two and write the lyrics to the song at that moment. So they wrote 28 songs in a 3-4 week period.
And we must say it paid off !!
The album "California" brings the good and familiar sound of the band but in a more mature and diverse way. Although the harmony and combination of Hoppus and Matt is refreshing and different, one feels the lack of Tom, the contrast and the combination that the two voices had together. At the same time, there is no doubt that Matt is bringing something different here, something new and it is a strong incentive that brings the band to the way it sounds on this album.
The album opens with the song "Cynical" which brings the adult point of view of friends today, husbands and fathers with families and not brat teenagers. It puts you straight into the intensity and speed of punk-pop, which you remember you love so much.
From there you move on to "Bored to Death" with the opening of the band's all-too-famous and familiar cast, which indulges a little in the past and asks you to live the moment and not die of boredom.
The song "She's Out Of Her Mind" is a fun song that you will surely want to sing out loud so do not be ashamed, it takes you to the days of teenagers falling in love but from the point of view of an adult.
From there the style goes a bit in a different direction, even more exciting, in "Los Angeles" you feel and hear very well the change the band has undergone, the maturity and the new and exciting directions in the craze that the band is experiencing.
The "Sober" song is already the "stamp" that confirms that the band no longer intends to indulge in the glamorous days of punk-pop, but rather seeks to reinvent itself and lead again in our opinion this fun and exciting genre, so sing with us "na na na na na when I'm sober".
With all due respect to adulthood let's take things in proportion, however, these are punk-pop brats whose entire talk between songs in shows is about poop and pee, so "Built This Pool" came to remind us that Hoopus wants to see naked guys in the pool (hint to a clip where they wanted naked in the song What's my age again). Let's get a little serious with "No Future" and talk about a relationship between him and her, or between them...
The album continues to a slightly gloomier place with "Home is Such A Lonely Place" and "Kings Of The Weekend", "Teenage Satellites" and "Left Alone", and with the incredible talent of the three, you go through an obstacle course of emotions and experiences. Without a doubt this is exactly how we would like to listen to our music.
From there we return for a short time to lightness with "Rabbit Hole" and then again a bit of a mature perspective with "San Diego". A sheer delight of music !! Going back to doing crazy with "The Only Thing That Matters" and picking up the party a bit with glasses in the air and confetti.
Then comes the song named after the album, a different song... after we talked about Los Angeles, San Diego it is impossible without "California". A song of indulgence, love, and longing (for those who have traveled there it is recommended to end here in order to avoid flashbacks or an attack of intense longing). The album ends with the short section "Brohemian Rhapsody" which is basically the closing sentence of the previous song where Tom does not understand what exactly he finds in it.
It is no exaggeration to say that this is a masterpiece album for a band that makes no less than a perfect comeback after a long period of conflicts and problems. This trio just reinvented itself without trying to emulate what it once was. It understands that it has to look at things differently, and also do them differently, and the result came out to her simply superb.
For Listening: Spotify, Apple Music