Blink-182 - Take Off Your Pants and Jacket
Just two years after the band's most successful and third album "Enema of The State" that flew them into space and turned their tour from small, dirty clubs into huge stadiums. The trio was pushed hard by their label to release their fourth album "Take Off Your Pants and Jacket", which was released on June 12, 2001.
By the year 2000, it was already clear that the return of PUNK was led by "Green Day" and "Blink-182", these two bands conquered the American mainstream and broke into the rest of the world. Punk Rock once again returned to the top after the downfall of the Grunge and alongside the rise of Nu-Metal and the success was dizzying. Unlike "Green Day", Blink presented a much more wild, youthful, ridiculous, funny but also brilliant and sparkling musical image. From the lyrics, through the music to the music videos and performances.
After the release of their third (most commercially successful) album, the band underwent an accelerated process of transformation from a small and relatively anonymous Punk Rock band to a "trio of kings" that are played non-stop on worldwide radio stations, broadcast non-stop on MTV, stay in 5-star hotels and fill stadiums to sold-out in USA. After 7 years of hard work, promoting their music in every way possible and non-stop performances, they have finally gained recognition.
After completing the tour in favor of promoting the previous album, the management of their label, MCA, put pressure on the trio and pushed them back into the studio to record the next album. The label wanted to capitalize on the momentum of the previous album's success to generate more money from the glittering Punk-Rock trio. Tom DeLonge said the label's president imposed heavy fines on band members for each day of delay in the album's release. Since the band members were shocked by the success which also put them under a lot of pressure, they did what their label told them to do since they were afraid of getting lost. Even though they were not ready and requested time to get themselves back together, the label did not agree and sent them to the recording studio.
The trio entered the rehearsal room in California and began writing and recording demos for the next album. They wrote more than 12 songs in three weeks and in the end invited their manager Rick DeVoe to listen to the material they recorded. After listening to all the recordings, Rick claimed that there is not a single song among all the songs that is a Blinky "summer" song that will be catchy and will grab the listeners. Tom and Mark Hoppus were furious at Rick's criticism and claims and decided to prove to him that they know how to write a summer, sticky, and hit song within 10 minutes. Mark went home, took his guitar, sat down on the floor, and wrote "The Rock Show" and Tom also went home, took his guitar (but did not sit on the floor), and wrote "First Date". These songs became the two first singles to come out of the album and were a huge success.
Immediately after the demos ended, the trio entered the studio together with producer Jerry Finn and his team with whom they recorded their previous album and began recording for the album "Take Off Your Pants and Jacket". Travis Barker's drums were first recorded for only three days and then the band moved to "Signature Sound" studios to continue recording the guitars and vocals. The band members said that despite the pressure of the label they took everything lightly and often went out for long dinners, watched TV series together, and mostly enjoyed their time while recording. When a few weeks later the label executives flew to the studio to hear what the three had created for the next album, the band members played a joke by only playing them two joke songs called "Fuck a Dog" and "When You Fucked Hitler". Tom said the label executives went crazy and got angry at the band members and the production, they kept pushing the trio to create the same album as before.
This is where the first cracks began to form in the band's relationship, Mark agreed with the label and wanted to continue creating music in the same style of the previous album only stronger and bigger and Tom however wanted to take the music to the rougher and heavier directions of rock. Tom worked on honing his playing abilities along with working on the lyrics to show a slightly more mature side and Mark took the lyrics in a gloomier direction. This was the first time the three had worked separately from each other, almost in isolation, which created an atmosphere of unsaid competition of which the two would produce more poignant and intelligent lyrics, resulting in often conflicts over the choice of final lyrics. To us, it may not sound different but Mark said he was tortured in every word he wrote and sang on this album because he felt he had to adapt to Tom and Travis.
Although it is considered by critics as a concept album, there is no specific narrative or plot here that takes you on a structured journey along with the songs. As there are a number of themes intertwined throughout the songs on the album, which reflects the change that Blink is beginning to go through (and will mature in the fifth album bearing the band's name) and moves from writing about laughs, teen jokes, and sex to lyrics about crises, ruined homes, depression, and hardship.
The album opens with "Anthem Part Two" which is a scathing critique of the adults who throw all their accusations at children that the only thing they do is grow up. Already here we get a song that instead of talking about teen parties, is talking about the frustrations and abuse they go through because their parents are screwed "Everything has full to pieces..."
The next song "Online Songs" was written by Mark as a sequel to the song "Josie" from the second album "Dudue Ranch" which was released in 1997.
The second single from the album "First Date" was written by Tom and inspired by the first date he had with his wife Jennifer Jenkins when he took her out to the "SeaWorld" in San Diego.
The next song "Happy Holidays, You Bastard" is just meant to annoy parents wherever they are with harsh words and a musical explosion.
Moving on to the most melancholy song on the album "Story of a Lonely Guy" that tells the story of a heartbroken boy who experiences rejection from a girl right before high school prom.
"She makes me feel like it's raining outside
And when the storm's gone, I'm all torn up inside
I'm always nervous on days like this, like the prom
I get too scared to move, 'cause I'm a fuckin' boy"
And in a sharp transition from melancholy we move on to the bouncy hit song "The Rock Show" that launched this album to the top of the Billboard charts and is all about the celebration of love for music, relationships and life. A fast and fun punk rock hit that tells the story of a couple of teenagers who meet each other in a rock show and despite challenges and difficulties they remain in love.
And again we move on to Mark's gloomier side, "Stay Together for the Kids" perhaps Blink's darkest song, which talks about his parents' divorce and is written from the point of view of an unanswered child who has a hard time understanding how his parents got into this situation and how it got him in it. One of the songs that influenced us a lot ...
"So here's your holiday
Hope you enjoy it this time
You gave it all away
It was mine"
Although musically the song will sound very happy to you, it still continues a bit of the gloomy feeling, "Roller Coaster" was written by Mark following a nightmare he had when he just started dating his current wife Skye. The song talks about the anxieties and restlessness of a partner when he finds the perfect partner for him but never ceases to be afraid of losing her.
Now move on to something a little happier as Tom recounts his summer memories that included quite a few challenges and difficulties but lots of enjoyment from parties, skateboarding and recreation on the beach.
According to Mark and Tom the next two songs "Everytime I Look for You" and "Give Me One Good Reason" were not written on a particular theme or event but in general on Punk Rock music and its part in youth.
Another song that gets the heavy and dark character and is one of the strongest songs on the album "Shut Up", is a snapshot of a ruined family, a familiar territory of the band members combined with elements of isolation, alienation and departure.
"Get the fuck up", she said, "your life is meaningless
It's going nowhere, you're going nowhere
You're just a fuck up ", she said," I'll live alone instead "
She said, "you do not care", I know, I do not care"
The album ends in an optimistic and positive tone with a relationship that began as a friendship and continued into a romantic relationship of love "Please Take Me Home".
"Please take me home
Too late, it's gone
I bet you're sad
This is the best time we ever had"
Musically this trio is at its peak, strong / weak riffs, rising / falling breaks, melodic singing alongside screams and all the best that Punk Rock can provide musically with Blink's musical signature. But we must point out that for us there is one person here who transcends them all (maybe we are biased) and that is the drummer Travis. What he gives to the songs is phenomenal and reminds us very much of the drummer of "The Who" which is Keith Moon. Travis' sticks open at a dance party with each song anew and skip between parts of his drum set as if it were a prom dance from "Bridgerton." It turns any regular slow or fast punk rock rhythm into a sophisticated combination of rhythms that change with quick transitions and murderous frequency. For us he is a legendary drummer who beyond the band's musical signature he also gives an amazing sound that takes the songs to another level.
The aforementioned album is the band's first and only album to reach number one on the Billboard charts, it also sold over 14 million copies. It is also the first Punk Rock album to reach number one on the charts. It came out in three different versions of "red airplane" (take off), "yellow pants" (your pants) and "green jacket" (and jacket). And if we have already mentioned the name of the album, then its source is a pun on masturbation: "Take off your pants and jack it".
Listen to the album at: Spotify, Apple Music