I’ll apologise if this sounds bitter but I write honestly as someone who is a huge huge Blink-182 fan. My first proper punk show was Blink at the Electric Ballroom in 1999 and everything about me and the life I live now is influenced by them. Back in the early 2K era being a stupid man child was the absolute height of being cool and funny. People like Johnny Knoxville and Bam Margera were able to take the inane sketches they added onto the end of skateboarding videos and make pretty much all the money. On the musical side Blink-182 were the punk rock poster children for this new generation of idiots doing stupid things. I thought it was hilarious. I was a teenager and seeing grown men “in their 20s” doing dumb shit was a blast and something I emulated both in the life I led and the music I made.
Then the emo explosion happened. All those fun time bands started making more serious albums and dressing in the fashion du jour. Look no further than MXPX frontman Mike Herrera circa 2004 for how quickly one can go emo. Blink also really suffered here. Although Tom had the fringe the happy go lucky silly humour that had catapulted Blink to super stardom now suddenly made them uncool. Sure they had Adams Song and Stay Together For The Kids but to most people they were the band that sang about shitting their pants and that were associated with the also not cool anymore American Pie franchise.
This is when Blink did what we all know today as the self titled album. As extreme a departure from their previous material as you could possibly imagine. The music magazines met were fairly divided on whether the “mature” new album was a great thing or not. Over all whether it was or wasn’t, what it did is create an “us and them” divide in the Blink fanbase. Rather than cut away the amount of dick and fart jokes and find an older better way to be funny, which was their entire stage persona (and bafflingly still is) or to keep a style and identity that anyone identifying as a fan could stick to they became a whole new entity. I’m not saying that “new Blink” was terrible. I’m saying it wasn’t Blink. They became a spin-off band of themselves. Sharing tones and musical themes more with side bands Boxcar racer and +44 than their actual pre-recorded material.
This never really changed and now we have a brand new track that takes itself incredibly seriously. New Blink reminds me of the DC movie Batman v Superman. It’s a joyless gritty ride through something we know is based in a ridiculous premise. Again I’m not saying it’s intrinsically bad, I’m just saying that there’s a hole that was left by their original styles departure. I’m saying that liking “New Blink” doesn’t mean you like the band I like and me liking “Old Blink” makes me roll my eyes when I try to listen to a “New” song. I’m saying there is still a funny personality in there somewhere that is smothered in a desire to be commercially successful. Just follow Mark Hoppus on Twitter to see that, or go to a live show and hear the still there still stupid banter on stage.
Maybe I’m jumping the gun, maybe the new album will have a sense of humour and lightness about it again but until I hear otherwise I’ll assume that this will be more Blink I’ll skip.
Luckily for us all we can listen to Cereal Box Heroes now to find our fix.