Release Date: Sep 20, 2019
Record label: Columbia
The band settle into a new groove with the spiritual follow-up to the classic 'Untitled', though there's no room for nostalgia with Blink 2.0 2016's 'California' proved that there was a future for Blink-182 after the soap opera departure of founding member Tom Delonge and the addition of Alkaline Trio's Matt Skiba. Excitable, eager to please and with a sugary smile, its 16 tracks represented an attempt to offer all things to all people. From the classic pop-punk escape of 'Kings Of The Weekend' and the moody 'No Future' to the juvenile humour of 'Built This Pool', it was a scrapbook reminder of the band's best bits.
my shame is through When friends ask me why I still like blink-182, in the year of our lord 2019 when pop-punk is as dead as Fall Out Boy's good streak, I always find myself answering with a caveat. Like, they're good at their instruments and Travis is a fuckin' machine, you know? Or, they just take me back to high school, they're the feelgood band to pick me up after Alkaline Trio and The Wonder Years wring out my emotions. Or more evasions and non-answers along those lines.
Awash in a neon rainbow and increasingly pop-leaning production, blink-182's aptly named Nine proves that looks can be deceiving. Despite the colorful album cover, this is one of blink's darkest albums to date. Depression, self-doubt, fear, and frustration lurk beneath the trio's trademark sound and, upon closer inspection of the lyrics, Nine's loudness and energy become better suited for catharsis and bloodletting than simple pop-punk rollicking and mischief.
Pop-punk's appeal has always been the fusing of the hook-filled sentiments of pop music with the direct current of punk. They are two prongs that any band, particularly those that find something close to mainstream success, are forced to straddle. This dilemma--how to, in the misquoted words of Donnie and Marie Osmond, be a little bit pop while also being a little bit punk--is one that blink-182 has been struggling with for years now.
The Lowdown: To say that San Diego pop-punkers Blink-182 have undergone myriad monumental changes would be an understatement. Following the release of the trio's 2003 self-titled record, Blink-182 announced a hiatus. Vocalist-guitarist Tom DeLonge founded Angels & Airwaves while vocalist-bassist Mark Hoppus and drummer Travis Barker started +44.
It was pretty interesting going into Riot Fest and hearing (well, trying to because the sound system sounded off as fuck that night) Blink 182 play Enema of the State in full that night, along with jams like "Dammit". These songs are remarkably poorly-written, immature bangers that somehow remain timeless, which made it all the more intriguing to me that their ninth album -- yes, they're counting Buddha -- was sitting on my mind all the while as probably their most divisive to date. Honestly, after listening to it for quite some time, Nine feels like the band should change its name and move past the days of Alien Tom (hey, he's actually right with the UFO crap, as per CNN) and chart a new identity with Matt Skiba, because essentially this just doesn't feel like a Blink record.