Release Date: Apr 21, 2015
Record label: N/A
Released quickly in the spring of 2015, To the Stars: Demos, Odds and Ends -- which is the first album released under Tom DeLonge's name, although it's certainly not the first to be masterminded by the frontman of blink-182 and Angels & Airwaves -- doesn't make any attempt to disguise that this is, indeed, "odds and ends. " It's likely that a good portion of these eight tracks were designed with the 2015 blink reunion in mind -- "New World" and "An Endless Summer" feel like spruced-up, vaguely mature spins on classic blink, "Circle-Jerk-Pit" and "Golden Showers in the Golden State" remain proudly juvenile -- but the neo-New Wave of "Suburban Kings" and "Landscapes" is certainly within A&A's wheelhouse. By showcasing the two sides of DeLonge's musical personality, To the Stars does feel like a solo album but it also does feel a bit like a warehouse -- a way to clear the decks as he preps for the next great project.
Growing up pop-punk is hard to do. Tom DeLonge's trials have been particularly public, with ongoing rifts with his Blink-182 bandmates and a foray into overindulgent space rock with Angels and Airwaves. On this solo set, DeLonge tries to find a new way forward, culling from unreleased songs originally intended for both bands. "New World" effectively reins in the grandiosity that often mars Angels and Airwaves, and "Golden Showers in the Golden State" is almost as filthy and funny as early Blink at their best.
As a rule, I don’t trust artists who release full albums of B-sides or demos salvaged from the cutting room floor. It’s like the guy who thinks he’s being nice by donating a crate of junky, half-broken toys to Goodwill. Sure, somebody might want them, but they’re more likely to end up in the refuse bin where they belonged in the first place.