For many college students, Blink-182 was as big a part of the music of their youth as the Backstreet Boys, N*sync or Britney Spears—except Blink-182 was cooler.
They were punks. They had tattoos covering their arms. They came out with albums titled obscene things like “Take Off Your Pants and Jacket” and “Enema of the State.” Mothers hated them, and little brothers weren’t allowed to look at their album covers. Anyone who listened to them was a rebel.
So when this new album, “Neighborhoods,” came out, it was only natural for those who grew up listening to Blink-182 to feel a slight betrayal by their new style.
The guitars and the drums sound familiar, but that’s about as far as comparisons between the old and the new Blink-182 can go. Lead singer Tom DeLonge’s voice has lost that disrespectful whine that was so attractive. The fact that Delonge has passed his 35th birthday during the time off undoubtedly hasn’t helped.
The lyrics that once used to celebrate having fun and being free have become bleak and rather depressing.
The most unfortunate part of their new style is that nothing on their new album has the irresistable catch-on appeal of their old songs.
However, that’s not to say that “Neighborhoods,” standing by itself, is a poor album. It’s different, but it’s still great. Blink-182 can still proudly hold their head high.
The maturity the band has gained over their years apart is evident in every song. Although the songs may be bleak, they have a much more real quality, and less of an “all-my-problems-stem-from-hot-girls” makeup.
In fact, maturity is present in nearly every aspect of the album. Take the title, for instance. “Neighborhoods” sounds so family-friendly in contrast to some of their previous album titles. Mothers might mistakenly approve of this one.
Listening to DeLonge’s aged voice may not show his connection to the rebellious teen generation as it once did, but it is nice in its own right. The whine was fun, but this voice can be taken seriously while he’s singing about inner demons.
The boys of Blink-182 went through enough hard times and life changes during their time off to justify the change in maturity level, and then some. DeLonge has admitted to addiction to painkillers, the band’s main producer, Jerry Finn, passed away in August 2008, and less than a month later, Travis Barker, the band’s drummer, was in a plane crash that killed four and left him barely alive.
The guys of Blink-182, like their music, have been forced to grow up.
“Neighborhoods” is certainly not the same Blink-182 album that fans grew up on. Those who looked to the album hoping for a new set of the old sound of their favorite punk rockers will be disappointed.
However, those who are willing to give the album a try, and aren’t offended by swearing and talk of sex, will be pleasantly surprised.