City: San Diego
Label: Universal Music
Time: 36 min.
Style: Pop Punk Hardcore
"Enema of the State" is the third studio album by american punk-rock band BLINK-182. Produced by Jerry Finn, the album was released on June 1, 1999, in the by MCA records. After an long series of performances at various clubs and festivals and several indie recordings throughout the 90s, BLINK-182 first achieved popularity on the "Warped Tour" and in Australia following the release of their sophomore effort "Dude Ranch" (1997) and its rock radio hit "Dammit". In 1998, the band fired former drummer Scott Raynor during an exhaustive touring schedule and he was replaced by Travis Barker, drummer of The Aquabats. To record their third record, Blink-182 turned to veteran punk rock producer Jerry Finn, who previously worked on Green Day's breakthrough album, "Dookie" (1994). I'm not sure BLINK-182 to appear on this net-zine you are reading (Punk.Cat), because obviously the philosophy of this band is not punk at all... of course. But I must admit that emotionally marked my generation (90s decade) and I think we can all agree that strictly musical BLINK-182 are very good and talented. They are just 3 musicians and it seems that there are 5 or 6. Particularly the drums player, I think he has a full and complete talent to master their instrument. This is not the typical Pennywise clone: simple, short, direct and predictable. The drums makes an admirable endless of changes and complications, honestly. And all songs (12 tracks) are made with hook, originality and energy, dynamism. But of course this is melodic hardcore, not "new york hardcore" neither "crust" and nothing similar. This is an hybrid = Pop + Punk. So, anybody expect to listen to rebellion, reivindication or political consciousness. Pop is optimistic, pacifist and almost naif, but not rebel. Anyway I think is a great album in its genre.
City: San Diego
Format: CD , LP
Time: 40 min.
Style: Pop Punk Hardcore
California is another aging pop punk release from the kings of the genre. Whether or not that interests you is a different story. For the most part, Blink-182 is the only band who have been doing so consistently without too much experimentation.
Much better than 2011’s Neighborhoods, it sees Mark Hoppus, Travis Barker and Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba actually wanting to play music together. The enjoyment is apparent regardless of the success of the song. Founding ex-member Tom DeLonge offered a more serious contrast to Hoppus’s playful adult youth. However, in later years, the two styles grew further apart eventually hitting the breaking point. Skiba, on the other hand, compliments Hoppus in just about every way. Too well maybe. The vocal harmonies are spot on and the guitar is unfortunately underplayed.
Hoppus is clearly running the show, which is as it should be. Very much in the vein of side project ( 44), it occurs when there is less pushback from other members. Barker maintains his place as one of the best drummers playing music right now while existing in his own universe. His reliable stick work is the most technically appealing aspect of a band based in universal simplicity. That means Hoppus’s bass and Skiba’s guitar can construct basic melodies until they start retreading, which happens a little too often. Although Blink-182 sounds reinvigorated and Hoppus and Barker’s relationship with Skiba does go back years, they are still finding a groove with each other. Skiba’s lyrics provide a darkness Delonge’s did while still ceding to Hoppus’s sometimes generic straightforwardness. A little more input could have beefed up and grounded some of those verses before exploding into their giant choruses.
Pop punk in general should get stuck in your head and there’s no one better at that than Blink. Sometimes a good thing (“Rabbit Hole”), sometimes a bad (“Teenage Satellites”), and sometimes it’s a triumphantly bland song that still lodges into your brain (“Kings of the Weekend”). At its strongest, California’s quicker numbers show what is possible for the forty-something’s. “Bored to Death” knocks it out of the park becoming their biggest hit in years. “The Only Thing That Matters” and “No Future” are legitimately great tracks spotlighting the correct balance of growing up but not too much. They’re releasing arena pop made for teenagers attempting to connect with older fans. For every sixteen-second “Built This Pool,” there’s a slow song like “Home Is Such a Lonely Place.” For every “Brohemian Rhapsody,” a “Los Angeles.” Sadly, the “mature” ones produce the worst results and, at sixteen songs, the album is bloated. Producer John Feldman was not the best choice either. His glossy production works to a fault, but years spent co-writing with bands like 5 Seconds of Summer seem to have dulled his songwriting chops. Hoppus, a more than qualified producer, probably could have done a fine job himself.
California isn’t a perfect record, nor does it need to be. It displays a band getting back on the right page with great energy yet struggling a bit to find equilibrium. Still, Blink-182 provides another angst ridden nostalgia trip, which is something they’ve done constantly for two full decades (*NOTE this review was writen by Nick EP).