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Blink-182 – California – Album Review

It’s been seventeen years since Blink-182 released their most celebrated work Enema of The State. Now with members getting into their forties they’ve released their sixth LP California. It’s entirely what you’d expect; huge choruses and inbetweeners-esque cringeworthy jokes – Mark Hoppus seemingly did not get the memo reminding him ‘what’s my age again?’.

Blink fans will know all too well that a third of their line up has changed rather dramatically. Founding member Tom DeLonge left the Blink union last year being labelled by his peers ‘disrespectful and ungrateful’ (or perhaps it was the promise of £350m to the NHS… who knows). Allegedly he’s off to work for the government on extra terrestrial matters. Subsequently, Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba filled the DeLongeless gaping void and become a permanent member of the ‘All the Small Things’ band.

Drive bye shouting COLOUR Crop copy

But in reality nothing has changed, Blink-182 still possess their abhorrent lyrical uncomfortability. ‘Built in the Pool’ is seventeen seconds about naked dudes. However, it’s nothing in comparison to the thirty seconds of ‘Brohemian Rapsody’. There’s something crudely uncomfortable about a forty four year old making a joke about fingering, and it’s exacerbated by a pun that would leave Mercury turning in his grave.

But then again, what do you expect from Blink? The trio grew up to an extent on their 2011 LP Neighbourhoods with more experimental sounds and dark lyricism and were still heavily slated- critics suggested that the album sounded like the trio were all playing different songs. So what did the band do on California? Well, they seem akin to an angry teenager who tried to grow up, yet faced brutal and bitter rejection so subsequently returned to their impoverish and slobbish self again. The trio are in a state of double jeopardy, their damned if they do and damned if they don’t grow up.

That being said, Blink-182 do deliver their trademark huge choruses and more sombre reflective moments aplenty. ‘Bored to Death’ and ‘Rabbit Hole’ are singalong anthems, ‘Home is such a Lonely Place’ is reminiscent of ‘I Miss You’ with Skiba’s vocal croons not too distant from DeLonge’s.

However, the sixteen-song California is simply far too long. The songs lack the quality to retain listeners interest over such a prolonged period. ‘Kings of the Weekend’, ‘Teenage Satellites’ and ‘Left Alone’ are forgettable. Pop-punk has moved on with more popless punk – ask 5SOS or All Time Low – consequently these songs all feel a tad dated.

I’m sure Blink 182 won’t mind though. They’ve written a few big anthems and not managed to alienate fans by growing up in the process. The album is exactly what you’d expect from Blink 182.