By Jay Tilles
Blink-182 have composed an ode to the Golden State with their new album, California. But the cohesive collection of songs go much deeper than just a nod to the boys’ home state.
“It’s kind of everything that people love about Blink-182,” said Mark Hoppus of the new album in a new interview. “It’s fast. It’s angsty. It’s positive. It’s got sing-along songs. It’s got introspective songs. I think that anybody that likes Blink-182 at any point in our history will grab onto this album and love it.”
Here’s the thing with Blink-182; they have the unique ability to continue to write from a young person’s perspective, while displaying all the maturity of fathers and men who’ve lived enough to have real experiences.
It’s the band’s first album with Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba and it’s almost uncanny how well his guitar playing and more noticeably, his singing, sounds so natural along side Hoppus. From thoughtful tracks like “Home Is Such A Lonely Place” to hilarious diddies like “Brohemian Rhaposdy” and “Built This Pool,” Skiba sounds like he’s been part of the band forever.
With 16 songs, of which nearly all are earworms, it was difficult to narrow down the field to just five—but here are the tracks that we found ourselves playing over and over.
One of the album’s more serious tracks, the mood is immediately set with an eerie intro. References to specific locations including the 6th Street bridge and Mulholland Drive the darkly-lit track paints a colorful, yet dour picture of the City of Angels. Musically, it may be the most diverse song on the album with driving guitars and Barker punctuating with high-pitched tom-toms. The track is as serious as a heart attack.
“Home Is Such A Lonely Place”
This song is not only a nice respite from the much faster tracks, it adds perfect balance to the album with its maturity and orchestral arrangement much the same way “Adam’s Song” added equilibrium to Enema of the State. It’s a beautiful, melodic, acoustic, slow tempo ballad sung by Hoppus with Skiba adding just the right harmonies. When they play this live, expect to see phones lighters swaying in the air, and maybe even tears.
The band released the track a few weeks ago as immediate download for fans who pre-ordered California. Blink are masters of the sing-along chorus and “Rabbit Hole” has an enormously catchy one. Next to “The Only Thing That Matters,” “Rabbit Hole” is the most punk track on California and hearkens back to Cheshire Cat. Wait, no, not really. OK, maybe this… It has the angst of a Cheshire Cat track while sung with the maturity of a man who’s seen the world. Oh yeah, the F-word is repeated in every chorus so there’s that.
“She’s Out Of Her Mind”
You’ve heard this chord progression from Blink before—maybe a few times. But it never gets old. It’s catchy, powerful and worth repackaging. “I’m in deep with this girl but she’s out of her mind. She said babe, I’m sorry but I’m crazy tonight. She’s got a black shirt, black skirt and Bauhaus stuck in her mind.” It’s absolutely classic Blink from start to finish.
“Bored To Death”
There’s a reason “Bored to Death’ is No. 1 on the Billboard Alternative Chart. It’s amazing. It’s the perfect Blink-182 song; written for a young person, from a young person’s point of view but performed by artists that have lived rich lives and seen their fare share of trials and tribulations. Like they say, “life is to short to last long.” What does that actually mean anyway?
Honorary Mention: “Brohemian Rhapsody”
The hilarious lyrics to this 30 second diddy aren’t revealed until the final 5 seconds. But it’s worth the wait.
- Bored To Death
- She’s Out Of Her Mind
- Los Angeles
- Built This Pool
- No Future
- Home Is Such A Lonely Place
- Kings Of The Weekend
- Teenage Satellites
- Left Alone
- Rabbit Hole
- San Diego
- The Only Thing That Matters
- Brohemian Rhapsody