It’s been 11 years since Blink-182 exploded onto the music scene asking the question, “What’s my age again?” With their latest LP, titled “Neighborhoods,” the answer to that question is, “kind of old.”
“Neighborhoods” is a pretty big deal. It’s the pop-punk trio’s first album in eight years, and the expectations have been mounting since the band announced that they intended to end their indefinite hiatus.
Fans looking for a return to the good old Blink-182 days of fart jokes, sex humor, and incessant juvenile behavior will be disappointed.
Those days have been over since the band’s 2003 self-titled LP. Unfortunately, those who are hoping for an effective, matured album similar to that one will be disappointed as well.
Mark Hoppus, Tom DeLonge and Travis Barker try to recapture that spirit, but while their efforts in experimentation are admirable, they ultimately fall flat.
While “Blink-182” the album may have been a drastic new direction for the band, it was still undoubtedly Blink-182. Almost every track on “Neighborhoods” is less like Blink-182, noticeable influences by Angels & Airwaves, DeLonge’s side project.
The synthesizers have been over-utilized, and many of the songs open with overly long instrumental introductions that are rarely engaging and usually repetitive.
DeLonge also continues to use reverb on his voice to an unbearable extent. This is especially noticeable on the track “Love is Dangerous,” in which he sings about the negative repercussions of an empty relationship.
Luckily, drummer Barker is just as good as he’s ever been. Easily the most musically talented member of the band, Barker has no problem setting the pace for the other members.
His beats in the album are fast and furious as usual, and their energy pulsates through every song.
“Wishing Well” is typical catchy pop-punk, but it’s a relief when you realize it’s just that. The familiar “nah nah nah nah” chorus will get stuck in your head, and you’ll be singing along if you’re seeing them live.
The album’s first single, “Up All Night,” is classic Blink-182, with DeLonge and Hoppus harmonizing perfectly like old times.
The strongest track, “Natives,” is just plain awesome. Everyone is in full form here, with Barker’s chaotic mosh-pit inducing drumming meeting with DeLonge and Hoppus’s guitar riffs perfectly.
It’s a shame that the song is brought down by the biggest weakness of the album: the song-writing has gone down a tier or two since their last album.
“I’m just a waste of your time/maybe I’m better off dead,” Hoppus sings in “Natives.” The lyrics in their last album were mostly downers, but they were well done and mature.
The word “heart” is mentioned at least once in every song, and so are trite clichés of the genre. It’s the most disappointing part of the album.
“Neighborhoods” is still an enjoyable easy listen. Hardcore Blink-182 fans will add a few tracks to their favorites, but no new fans will be gained from this album.
After a hiatus of this length, it could have been a lot worse. Hopefully, the boys are just warming up.