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Album Review: California by Blink-182

With the release of Blink-182’s seventh studio album, California, on the 1st July we decided to get reacquainted with our inner pop-punk child and revisit the band. Unlike Green Day, Blink-182 managed to avoid becoming a parody act by going on a hiatus and not releasing any albums between 2003 and 2011. They’re one of the last pop-punk bands from the early 2000s that haven’t become truly awful.

We’d fall in with the point of view that Tom DeLonge becoming obsessed with aliens and leaving the band did them the world of good. The addition of Matt Skiba (Alkaline Trio) was never going to be a bad thing and unsurprisingly, Blink-182 are a better band due to him. Where does California sit amongst their repertoire? It doesn’t quite have the instantaneousness of Enema of the State or the raucous energy of Take Off Your Pants and Jacket but comfortably fits into third place miles ahead of their first return from hiatus Neighborhoods.

While it might be up there with the best Blink-182 albums, it just about threatens the top 25 albums of 2016. The main problem being that you have some of the best and some of the worst Blink-182 songs side by side. Lead singles ‘Bored To Death’ and ‘Rabbit Hole’ are by far some of the most infectious songs the band have done. Along with ‘San Diego’ they sound like a matured and refined version of the band.

Conversely you have the moments where the band seem hell bent on being a vacuous pop band. Songs like ‘Los Angeles’ and ‘Sober’ sound like they could have come from the latest teenage ‘rock-chic’ sensation. The former is ludicrously bad, so bad that it takes a lot of the positives away from the album. There’s some filler in there too, ‘Teenage Satellites’ and ‘Kings of the Weekend’ threaten to be good but end up being nothing special.

There’s something cringe worthy about the ‘joke’ songs when they’re done by a bunch of 40 year olds. Perhaps they’re not quite as puerile this time around, they’re just not needed. Thankfully there’s gold in ‘Cynical’ and ‘The Only Thing That Matters’ that play the part of fast, storming punk songs superbly. ‘Home Is Such A Lovely Place’ and ‘Left Alone’ are fine examples of how the band have naturally progressed and should be a reference point for their true sound.

If you’re a Blink-182 fan California will be an essential release otherwise you might be best concentrating on the singles.

AD Rating 7/10

2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

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  2. Alt Dialogue’s Top 100 Albums of 2016: Part 1, 100 – 51 – Alt Dialogue

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