Well, the boys are back… or should I call them men now?? Blink-182 is silencing the speculation from their so-called reunion and forthcoming album with a new single called “Up All Night“. Why am I writing about this you may ask? While most of my musical interests are toward the ‘indie rock’ persuasion, anyone who has read my “Top 5 Bands” post would remember that one of the most influential bands during my formative years was Blink-182. I have nearly all of their albums, I’ve seen them in concert once, and although I think Angels & Airwaves was a colossal mistake, I will always have a spot in my heart the Tom, Mark, and Travis show (pun intended).
Past interests aside, we live in the present, and Blink-182 is ready to bring the noise again as a trio. “Up All Night” is the first single off the band’s forthcoming album Neighborhoods, due out this fall, and a good re-introduction to the more modern Blink-182. It trails directly from where the band left of with 2003’s Blink-182 in terms of sound and style. There is a similarly more technology-enhanced sound: more tricks for guitar effects, vocal effects, big sounds in the chorus. There are still those tell-tale signs of strum-heavy guitars and the Travis Barker-machine-drumwork that instantly tell you that this is a Blink song. Actually, it’s Barker’s drumming that really keeps the music exciting in my opinion. The bass and guitar parts are just a little too predictable, they kind of sound like a compromise between the styles of old Blink-182 and Angels & Airwaves. Altogether, the sound is heavier and the lyrics have much more depth. The subject matter is more mature, less about farting, girls, parties, and being dumped, and more about curiosity, the future, and the anxieties of adult life. Listening to the lyrics, which detail the realities of the struggles people suffer through everyday (what seems to keep the band members “up all night”), I hear a new Blink-182 emerge and can finally relate to their more grown up perspective.
It seems the band members are finally getting in touch with the adult experiences they have come to witness. Each of the band members are now parents, they’ve been married (some divorced), they’ve gone in different directions, suffered major accidents and the near break up of their friendship, and through it all, have found common ground to come together musically again. Although the time and experiences have and continue to heal the wounds they’ve been through, Delonge, Hoppus, and Barker have realized, it seems, that they make a great musical team. They need each other and they still have a lot left to say. I listen to “Up All Night” and I hear them looking at the world as parents, people who now have to care more about the future and their affect on it. Are they suddenly trying to change everyone? Of course not. But nothing makes you care more about what is happening in the world than having to send your kid out there and hoping they don’t have to get tangled in the messy, dangerous, un-trusting world you have come to know. I think they are just coming to terms with the real world and writing from a new understanding and acceptance of who they are as people, who they are as musicians.
I grew up with this band, and I was heartbroken with they broke up, but just as we all realize as we grow up, sometimes the time apart is just a phase we go through to pull things back together and do things differently, see things differently. Although I’m probably not going to be jamming this song everyday in anticipation of the new album like I would have at age 15, I am actually still excited to see how this new album pans out.
Neighborhoods is due out September 27.