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Blink 182 shows signs of maturity

Emily Tumbrink, Assistant Scene Editor | Tuesday, December 2, 2003

When thinking of Blink 182, images of near-nude So-Cal punks performing songs with raunchy lyrics immediately come to mind. However, on the band’s latest self-titled release, its fourth major-label album, these childish antics are noticeably absent. When describing this obvious change, singer/guitarist Tom DeLange told MTV, “We were young. We want to go out and break sh– and we grew up in Southern California, that’s just kind of who we are, but at this point in our life, with this career, we love art, and we wanna create art that’s developed from what we all learned from being in a band for the past 11 years.” A sure sign of the band’s new-found maturity, Blink 182 eventually abandoned the working title of its recent release, Use Your Erection I and II, opting instead for the more conventional Untitled. Not only is this change a sign of maturity, it also signals that something different should be expected from this album.With most songs addressing more adult themes, including romantic woe, depression and loneliness, Blink 182’s latest album has a much more serious tone than all previous releases, with the entire thing written in the vein of “Adam’s Song,” the track about suicide found on 1999’s Enema of the State. Despite the apparent darkness of the album, an album that might even be described as “brooding,” Blink 182 succeeds in creating a unique sound, one that still allows moments for rocking out, and one that is somewhat experimental for this band of pranksters. “Travis said it best when we very first started. Travis was like, ‘Don’t think of this as the next Blink-182 record – think of it as the first Blink-182 record,’ ” lead singer Mark Hoppus told MTV. “So we had this mindset that we weren’t going to second-guess ourselves … [or] worry if people are going to accept it or if it sounds like Blink-182. If it was an idea that we wanted to pursue, we were gonna pursue it. And so we tried out all these different ideas and it was like a musical laboratory.”This experimentation is certainly present on several of the new tracks, from the Pink Floyd-esque intro on “Asthenia” to the guest vocals provided by The Cure’s Robert Smith on “All of This.” Perhaps this experimentation is most evident during the heart-rending spoken word intro to “Stockholm Syndrome,” in which an elderly woman recites a letter that Hoppus’ grandfather wrote to his wife while fighting in World War II. This intro then leads into one of the hardest rock anthems included on the album, creating a nice juxtaposition of soft and hard sounds.Although Blink 182 will certainly receive a fair amount of criticism from fans for changing their sound and attempting to change their identity as a band, they must be praised for their efforts at experimentation and their openness to try new things. This album may not be as light-hearted as previous releases, but Blink 182 has successfully created an album that appeals to the emotions in ways that were impossible on its other albums.

Contact Emily Tumbrink at [email protected]