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Blink 182 Revisited

Observer Scene | Monday, September 22, 2008

The Beatles. Bob Dylan. Buddy Holly. The Beach Boys. Blink-182.That’s right. I am proposing that it is time for Blink-182 to be officially elevated to “classic” status.This idea came to me in a sudden flash inspiration right after the Recycled Percussion concert in Washington Hall. Immediately following the show, Blink-182’s “All the Small Things” came blaring out of the loudspeakers as everyone was leaving. There was a traffic jam at the exits due to people trying to get autographs from the percussionists right outside the door, so all of us stuck inside the auditorium had the good fortune of hearing the song in its entirety.What I noticed, though, was that almost every 18 to 22-year-old individual in that room immediately perked up when the song came on. Guys were banging their heads; girls were throwing their arms in the air; people were rocking out. Out of the 50 or so students in the room, every single one seemed to know the words, and most were not shy about this fact either, belting out the lyrics like they were alone in their own showers. This was not just for the beginning of the song, either; the energy kept up until the last chord had rung into the silence.Seeing this spontaneous display of joy and unity forged around a simple piece of music, I got to thinking. Blink-182 is an essential part of the childhoods and memories of many, if not most, people of our generation. Anyone in the teens to the late twenties today is bound to have listened to the band at some point. Especially for college-age kids now, Blink-182 was at the height of their popularity and prevalence right in the middle of our formative years. For this, I argue that the band will go down in music history, for better or for worse.To use a personal example, Blink-182 was the band that first got me interested in music. They were, without a doubt, my first favorite band. In fifth and sixth grade, I lived in San Diego, right at the heart of this musical phenomenon that was sweeping the nation. It was their music, yes, but it was also their bada**, skateboard-punk rock aesthetic. I remember how cool and rebellious I felt when I listened to their obscene lyrics and pounding rhythm guitar. My mom called it noise. My love for Blink’s music was only reinforced every time she told me to “Turn that trash off.”I’m sure countless others had similar experiences growing up. For this reason, Blink-182 will forever be near and dear to our hearts. Sometime when you’re bored, go back and listen to “Enema of the State” again, all the way through. It will warm your jaded heart, and you’ll even smile knowingly at tracks like “The Party Song” now that you’ve actually been to college. Better yet, listen to Blink with your friends. You’ll see what I mean.I’m not trying to argue that Blink-182 did anything new or revolutionary. I know that punk rock had been around since the time of the Clash, the Ramones, and the Sex Pistols. Since then, there has been an unbroken chain of succession of punk-rock bands, with the sound remaining largely the same. Many critics have disparaged Blink-182 as a cheap Green Day knock-off. But Blink-182 has broken up, and there are now cheap Blink-182 imitators. It is just the natural progression of music. Everybody is influenced by those who came before them; that does not make later bands lesser than earlier ones.So someday, when you’re picking out a nice pair of slacks at Macy’s or driving your little tyke to soccer practice, expect to have your childhood come rushing back to you when you hear “What’s My Age Again?” being played over the oldies station on the radio. Then expect to be exasperated when your own child changes the channel, stating categorically, “This music stinks.” You’ll just shake your head quietly, resigned that your impudent offspring will never understand the pleasures of listening to that kind of music