I wasn’t particularly excited for this release and after a few months of reflection and pent-up frustration I’m going to tell you why!
Blink-182 are a band I used to adore. From their early work with ‘Cheshire Cat’ from 1992 even up to their somewhat lacklustre EP ‘Dogs Eating Dogs’ from 2013, they were a band I, and many other teenagers, could resonate with.
The relationship between frontmen Tom DeLonge and Mark Hoppus was never the same after their bitter split in 2004 – a split brought on by Tom DeLonge‘s wanting to see his family and Mark Hoppus‘ unquenchable thirst for money. During the recording of 2009’s ‘Neighborhoods’ the two were never in the same room and recorded their parts at their personal studios which was quite a grim foreshadowing of things to come, really.
2015 came and Mark and drummer Travis Barker decided they wanted to record a new album, however Tom was busy working on other projects he was contracted for, so Mark and Travis did the only ‘reasonable’ thing and replaced him with Alakline Trio‘s Matt Skiba. The end result, 2016’s ‘California’.
‘California’, to put it bluntly, is just fucking awful. Bland and generic radio rock fuelled not by desire for creative output, but money. The album is uninspired, boring, and severely lacks anything new in the way of content or maturity from the band. There’s a song about building a pool to see naked dudes. For fucks sake. Also, this album somehow won a Grammy – that fact hurts my brain. Clearly Mark Hoppus’ time working with garbage bands like McBusted and All Time Low has rubbed off on him. This album is a crystal clear demonstration of how far bands can fall when they attempt to carry on without their strongest talent. This isn’t a Tom DeLonge love letter by any means but compare the level of passion Tom puts into his projects, whether they’re movies, music or books and it’s easy to see that Blink-182 have made a huge mistake. Also, there’s a line in the song ‘The Only Thing That Matters’ from ‘California’ that pays “homage” to fellow California band Reel Big Fish‘s ‘All I Want Is More’…. homage.
Feel free to disagree with me. Thanks for reading.