The Mark, Tom, & Travis Show will forever be a favorite no matter how old I get. And I wear that with badge with honor. As a 23 year old (that nobody likes) I am proud to say that I still love Blink-182, and for that reason, I was terrified when I heard Up All Night, the new single, and I didn't love it. It scared the shit out of me. It's not a bad song, but it's not a first single. It's not Dammit, it's not Feeling This, it's not The Rock Show, and is definitely not What's My Age Again?. I instantly feared the worst.
Neighborhoods has finally hit the shelves. The results are in. And it's not what I expected. I don't think it's what anyone expected. I'll admit I wasn't a huge fan of their self titled album in 2003, after hearing it some more I realize that it's a decent effort, I just wasn't into it at the time. It didn't catch my attention, and I kinda skipped through it.
But in the case of this new album it just feels darker. No more dick and fart jokes... At least not on the studio album, I expect that the live show is a whole different story (I look forward to that). The boys who went streaking have kinda grown up.
Nobody expects a Blink album to be a musical masterpiece, and it isn't. But it is surprising how much they've progressed yet kept themselves faithful to their musical style. From the opening drum beats and melodies you can clearly hear their distinct sound, and Ghost On The Dance Floor is a very nice first step back.
Right off the bat, you can tell that the album is carried by Travis Barker's beat heavy and diverse style, along with Tom DeLonge's and Mark Hoppus' joint vocal melodies. It's just like it's always been. Just musically better. The potty humor might be missed at times. It's not that they take themselves seriously, but we're just not in the 'porn stars on the cover' era anymore. And the music reflects that.
Travis easily steals the spotlight on another Blink album, the guy is as dynamic a drummer as you'll find these days. But Mark and Tom have really upped their game as well. It's not like he's carrying them around anymore. They're nothing spectacular, but they do what they need to do, they play to their strengths and they do it well.
The rest of the songs are spread pretty well in what is a mostly upbeat album. Some may be more memorable than others. Heart's All Gone and Snake Charmer come to mind as really interesting songs. While others like Kaleidoscope keep true to the Blink formula we all know and love.
My one true gripe with Neighborhoods is the album length; the deluxe edition clocks in at almost fifty minutes, with the regular version barely cracking half an hour. It may be the norm for a pop-punk album, but it shouldn't be. If you want to make two minute songs, then make more than fourteen of them. It's not very motivating to spend money on something that would keep my attention for less than an hour.
With this new album Blink-182 have once again proven that the pop-punk genre can mature and keep itself relevant. They may have (temporarily) moved on from their fun and crazy antics, and it's quite refreshing to know that they can. I can appreciate a band trying to reinvent themselves, and I think they did a great job.
Neighborhoods might not be the instant classic that Enema Of The State was to me... But that doesn't mean I can't enjoy it. It's almost a whole different band, and it should be. You can't do the same thing forever.