Blink-182’s new ‘Hood’

Photo Courtesy of Interscope Records

The iconic rock band Blink-182 has been extremely popular ever since the release of the album “Enema of the State” in 1999. Featuring hit songs such as “What’s My Age Again?” and “All The Small Things,” “Enema of the State” managed to skyrocket Blink-182 from a small Southern California garage band to the edgy mainstream band we all came to love. They managed to maintain this popularity throughout much of the new millennium, even though their last self-titled studio album was released in 2003. While their most well-known songs are still widely played, it is mostly out of a nostalgic appreciation from those who loved Blink-182 in their heyday.

However, after an eight-year hiatus, Blink-182 has finally released a brand new album titled “Neighborhoods.” This album has been released in both a regular and deluxe format, featuring 10 songs, with three additional songs and an interlude in the deluxe version.

Although the band underwent a great deal of turmoil between their self-titled 2003 album and their most recent release, there is a certain maturity and sense of self-control which seems to have been gained in their music.

After the band’s temporary split in 2005, all three members pursued side projects. Most notably, guitarist and lead vocalist Tom DeLonge founded the band Angels and Airwaves. Though they gained some popularity, mostly due to DeLonge’s notoriety, they never quite reached the potential DeLonge had hoped for.

Yet while Angels and Airwaves may have faded out, the unique vocals which Tom used have carried with him onto “Neighborhoods.” Upon listening to the first song, “Ghost on the Dance Floor,” one is immediately caught off guard by DeLonge’s vocals which give the song an eerie familiarity to Angels and Airwaves. These vocals accompanied by the seemingly calm and melodic instrumentation might lead fans to question which band they are actually listening to. This initial song is in no way bad, but a drastic change from the more chaotic and almost spastic melodies of some of Blink-182’s older songs such as “The Party Song.” As the first song on their album, Blink-182 sends a clear message that they have changed and have matured as a band.

Upon listening to the rest of the album, however, their usual vocals return, accompanied by faster-paced guitar riffs and drumming, giving the listener a calming reassurance that Blink-182 still clings to the edgy rock roots from which they sprung.

Although there is some familiarity in their tracks, the album is also full of surprises. These changes aren’t necessarily apparent in the lyrics of the songs, but rather in some of the stylistic choices made on the album, such as including an interlude before the song “Heart’s All Gone” on the deluxe version of the album. This instrumental interlude is slower and soothing but gives one an almost reminiscent vibe, which leads perfectly into “Heart’s All Gone,” the song that follows it.

“Love is Dangerous,” the final track on the regular album, also stands out, and somehow portrays the best of Blink-182’s newly revamped style. This track features restraint in both the aspects of the guitar and drums while having slightly more emotional lyrics. The vocals also stand out, seeming to have a sense of sincerity and desperation in them, enhanced by the haunting echo used on the track.

Overall, “Neighborhoods” allows a very different side of the band to be displayed. All the members seem to be exhibiting far more restraint than their audience is used to, however in such restraint there can be seen a great deal of refinement. The only problem with this is that it was precisely this lack of restraint which made Blink-182 so popular from the start. There was always a sense of excitement to be found in their relatable but off-beat lyrics and their at times chaotically-fast guitar and drum rhythms.

Both of these aspects seem to be missing from their new album, featuring instead slightly darker, emotionally-charged lyrics with smoother and more sophisticated melodies. None of these changes are bad, however the album is also not necessarily amazing. Their tracks are good, and at the very least one can find a sense of excitement in listening to new works from an old favorite.

Rating: 3 out of 5