Blink-182 / Neighborhoods / Universal
On and on — a little phrase indicating perpetuity. It’s been repeated for emphasis in a couple of notable Blink 182 songs in the past, and it shows up again on Neighborhoods on the white-lit arena-rock ballad “After Midnight”. Like that phrase, Southern California trio Blink 182 is still moving on (and on) in the face of just the sorts of ordeals that meant the grand exeunt of so many well-loved bands before them. The indefinite hiatus; The multiple side projects; The plane crash. Circumstances such as these have served as the death knell for so many rock groups they’ve become rock and roll clichés. But rather than taking advantage of those circumstances to begin re-inventing their careers as solo artists, the pop-punk tri-force of Barker, Hoppus and DeLonge decided to reassemble – albeit usually in separate studios – distilling the emotions wrought by those events into their first new album in almost a decade.
While the past few years have indeed informed the grittier and generally more somber lyrical content on Neighborhoods, instrumentally the album represents a fairly natural continuation of the sounds heard on the last LP. The supercharged guitars and synthesizers that usher in “Ghost on the Dance Floor” and the slick level of production found throughout shouldn’t surprise those familiar with 2003’s self-titled effort. But aggressive throwbacks like the bombastic bookends of “Up All Night” and the unmistakable punk riff that kicks off “Natives” also rear their heads. Vocal duties are shared fairly evenly by Mark and Tom throughout, and both still know how to drop a choice “F-bomb” when the time is right. Even late into their thirties, they’re still very much the patron saints of angsty youths, but damned if they don’t have some poignant things to say that will resonate with more than just emotionally-stunted males. What’s more, on their sixth album, they’re still fairly adept at saying them around catchy, upbeat choruses. If this is what you grew up listening to, there are a few songs – like “Natives” — that will make you feel young again
or at least younger than Mark.
Download: “Natives”, “After Midnight”, “Snake Charmer”
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