By John Sosnowski in Arts & Entertainment
October 13, 2011
After a break from recording for more than 5 years, Blink-182 is back with a new album, “Neighborhoods,” and it’s pretty much what it was expected to be.
Blink-182’s combination of catchy pop-punk riffs, heartfelt emotion, and a healthy dose of sophomoric humor and vulgarity accompanied many of us through the frustrating coming-of-age process.
Surely most of us remember where we were upon getting word that the trio was taking a “hiatus” after touring their most mature work yet, 2003’s untitled release.
For loyal fans, their 2003 release was like discovering that Santa Claus isn’t real – a piece of our youth was lost. The new album reflects this shift, as an older band returns with a much more mature feeling record.
Frontman Tom DeLonge’s vocals, along with the supporting vocals of right-hand man and bassist Mark Hoppus, are possibly the most immediately noticeable shift.
DeLonge’s voice has taken on a more impassioned feel since previous albums; perhaps a product of his time spent with side project Angels & Airwaves.
Lyrically, they seem to have grown, too. Gone are the high school breakup lyrics and vulgar jokes in favor of a more adult approach.
Although the album covers the expected love-and-romance turf, it feels much deeper and more poetic than in any of their previous material.
This is perhaps most poignant on “MH 4.18.2011”, where we’re told to “Hold strong, when everything you loved is gone.”
The band’s instrumental work also seems to have made progress, as it almost sounds like they’ve added a chord or two to their tried-and-true hooks.
Drummer Travis Barker’s style seems to have grown more subtle in comparison to the over-the-top delivery heard on previous efforts.
Albeit an understandable progression, the band’s grown-up style leaves something to be desired.
Each track shares a similar alt-rock ballad feel, taking away the joke-song-into-serious-heartbreak-anthem dynamic that added charm to old Blink-182. Brief moments of cheeseball 80’s production seem to pop up as well.
Overall, though, this is exactly what a 2011 Blink-182 album should sound like.
The band has grown along with their now-adult fans, but reminds us that the cool kids who once jammed to anthems like “All the Small Things” are forever alive inside us all.