Monday, April 23, 2012

Album Review - Blink-182, "Neighborhoods"

Megan Purazrang
WCB Music Writer
Released September 27, 2011
Producers - Mark Hoppus, Tom DeLonge,
Travis Barker
Label -DGC Records and Interscope Records
A decent career path of a band displays growth and evolution. Reunited punk band Blink 182 is proof that successful bands can do this with the most recent release of their first album in six years labeled Neighborhoods.

The band formed in 1992. Original members Mark Hoppus, Tom DeLonge, and Scott Raynor (replaced by Travis Barker in 1998) were on a fast track to success beginning with the self-released EP called Fly Swatter, and proceeded by Buddha and Cheshire Cat consecutively in the two years to follow.

The punk rebellion motif in their younger sound and lyrics was appealing to fans in a time when successful boy bands such as the Backstreet Boys and NSYNC were popular for love songs. In comparison, Blink expressed love with child-like mannerisms instead of heart-to-heart reflection. The band’s vibe spoke from a place of raw and immature emotion. Teenagers admired this sense of careless and honest leisure. Their music was compatible to the punk genre, and it didn’t matter what they said because they were accepted. Hit songs “What’s My Age Again?” and “All the Small Things” continued to bring success to the band and added credibility to their name.

In 2005, the band went on a hiatus with no promise of returning to the music scene together. Their newest release, Neighborhoods, carries an even darker tone than their self titled release. The thought to re-unite was almost an immediate reaction to the plane crash in which drummer Travis Barker could have been killed.

Since the reunion in 2009, the new sound has reached a level of obvious maturity. The authentic sound that has always brought immediate recognition to the band within the first moments of comprehension is still very alive in each tune. This is easily noticed in “Up All Night” as it begins with the in-your-face fast beat and DeLonge’s familiar nasal tone. The melody is impressionable and the lyrics reflect growth in a world of rapid changing elements without fluctuating away from the foundation of punk. As usual, Barker’s drum beats are anything but indistinctive as they are the steady foundation. “After Midnight” is a last hope for a love that is nothing more than a thread. A disconsolate and embraceable song of what it sincerely means to pretend that everything is all right when it clearly is not. “Wishing Well” pulls the “bubblegum punk” and alternative rock radio friendly definition to clarity. Each word is flowing poetry containing many references to literature and understandings. They’ve traded in some of the teen-angst insecurities for stories of demons and pain. No question that is a side effect of growing up – an expectation that was not entirely foreseen in their early days. Despite the ambiguous feelings about the release so many years later, this is a fitting way to come back to the music scene as one again.

The music of the band has emerged over the last decade surviving age, a hiatus, and change within the core of the punk trio. Considering all judgments, there is nothing wrong with giving a band a chance to show that they’ve grown up.

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