Blink-182 returns with new album and tour

Julia Hettiger, Entertainment Editor

Five years after their last album, pop-punk band Blink-182 is back with “California,” which was released on July 1. “California” is the first album since lead singer and guitarist Tom Delonge left the band in 2015, having been replaced by Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba.

Every true fan of Blink-182 has been skeptical of the band’s future since Delonge’s departure. his voice and quirky personality are a staple of many of their hit songs, including “All the Small Things” and “I Miss You.” Still, “California” beat many of the odds that were stacked against it and is something every Blink fan, new and old, can enjoy.

Thankfully, Blink-182 has not lost any of their ‘90s teenage angst.

Although he is no longer a skateboarding teenager, annoying Sally or running naked on beaches, Mark Hoppus, lead singer and bassist, still sings like he’s “17 without a purpose or direction.”

This is evident from the first song, “Cynical.” Hoppus sings, “There’s a cynical feeling saying I should give up,” and it’s like you’re a teenager again, hiding out in your room, listening to punk way too loud because you’re mad at your parents.

“Bored to Death,” the second song on the album, is great because it acknowledges that everyone grows up no matter what. Hoppus sings, “It’s a long way back from 17,” and it’s one of those lines that everyone can relate to.

Blink is notorious for singing songs about girls—everything from falling in love and breaking up, to meeting girls who drive them wild.

In “She’s Out of Her Mind,” Hoppus and Skiba sing about being in love with a girl who is neurotic and random. They pull together a song whose beat and music sound crazy along with the story, but is overall done well.

Three songs on the album, “Los Angeles,” “San Diego” and “California,” all adhere to the California theme.

While “Los Angeles” beckons the city to save the band from peril, “San Diego” conveys the opposite as they sing about not being able to return to San Diego because of the memories of loss and love there. In the song “California,” Hoppus and Skiba applaud the state for being a wonderful place to live.

Blink returns to their cynical roots in “The Only Thing That Matters,” “No Future” and “Left Alone,” but takes a sadder turn in “Home is Such a Lonely Place.” In that song, Hoppus starts  by singing, “We’re falling faster than we can fly,” setting the tone for the rest of the song.

“Teenage Satellites,” “Kings of the Weekend” and “Sober” really capture Blink-182’s traditional sound, but seem more like fillers on the album. Nonetheless, they’re still enjoyable to listen to.

One of the drawbacks to “California” is the shorter, inappropriate songs on the album.

It would have fared better if they had left out songs like “Built This Pool” and “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which serve only as comedic relief. While the band is trying to maintain their humorous image, they fail to acknowledge how weird it is to hear two grown men sing about anatomical parts that make 15 year olds chuckle in health class.

The album, which has a strong, already youthful tone to it, didn’t need these shorts thrown in at random to capture the singers’ attempted youthfulness. The only song that was remotely successful at being explicit was “Rabbit Hole,” which successfully combines their iconic angst and humor.

While Skiba is no Delonge, the album makes a great effort to secure Blink-182’s future.

Anyone who refuses to listen to them while they’re Delonge-less should give Skiba a chance. “California” sounds more like a traditional Blink-182 album than its predecessors “Neighborhoods” and “Dogs Eating Dogs,” and has songs that will soon become classics.

The release of “California” kicks off Blink-182’s tour, which includes a stop in El Paso. Hoppus, Skiba and drummer Travis Barker will hit the Don Haskins Center on July 26, along with bands A Day to Remember and All-American Rejects. Tickets are on sale at ticketmaster.com. For more information about the concert, visit www.utepspecialevents.com.

Julia Hettiger may be reached at [email protected]