Best of 2016 Playlist

July 3, 2016

blink-182 - "California" Review

After 5 long years, and a bitter split with Tom Delonge, blink-182's new album is finally here! Break out the board shorts, wife beaters and pepperoni pizza, it's time to relive some middle school memories. 

Click the (link) to buy the album on iTunes. And click any of the links below to read our reviews of singles, "Bored to Death", "Rabbit Hole", and "No Future".

Arguably the most anticipated album of 2016, blink-182 have finally made a real comeback. It has just enough nostalgia to make you wish you were in high school/middle school again. But not so much that it feels like the band are just recycling old material. This record is jam packed with plenty of summer hooks and familiar guitar riffs. blink-182 essentially remind listeners that they are the undisputed kings of pop punk. 

But what really make this album a success is Matt Skiba's entrance. The band needed something new, something different to keep things interesting. With previous albums they tried going for a more experimental rock sound. This time around, they start fresh with a new guitarist/vocalist, and a new producer. Both have done wonders for a band who seemed to be at the end of their career. Instead of crashing and burning, the band have been reborn, while still delivering the same happy-go-lucky pop punk everyone's come to know and love. 

The only problem we have with the album overall is the length. We get the band had lots of material available when it came time to record the album. But a standard 10-11 track album would have been a much better choice than this 16 song monster. At some point, you get kinda bored hearing mind numbing pop punk track after mind numbing track. 

Track by track -
1) Cynical - 7.5 to 8
The album kicks off with this high energy track. It opens the album on a high note, before transitioning into the slower "Bored to Death". The best part of this song is that we get more of Skiba's vocals. And in his 30 second or so performance, he shows why he was the first and only choice to replace Tom Delonge. 

2) Bored to Death - 7.5 (Click link for full review) 

3) She's out of Her Mind - 8 
This song is pop punk through and through. It's the perfect companion piece for "Rock Show". First the band met a girl at a rock show. Here, we get to learn a little more about said girl. Long story short, she's crazy. The upbeat hook and "Whoas" in the chorus make this a must have for summer playlists. Skiba and Hoppus give a dual vocal performance that puts anything Delonge and Hoppus could have done together post-hiatus. The two are in perfect synch, and will have you eating out of their hand in no time. 

4) Los Angeles - 7
Travis Barker delivers a wonderfully technical drum beat for the intro, accompanied by some "out of this world" effects. We wonder if this is one of the demos left over from Delonge's time the band decided to keep? Because this has Tom written all over it. From the spacey effects to the more alt. rock vibe of the song, this screams Angels & Airwaves meets blink-182. This is one of the most experimental songs from the record. It's an acquired taste for sure. Vocals are on-point, but everything else is a little bizarre. The guys sing about wanting the titular "Los Angeles" to save them. From what? And then there are the "Shakira" style "la-la-la-la-las". It's cringe worthy, and so...bizarre. 

5) Sober - 6.5 to 7 
Co-written by Patrick Stump, which is very obvious throughout this song. Stump takes blink-182 brand pop punk and then mixes in some unless electronics and Fall Out Boy brand arena rock. The resulting song is weak. The "na-nas" in the chorus are the cheap way out. Rather than writing an actual chorus, they just "na-na". The only saving grace is the underlying piano melody. The lyrics are also pretty standard. Just Hoppus singing about how he's currently drunk, but he'll make amends for his misdeeds once he's "sober" 

6) Built This Pool - 7 to 7.5 
We could have done without this 17 second song. The riff is upbeat and fun, and had the band drawn it out into a full length song it might have been spectacular. It's just the lyrical content that's lacking. 

7) No Future - 8.5 (Click link to read full review)

8) Home Is Such A Lonely Place - 7.5 to 8 
The acoustic vibes from this song are awesome. We rarely hear the band strip down and go acoustic. Companion songs could be "Adam's Song" or "I Miss You". The constant guitar melody throughout the song is undercut by Barker's steady snare drum, minimal effects, and equally minimal pianos. The final chorus then features Barker breaking into a full kit, giving the "outro" a little more juice than the rest of the song. 

9) Kings of the Weekend - 8.5
Another song that starts with one of Barker's stellar drum lines. Not as fast as previous beats, but just as powerful. The palm muted riff for the verse, and then an explosion of energy for the chorus, things don't get much more blink-182 than this. Cue the second the verse, and Hoppus gives a steady bass line. Skiba gets to show off his voice during the second verse too. The song echoes some of Alkaline Trio's more recent music off "My Shame Is True...". "Kings of the Weekend" is a triumph, no question about it. 

10) Teenage Satellites - 7.5 
A slower track like "Bored to Death", that mixes some of the band's material from "Neighborhoods" with "Take Off...". And again, this song sounds very much like Alkaline Trio's brand of pop punk/alt. rock. Whether that's because of Skiba's vocals or the melodic chorus. Don't think that because the song sounds similar to Alkaline Trio, that means it's a bad thing. It's a great thing. Because Alkaline Trio have been able to grow with their sound as they have. While blink-182 were struggling to hold fans with their ever changing sound. Taking a few cues from Matt's success, blink have found a middle ground between the two styles of pop punk. 

11) Left Alone - 7 to 7.5
Another track we suspect was left over from Delonge's time. The opening and the overall "grand" vibe from the song seem like something off AVA's most recent EP "Chasing Shadows". The song could have been taken straight off "Neighborhoods". Strong alt. rock and exp. rock influences. The chorus is 100% blink-182 (complete with "Whoas") but the verses deviate enough that it keeps your attention. 

12) Rabbit Hole - 7 to 7.5 (Click link for full review)

13) San Diego - 7.5
The opening riff is almost exactly the same as "Bored to Death". If that was the band's intention, then we're okay with it. If not... The song's lyrics deal with going home, which in Hoppus' and Barker's case is the titular "San Diego". Both vocalist croon about not being able to return home, or wanting to one day go back. It's a nice addition to the album, and again sees the band slowing down a little. 

14) The Only Thing That Matters - 7.5 to 8
Barely breaking 2 minutes, but it's a high octane pop punk song seemingly taken straight off "Dude Ranch" or "Enema of the State". This is a great track, mostly because it's so simple. The catchy riff and Barker's quick drumming are sure to invoke many mosh pits this summer. 

15) California - 7
Another more experimental, and slower track. The band already addressed two other places ("Los Angeles" and "San Diego"). This one is dedicated to Hoppus' and Barker's home state. The band express their favorite things about their state. A track that only really comes alive at the 2:25 minute mark. Whether or not the song is right for this album is up for interpretation. It shows the band's more mature side, but at the same time it doesn't really go with the other tracks on the album. This song would have been better suited for the "Dogs Eating Dogs" EP, or even "Neighborhoods". 

16) Brohemian Rhapsody - 7
Another one of those unnecessary tracks. But at least it's a little better than "Built This Pool". Until things get to the lyric, "There's something about you that I just can't put my finger in.

blink-182's comeback "comeback" album is a triumph in every sense. blink-182 (2.0 if you will) has reshaped itself with the addition of Matt Skiba and producer John Feldman. You can never match the band's 1999-2002 era. "California" does, however, show the guys still have a lot to give, and are far from slowing down anytime soon. Could another album be on the horizon in the future? We're hopeful. Because if this release has proven anything, it's that blink-182 can only get better from here on out. 

Favorite Tracks
"No Future" and "Bored to Death" are definitely the album highlights. Runners up include: "She's out of Her Mind" 

Total Average Rating - 7.5/10