I made a joke the other day that my love for blink-182 is my longest relationship considering it’s lasted 17 years. I was joking but truthfully there is really nothing and nobody (other than my family obvi) that I have loved as much or as long as I love blink. They have been there through it all and I have been there through almost every stage of the band since EOTS came out. I have a million and two memories wrapped up with this band and I intend on there being many, many more.
Enter California and the Matt Skiba era. It’s literally a whole new era and things are different there’s no doubt. You’ll never ever hear me say that “it’s not blink” though. I understand that people are upset and change is hard and it’s really weird not having Tom around. The thing is though that Mark and Travis have invested just as much into the band so it’s understandable why they would want to continue with the back catalogue of music and history. I can’t fathom being mad or upset that they were willing to keep this band going even with a new member. In fact I will always and forever be thankful for Matt for stepping in and making blink his priority when he never had to do that.
Now all of that isn’t to say I wasn’t skeptical of Matt stepping in and what things were going to be like. I wasn’t sure how things were going to sound or what it was going to be like and I was incredibly anxious. This has all felt like a bit of a re-birth for blink and so things were bound to be different. At the heart of it though California absolutely is a blink-182 album. No question about it. You can hear traces of blink’s older songs throughout the entire album. Listen to Bored to Death and you will immediately think of Feeling This. It doesn’t last long but it’s just enough to make you think of it. The hi-hat triplets at the beginning of Kings of the Weekend remind me of After Midnight. Then there are songs like The Only Thing That Matters that make me think of older albums like Dude Ranch. Just a bit more polished and grown up than songs on that album but I don’t think it would have been out of place at all.
There’s also a lot on the album that sounds fresh and new. Los Angeles and California both stand out as songs that have a completely new vibe to them. I don’t listen to those songs and have them remind me of anything blink has ever done before. I do feel like those songs fell a little bit flat for me lyrically though. I love the sound of both of them but the lyrics aren’t necessarily my favorite.
I absolutely love No Future and have been blasting that one in my car for the last few days. That was the first song that I heard off California that made me really go “oh yeah. That’s Matt Skiba singing.” His voice is unique in it’s own right and you can really hear it during No Future. San Diego is another one where Matt’s voice stands out at certain parts.
The nostalgia and sadness that is apparent throughout San Diego is definitely a theme that’s weaved all throughout the album. It’s a bit darker and heavier lyrically than any other album they’ve ever done. There’s a lot we can all probably relate to when it comes to looking at our past and thinking maybe you really can’t go back. I think all of that makes the album hit a little bit harder especially if you’ve been listening to blink for a long time. If you listen to it and don’t know about their history with places like San Diego then it would probably go over your head a bit. But after everything that has happened all the ups and downs all the drama and the questions of what happens next it brought them to this album.
Home Is Such A Lonely Place hit me right in the gut and didn’t let up the entire song. It very quickly became one of my favorite songs and one that I relate to more than I would like. It’s one of those that I feel like a lot of people won’t like just because it’s slower and a little heartbreaking but I can’t help but listen to it on repeat.
I was scared I was going to be let down by California. I was scared that as happy I was about Matt that I wasn’t going to like the album for whatever reason. Turns out, this album was everything I thought it would be and more. There’s a few misses on the album for me. Sober and Kings of the Weekend probably aren’t ones I’ll go back to on their own but overall the album as a whole is everything I wanted. It’s a blend of everything that makes them blink and some new sounds that come with a new album.
There would be no point to them making the same album every single time. Bands grow and change just like we do as people. It’s the way of life. I know fans get excited about one certain sound and they expect that time in and time out because that’s what they liked at that point but where’s the fun in that? At the end of the day California is a blink-182 album. It’s not +44 with Matt Skiba or a brand new band. It’s blink and I love it. I get that fans are going to be hypercritical about this album but I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I would choose a new album with Mark, Travis, and Matt 11 times out of 10 instead of having them stop the band without Tom. I’m here for Mark and Travis being happy and making music together as blink-182 and now that includes Matt and like I said I will forever love him for it. There’s a reason Mark started blink-182 life. For life. Because like him, there’s a lot of us that feel that way. Through the ups and downs we will be there until the end and as long as they feel that way then so will I.
So here’s to a new beginning of blink and a new album. I’ll be listening to it on repeat for the foreseeable future and count down the days until I see them live at the end of July.