on September 27, 2011
After 8 long years Blink-182 is back. I know everyone is nervous about what kind of music they will be creating. Will Tom have too much influence in the band again ? Is this going to be just a clone of Angels and Airwaves ? Well, let's break this down.
"Ghosts on the Dance Floor" - Starts off very strongly. Upon first listen I felt a lot of Angels and Airwaves vibe. Tom seemed to have brought his voice from AVA, which, IMO, is a lot stronger and sounds much better than the old Tom; they are in their late 30's now after all. Overall, this song grew on me and I find it being one of my favorites on the album. Rating: 5/5
"Natives" - Right away we see Tom going nuts on the guitar. I haven't heard Tom be this creative with guitar since "Cheshire Cat." This song perfectly balances both Mark and Tom and the chorus is too catchy. This is Blink. If you were nervous about the first song, listen to this one, it reassures you. One of the best Blink songs period. Rating: 5/5.
"Up All Night" - This song also took a long time to grow on me. It fits really well with the rest of the CD though. This is a song that doesn't necessarily need to be a single but it molds into the other songs perfectly. Has a great chorus and a little AVA vibe but overall very strong song. Rating: 4.5/5
"After Midnight" - Slower vibe to it. Drums aren't too impressive but damn are they catchy at the beginning. The song's pace reminds me of "Stay Together for the Kids" but I find myself getting this song stuck in my head a lot. This is a great song for Blink and Mark and Tom play amazingly off each other. Rating: 5/5
"Snake Charmer" - Upon first listen, it has a very similar beat to After Midnight which is off-putting. I know I've said it a lot but, this song also grew on me, though not as strongly as the others did. This is one of the weaker songs on the album, but it's still good. I really enjoy the end of the song as well. After all, this song was a part of the Delux edition only so I understand it's weaker points. Rating: 4/5
"Heart's All Gone Interlude" - Absolutely amazing. No other words to describe it. Rating: 5/5
"Heart's All Gone" - If anyone was complaining about Blink not being "Blink" before, they can shut the hell up right now. This song is pure Blink. Travis goes absolutely insane on the drums and this song is a throwback to fans of Cheshire Cat and Dude Ranch. IMO, the strongest song on the album. Listen to this one immediately. Rating: 5/5
"Wishing Well" - Quite simply, this is a great Blink song. It's very catchy and I feel like this is exactly what Blink wanted to sound like. Strong beat and a few "La La's" in there makes this an instant Blink classic. Rating: 5/5
"Kaleidoscope" - Wow, this song really is just fantastic. Blink really knows how to write catchy hooks and this song is a perfect example. Once again, the perfect play off of Mark and Tom. It's a pretty dark song if you read into the lyrics but wow, fans of old Blink will be impressed. Rating: 5/5
"This is Home" - The beginning is different for Blink. Once again Tom tries something different than chords for once and plays some damn good guitar and some "synth" music is added in as well. This song is decent, but it's a weaker song. The chorus isn't as catchy and it's a little harder to get in to. Rating: 3.5/5
"MH 4.18.2011" - This is Mark's song. Obviously from the title, lol. The chorus of this song is too catchy. You'll probably repeat this song after it's played before moving on to the next track. Rating: 5/5
"Love is Dangerous" - Tom got an AVA song fully in here. It's really hard to tell the difference here. Though, if you know Travis' drumming style, you'll know it's Blink. The synth also makes it seem like a very light-hearted AVA song. I still thoroughly enjoy it though. It's a nice change of pace, like After Midnight. Rating: 4/5
"Fighting With Gravity" - By far the worst song on the CD. To be honest, I don't even like this song at all. I just can't get into it. The repeated phrase at the beginning is too much for me. I'm glad this is on the Delux edition and not on the Original release. I don't know what they were doing with this song. Rating: 1/5
"Even if She Falls" - A perfect way to end the CD. Travis really steps up his drumming in this song and the chorus is as catchy as always. I really love the lyrics of this song. I'm kind of amazed this song didn't make the Original version, it has old-school Blink written all over it. Rating: 5/5
Overall, this CD is brilliant. This is exactly where I wanted them to be for their return. The production value on this CD can be a bit much at times but it's overall brilliantly done. Let me be very very clear though, it took me at least 10 listens before I felt this way about all the songs. I am a patient Blink fan so I was willing to give them a lot more of a chance then most. Upon first listen, I would've given this CD a 4/5. Give it a shot, listen to it, absorb it and you'll find yourself in High School again.
Fantastic CD: Overall 5/5.
on September 27, 2011
I was pumped for this CD to finally drop, and I checked my mailbox at college multiple times to see if it was there yet. The first half of the CD is stronger. I felt like Tom pushed a lot of AVA influence into some of the tracks which I didn't find very appealing. Nothing against AVA, I actually like them, but when I buy a blink-182 album I expect a faster pace with less added effects.
One person I was reading about said that this album was composing from different places and you can certainly tell. Some of the songs just don't mesh well together. The guys definitely need to get back into the same studio and get a producer like Jerry Finn to keep all three members in their places so they don't end up overpowering each other.
I was listening to the Jim Rome show yesterday, and Mark Hoppus was on for an interview. He mentioned that he main reason they broke up was because they were trying to change each other, and that now they accept each other for what different musical qualities each bring to the band. While I agree with Mark that different styles and assets are good for a band, I wouldn't say that everyone should just go in their own direction without an overriding theme or purpose for a song.
Wasn't bad, maybe it's just wishful thinking wanting Take Off Your Pants and Jacket-type music again.
on April 22, 2012
So I have been living with "Neighborhoods" for the last few months. And I have to say that it's one of the hardest products to comment on that I have encountered.
You see, "Neighborhoods" is by no means a bad record. It features some excellent songs and as someone who grew up listening to these guys it's a nice nostalgic kick to hear there three guys playing again. But I still can't fully recommend it to anyone.
Why? Partially it could be because it never really sounds like Blink 182. And I don't just mean the silly, sophomoric Blink 182. This does not even sound like mature Blink 182. This sounds like the dude from Angels and Airwaves with a more rap influenced drummer and the dude from +44 singing a few guest verses. And this is where my biggest problem with the record really comes into focus: it sounds like an Angels and Airwaves record.
Now make no mistake about it, this would be the best AVA record ever if just because Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker have a sense of melody and forward momentum that DeLongue does not bring to AVA. They give a few of these tracks some real kicks, whether it be the excellent chorus to "After Midnight" to the more punk inflected "Hearts All Gone", one of the few songs that Hoppus sings lead and Barker plays faster than any man probably should. But to often the same things that have brought down each Angels and Airwaves bring this one down too.
The production is flat and same sounding, to reliant of keyboard that sound just bought and still being used with the preset settings and echo-y vocals that seem to be meant to symbolize something but don't really. And lyrically the record is inert, filled with too many platitudes and overwritten phrases that never really let the songs breathe. A few good songs do get passed the ringer, especially on the records front half, such as "Hearts All Gone, "After Midnight", and "Snake Charmer" (plus "Even If She Falls", which is a well written song), but the second half of this record falls flat too me almost as a whole, like half formed ideas that never quite got figured out.
I don't know if this has to do with the fact that group is self producing for the first time (Jerry Finn was the man who produced their MCA-era records prior to his untimely passing) or that the group wrote songs via e-mail as opposed to creating something together in the same room. Regardless, the record just never really gets into a groove and sustains it.
But it's also not a terrible record. Again, there are some good songs that surface and it is nice to hear these things again. Maybe after such a prolonged period of not writing together they are trying to find their groove again and will hit upon something really strong on their next attempt.
Whatever the reasons though, "Neighborhoods" still stands as their weakest record to date. It's worth picking up used if you come across it and are a fan of the band, but I can't recommend paying full price for it.
on September 30, 2011
If you're expecting another "Enema of the State" or "Take Your Pants and Jacket" from Blink-182, keep waiting. "Neighborhoods" is more like Mark, Tom, and Travis took pieces from their respective projects (AVA, +44) as well as leftovers from Blink's 2003 untitled album and pieced them together into what is sometimes a strange clash of styles, but yet an overall satisfying album. To preface this review, I'd been a fan of Blink since 1999 when Enema of the State came out. I went back and listened to Dude Ranch as well, which I found to be even more amazing. When Take Off Your Pants and Jacket came out, I thought it was a weaker album than the previous two, but still a good album. However, I believe it was apparent to both fans and band that if Blink-182 stayed on the same track they were going, they would start to become stale. Around this same time, pop punk began to explode in the mainstream and bands like Good Charlotte, Simple Plan, and New Found Glory were starting to overshadow Blink-182 by singing the same lyrics of teenage angst and rebellion. I imagine as a response to the pop punk trend, as well as to keep from getting lost in the eventual passing of the trend, Blink chose to alter their style for their next album, going for a much darker sound combining elements of alternative, post-punk, emo, and experimental, also eliminating all elements of humor from their lyrics. Though the album had a few successes with "Feeling This" and "I Miss You," the album was somewhat alienating for their long-time fans, myself included, who felt their new style was too serious and depressing. However, after a few years and some growing up, the album really grew on me and I now see it as Blink's best album from an artistic standpoint. Of course, we all know the story of Blink breaking up and after several years and the deaths of a few close friends to the band, here we are now at Neighborhoods, the band's "comeback" album and their first in 8 years.
"Ghost on the Dance Floor" - A very catchy opening song that lets you know right off the bat what to expect. Layered with synth, soaring vocals, and lyrics about death and loss, the album opener gives you an idea of what's to come. 4/5
"Natives" - Great guitar riff in the intro, and one of the few songs on the album to features such a memorable guitar part. This is perhaps one of the best songs on the album in terms of musical complexity as well as having a great chorus with Mark on vocals. 5/5
"Up All Night" - The first single from the album and one of the songs I feel really conveys the mixture of musical styles throughout the album. The intro has an almost progressive, Rush-like feel to it which then kicks into a heavy, hardcore punk-like breakdown. The verse and chorus somewhat reminiscent of songs such as "Feeling This" or "Down" from the untitled album with Mark and Tom trading off and harmonizing vocals. Overall, a very interesting track that shows Blink's newfound flexibility with different musical styles. 4.5/5
"After Midnight" - Okay, this might be the one song on the album that is somewhat a throwback to Take Off Your Pants and Jacket-era Blink, albeit similar to the more mellow songs from that album. I think it's for this reason that the band has decided to release it as the second single. Probably one of the catchiest songs from the album, it was apparently written as a last minute addition to the album. Not bad for what was originally intended as a filler song. 4.5/5
"Snake Charmer" - This track is only included on the deluxe edition of the album, and though I think it's great, I can see why it might seem somewhat alienating to some Blink fans. The song is probably one the "darker" sounding songs that kind of reminds me of A Perfect Circle at some points, and it also doesn't fit in with the feel of the rest of the album, but on it's own, it's a very unique track for Blink-182. 4.5/5
"Heart's All Gone (Interlude)" - An instrumental track leading into the song "Heart's All Gone." I love it so much that I think it should have been included in the main version of the album. Though it's not typical of Blink's style (it almost sounds like something you'd hear on a Tool album), it's a very intriguing track that serves as the mellow "calm before the storm" that is "Heart's All Gone." 5/5
"Heart's All Gone" - In my opinion, this is by far the best track on the album. A lot of people call it a throwback to Dude Ranch, and though I somewhat agree with that sentiment, I feel that comparison doesn't give the track enough credit. The first half of the track is a fast-paced punk track that sounds influenced by Bad Religion, with Tom adding some nice little lead guitar touches here and there. The break in the middle is a slight return to the interlude with a cool little melodic bass part followed by a chugging riff that leads back into the chorus, as the last minute of the song really pounds it out. Amazing song. 5/5
"Wishing Well" - This is probably the most pop sounding track on the whole album, one of those that kind of get stuck in your head. Blink makes it work though, and it's a nice addition that kind of gives a break from the bleakness of the rest of the album. 4/5
"Kaleidoscope" - Musically, this track kind of reminds me of The Used's earlier material. It's not a bad song, but not great either. I'm kind of neutral about it. 3/5
"This Is Home" - I almost think this song would be better without the synth, but then it would probably sound like another leftover from TOYPAJ. Just kind of a basic pop-rock song. I'm not really big on this track either. 2/5
"M.H. 4.18.2011" - This song kind of picks it up a bit after two less than stellar songs. I think this song sounds more like it would be from Dude Ranch than "Heart's All Gone." I also think I'm just more partial to Mark Hoppus, but whatever the case, I think this is one of the better songs from the album. 4.5/5
"Love Is Dangerous" - This is perhaps the most AVA sounding song on the whole album. For some reason, I never cared for AVA and as a result, I don't really care for this track. Musically, it's kind of bland, yet attempts to be over-the-top with the layers of synth, Tom's soaring vocals, and the cheesy lyrics. Even the title kind of gives you the inclination that the song was written by a high school student experiencing his first major break-up. On the main version of the album, this is the closing song and is kind of a terrible closer at that. 2/5
"Fighting the Gravity" - Everyone else I've seen review this track has been kind of hard on it. It is definitely a very weird track for Blink and is kind of similar to "Snake Charmer" in that they both make me think of A Perfect Circle. However, I like it quite a bit and it's a nice change for Blink that definitely shows they're willing to branch out into other styles, as well as make more use of space and ambience rather than pack every song with a non-stop onslaught of riffs. I actually hope to see more of this kind of style from Blink in the future. 4.5/5
"Even If She Falls" - Somewhat catchy, but overall pretty bland. The lyrics are a little cheesy too. This is another one of the deluxe edition tracks that was rightfully left over the main version of the album. 2/5
As an album, it's not always very cohesive, but the first half of the album is pretty damn good. However, the album peaks at "Heart's All Gone" and from there, kind of wallows with poppy filler songs, with "Wishing Well," "M.H. 4.18.2011" and "Fighting the Gravity" being the only redeeming songs. If they'd have kept these three and done away with the rest of the second half, the album would be almost perfect. Also on this album, Tom's guitar work seems overall lacking compared to past efforts. His incorporation of AVA-style songs also kind of weakens the album in my opinion, and though the synth sometimes adds nice touches on some songs, at points it gets to be too much and songs like "Love Is Dangerous" suffers from over-production. Also, "Up All Night" and a few other songs are so loud at points that they start clipping.
on January 6, 2013
Re-emerging after nearly a decade-long absence, Blink-182's highly-anticipated 2011 reunion album, "Neighborhoods," unsurprisingly finds the band embracing their age and continuing on the path that 2003's self-titled affair blazed. With hooks still intact, the power-punk-pop trio has all but abandoned the sillier subject matter of days gone by in exchange for more mature themes and, as a consequence, more refined compositions. Having more in common with the likes of '80s-era The Cure than '90s-era Green Day, "Neighborhoods" is almost guaranteed to be the band's most polarizing, and in turn, most interesting affair to date.
The album opens with the superb "Ghost on the Dance Floor," appropriately steeped in atmospheric flourishes and melancholic lyrics by guitarist/vocalist Tom DeLonge that set the stage for the rest of the album. Whether it's through the post-hardcore of "Hearts All Gone" or the instant hit "Natives," which serves to give the band's signature sound a much needed overhaul, the band are in top form and don't sound as if they've missed a beat since 2003. Bassist/co-vocalist Mark Hoppus bounces off DeLonge even better than before, while drummer Travis Barker -- a stand-out talent in his own right -- serves the songs perfectly, giving them the ample space they need to breathe. There's enough spread amongst the brief ten song set (fourteen if you take the "Deluxe Edition" into consideration) to keep things interesting, yet it can't help but feel like the band could have taken things a step farther. If there's one flaw to the album, it's that it sounds incomplete in comparison to its 2003 counterpart. That aside, the album still offers enough surprises and enough catchy tunes to engage long-time fans as well as those with only a surface interest in the band's earlier material.
Acknowledging that the glory days of the Warped Tour and TRL are long gone, Blink-182 have forged a unique sound all their own that pays tribute to their past and hints at the future. These aren't the same snot-nosed brats who created the likes of "Dude Ranch" or "Enema of the State," and that's a breath of fresh air. With its members all pushing 40, growing up and expanding on their sound is all but inevitable in order to survive. If you fell in love with Blink-182 at the rock show or can't remember your age, you might feel some growing pains. Rest assured though that Blink-182 are aging well with a future that looks brighter than ever. To echo a lyric that has become a cliché, I guess this is growing up.
on November 3, 2011
Blink 182 continues moving forward with this album. The change isn't quite as jarring as the change from "Take Off Your Pants and Jacket" to the self-titled masterpiece "Blink 182" but still a definite progression. Neighborhoods is an excellent showcase of the groups individual talents and how those talents can come together to make a great band. Their experience from Boxcar Racer, Angels and Airwaves and +44 shine through on most every track and we get some of the "punkiest" (and angriest) sounding songs of their career so far.
on February 21, 2012
If we have learned nothing else from the recent return of such bands as Smashing Pumpkins and Bush, it is that you truly can never go home again. The 90's are over. Forever. And trust me, nobody is more upset about that than me. With that in mind, its always nice to see bands I loved in the 90's retool, reform, repent and move forward.
The new Smashing Pumpkins albums are great, don't get me wrong. Same with the new Bush album. But if you bought any of them expecting to hear "Siamese Dream" or "Razorblade Suitcase" then you were no doubt disappointed. They've changed, matured, and their music has changed with them. This isn't a bad thing, but part of me wonders why they still call their bands by their old names? The easy answer is so they can sell more records, and I can get on board with that, but when the sound is so different now from what they were originally, why not a new name to go along with the new sound? This is why I love Angels and Airwaves. There comes a time in every young man's life where he grows to the age where writing songs about having sex with one's own grandfather would just seem sad. And bravo to the boys from Blink-182 for recognizing this and moving on to more... shall we say "grown up" music. As a nice little tribute to their former band, Angels and Airwaves' new album carries the title "Blink-182 Neighborhoods" and I gotta say, I like nostalgia that. A connection to the past with an eye (and ear) toward the future if you will. Sure, they try to emulate their old band with the occasional F-word thrown in here and there, but honestly it always sounds like they just shoehorned it into the songs in various random places at this point. The F-word should come naturally, not sound forced like it does here.
Anyway, I've rambled on long enough. The short version is that I liked this album, but then I've always liked Angels and Airwaves. If you're at all familiar with any of their other works then nothing on this album will not come as a surprise to you at all. However, if you're looking for classic Blink-182 material, you're just going to have to let it go my friend. The 90's are over. I've accepted it, and you should too.
on October 21, 2011
I'm biased. I'm a big fan. I won't rate each song, as many have already done so here. Don't listen to those that bemoan that blink is not the same. I echo those that comment they like that blink has matured past some of the juvenile lyrics. (Not that I didn't enjoy it at the time - but hey - if you've been fans since their inception, we were closer to our teens at that time, so it was okay.) This is the same talented blink, with the same catchy music that makes you want to speed down the highway smacking your steering wheel and getting amped up. It would be boring to not evolve as they have! I respect them and appreciate their music just as much. Don't get me wrong - this music is by NO means resigning to the Top 40 channel. Blink is still awesome, and I'm happy to finally get my fix after so long!
FYI - i'm only giving four stars, because realistically i'm not in love with every single song - but to be fair, that is pretty much any album I buy, realistically. I don't particularly like song "Love is Dangerous" as in my heart, "Stockholm Syndrome" will always be my favorite-type song. But hey - I appreciate not being so angry and violently hating the world 24/7, otherwise i'd explode, and not be able to listen to Blink 182 anymore.
on October 9, 2011
I think most fans realized that this would not be a return to their old sound. It definitely blends many aspects of Angels and Airwaves with what Blink did on their last album. I went into it already expecting that and I really like this. Do I miss the old pop-punk style? Of course I do. But that's not a reason to hate on Neighborhoods. They've grown up, just like a lot of their fans have.
As far as the songs go, I think the ones with both Tom and Mark singing are great, but they both hold their own when alone on a song as well. Musically, the album isn't groundbreaking, but it's got some great riffs and soundscapes going on. The Heart's All Gone Interlude is simply awesome. It's a great set up for the fast pace of the actual song. Wishing Well sounds a lot like classic Blink, and Kaleidoscope is another one of my favorites. Fighting the Gravity is a really strange, kind of moody song with Mark singing that I really dig as well. Lyrically, as others have mentioned, this is a very serious and dark album without a doubt.
Here's the bottom line: If you hate the sound that AVA has, you will hate this album. If you like them and like the direction Blink was heading into on their self titled then I think you will find a lot to enjoy here.
on October 9, 2011
This is Blink 182's first album after they got back together after a brief breakup in 2005. This is Blink 182 all grown up. the songs are a lot more mature, and you can tell the group has grown up a lot since the last time they put an album out which was in 2003, the self titled album. they still have some of their blink style to them, the songs still rock and you can relate to them. so not all has changed about this great band. they are putting good music together at this later time in their lives. my favorite song on the album is the first track called
''Ghost on the dance floor'' its catchy but also a but haunting as well if you listen to the lyrics. any blink fan should buy this album and you will enjoy it. its not what some may be use to but the band is trying to grow with age, they are no longer in their early 20's and they want music to show what they have done since they last put a CD out. a die hard fan will love this album and what they have done.