Blink 182 have been a constant at the forefront of pop punk history for many years. It was a massive curveball to many fans when it was announced that the distinctive vocal of Tom Delonge would no longer play a part in the genre-dominating trio, and would be replaced with Alkaline Trio’s frontman Matt Skiba. However, the move obviously worked, when their chart-topping album California was released in 2016, reaching no.1 in the UK album chart.
Merely a year later and the band have revealed the deluxe edition of California, with 11 full new tracks to enjoy, and an acoustic jam of the hit single from the original release of the album, Bored to Death.
The new album opens with the unmistakable, energetic fills of drummer Travis Barker to bring in Parking Lot. From the get-go, the old-fashioned pop punk sound of Blink is immediately still apparent, reeking of teenage angst (even though they are undoubtedly not even close to teenagers anymore). Sombre track Misery hosts a lovely guitar tone; it has more of a melodic feel than the previous and boasts some lovely heartfelt lyrics which make the song a standout on the listings.
Good Old Days is suitably nostalgic to Blink’s heyday without being too cheesy, boasting some interesting vocal harmonies from Matt Skiba and Mark Hoppus. Don’t Mean Anything has a massive sing-along vibe and you can almost picture an adoring crowd bouncing along to Hey I’m Sorry, a song definitely distinctly designed for live shows.
Recent single Wildfire is a standout track, purely melodically. The tune is an onslaught of noise, and the typical simple-spoken type vocal in the verses harks back to the old Blink 182 we used to know. The lyrics “strike a match and start a wildfire” are an instant earworm that sticks in your head long after the first listen.
The aptly named 6/8 is suitably catchy, and it’s interesting that the track doesn’t sound too unusual even with its non-conventional timing. Emotional ballad Long Lost Feeling’s guitar riffs hark back to classic Blink 182 track Stay Together for The Kids, whereas things totally switch up for the dance-infused Bottom of The Ocean.
Confusingly thrown in at the end is 35-second-long thrasher Can’t Get You More Pregnant, which highlights the trio’s lasting ability to explore immature themes; unfortunately, it’s just not quite noticeable enough to be worth putting on an album track listing.
The album ends with a live acoustic version of Bored to Death, a fan favourite from the original release of California. It really gives a new vibe to the song and helps the lyrics come to the forefront where you might not have noticed them as much in the previous electronic version.
Overall, this is purely an acceptable release with some catchy tracks to boot. However, deluxe editions of albums that have already been released are a point of confusion to me. There are a suitable number of new tracks to warrant a whole new album, so why they didn’t simply release it as a new album seems a little odd. Nevertheless, the release of the deluxe edition of California does hold some positives – Blink 182 are clearly still hungry to write and record new music, something their die-hard fans can hold onto.
Blink 182 are touring the UK in July with support from Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls and The Front Bottoms. Get tickets here!