It’s been a little over 20 years since the release of Cheshire Cat, Blink-182’s first album that started the pavement towards global fandom. Back in early 2015, the band was slated to go into the recording studio to work on a new album but was stopped by Tom Delonge leaving the band (again).
Instead of calling it quits, Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker decided to move forward with the legacy of the band and recruit Matt Skiba (from Alkaline Trio) as the new member. Fast forward a year, and we are given the new Blink-182 era: California.
Blink-182 California Review
California is the product of an old band finding a new spark of life. Don’t get me wrong, I love Tom Delonge including all of his other work, but with Matt Skiba in the band it really feels fresh with a cool sense of style. If you’ve read any of the numerous interviews that Matt and Travis have been in recently, they’ve all agreed that having Matt in the studio with them has been phenomenal; possibly the best and closest the band has ever been before.
You can really hear it too from the start of “Cynical,” a soft-paced string of lyrics clashing with a fast-punk rock ending with “Brohemian Rhapsody,” a 30-second punk song with the single sticky verse: “There’s something about you I can’t quite put my finger in.”
The very fundamentals that started Blink are still there. The fun is still in the very heart of the new trio and album. You can’t get away without a smile when you hear the 16-second track “Built This Pool.” But you’ll also find the intense emotional core of Blink with tracks like “No Future” and “Left Alone.”
I want to really praise Matt Skiba throughout this entire album. His vocals alongside with Mark really heightens the strength of each track, his punk style gives Blink that edge it always likes to have.
What people need to understand the most about this album, is that Blink-182 has evolved. They are not young teenagers anymore singing about fucking dogs. These guys are all older now with families and their own lives.
So with that said, most of these songs are written with new age lyrics that work perfectly. You’ll still find the soul of Blink with “She’s Out Her Mind” and “Bored to Death,” but you’ll also find some real treasured pieces with the ballad of “Home Is Such A Lonely Place” or even the really dark and different tone of “Los Angeles.”
As a whole, this album will be a milestone for the band in terms of originality and a new sense of direction.
A New Direction for Blink-182
Without Tom, everyone feels a loss for the band. But we shouldn’t feel that way! Matt Skiba is an excellent addition to this iconic band, and once you listen to the album I think you’ll feel that he deserves every right to be a part of that legacy. Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker are at their best with their creative lyrics and beats, and I’m so thankful they decided to keep the band going.
The new trio has an album they should be really proud of. They are about to go on their huge U.S. tour, and I’ve got tickets to see them in August; I cannot be more excited. Go check out California online or do yourself a favor and buy a copy. Blink-182 is back!