New blink-182 single “Bored to Death”

My favorite band of all time has blessed listeners with a new song after nearly four years of no music (the EP “Dogs Eating Dogs” was released December 2012). Blink-182 is featuring a new lineup with Alkaline Trio frontman Matt Skiba filling in the space left by Tom DeLonge. The band worked with producer John Feldmann over the last few months to create “California,” their comeback album set to be released on July 1. When they premiered their song on KROQ, they announced that their tour will start at the end of July and end at LA’s Forum on October 1. Special guests A Day To Remember, The All-American Rejects, All Time Low and DJ Spider will be joining them on the road (for tour dates click here).

The track starts off with some “Adam’s Song” guitar vibes as well as a reminiscent sound of “Feeling This.” Mark Hoppus’ vocals definitely lean toward his +44 days with drummer Travis Barker. Skiba’s rougher voice flows perfectly with Hoppus’ smoother tone. Feldy’s influence is already evident. Feldmann is known for crafting catchy songs with strong hooks that are meant to take over the airwaves. However, that craftiness (which I prefer to compare to magic, like Barker said in the band’s interview with KROQ) doesn’t take anything away from the authenticity of the band.

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blink-182 at the KROQ studios via blink’s Twitter

A huge problem with “Neighborhoods,” blink’s last album, was that everyone recorded their parts in separate studios. There was an obvious disconnect that could be felt in the album, and it was plain to see that the guys weren’t having fun. During shows, DeLonge would sport t-shirts of his side projects and wear hats that shadowed his face. Whatever banter that they had left in them was forced and awkward. After hearing “Bored,” I have no doubt in my mind that this album is blink’s rebirth. The energy is prominent in the song, from Barker’s experimentation with different kinds of drum beats to the emotion in the vocals.

Blink-182 sounds exactly what blink-182 should be in 2016. It contains the unmistakable Barker drums, a back and forth between Hoppus and Skiba, slick guitar chords. There’s unity within it, as well. All the players in the band are in sync, and it’s something that isn’t really noticed until you compare a band that is in sync with one that is not. Barker commented that “Bored” is a great representation of what listeners can expect from the rest of the 16-track album. KROQ gave a preview of “Built This Pool,” which clearly showed in less than 20 seconds that Hoppus can still be the immature kid he always has been. There’s a variety of songs on the album from the quirky titled “Brohemian Rhapsody” to the serious “Home Is Such a Lonely Place.”

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Hoppus and Barker also mentioned on the radio that Skiba was the first person they called to play with with, and recording wasn’t even in mind at first. A little over a year ago, the band asked Skiba to fill in for DeLonge for three shows in Southern California, but the trio just clicked and Skiba was asked to stay. I saw two out of three of those show, and I personally believe that Skiba was a natural on stage with blink (which I reviewed here and here). Everything seemed effortless from the jokes to the music.

“We all put a lot of effort into this and a lot of heart and a lot of thought, but it fit together like Legos.” –Matt Skiba to Rolling Stone

Feldmann is a member of the band Goldfinger, but more recently he has been producing music with bands from all across the punk pop spectrum from harder groups like Escape the Fate and Sleeping with Sirens to more catchy bands like Panic! at The Disco, 5 Seconds of Summer and Good Charlotte (just check out his wiki page to see for yourself the crazy amount of artists he has worked with). Those bands have had only good things to say about Feldy, often raving via social media about his talents and ability to keep a group motivated. In an interview with Fuse, Hoppus mentioned that Feldmann had “far surpassed anything any of us had expected as a producer” and he’s the closest they’ve come to finding someone to fill the space after losing producer and friend Jerry Finn in 2008.

On Thursday night, blink hosted a tour launch party that included all of their opening acts, Feldmann and friends. Hoppus, Alex Gaskarth (ATL) and Jack Barakat (ATL) all documented the night via Snapchat, sharing the fun times of karaoke (with only blink songs) and sipping out of cups designed to look like parrot heads. The tour is not for another three months, and the guys are already showing so much enthusiasm.

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Barker, Feldmann and Barakat at the tour launch party via Barker’s instagram

You may be asking yourself what DeLonge is up to. Well, that’s a great question. He’s been talking to Rolling Stone and most recently he posted on Facebook that there is still a future with him and blink, in addition to the fact that he talks to Barker all the time. In the RS article, he talked about how none of this is about his ego, how the band has always been dysfunctional and expressed concern about the band’s legacy. A few weeks later, he wrote to RS to confirm that he is “still in the band.” His Facebook statement was rather problematic as well, reducing Feldy to his poppier sounding bands and looking down on blink’s choice to get help from an outside songwriter, all of it coming across in a condescending tone. All of this truly pains me to say because I’ve spent much of my life looking up to Tom both as a person and musician, but now I just find myself questioning his actions and intentions. This is all I’m going to say on that matter, and I’ll let you come to your own conclusions.

Fun facts about blink and “California”:

  1. The album is being released on July 1, which is normally the 182nd day of the year. Like the nerd he is, Mark pointed out that this year July 1 is the 183rd day because it’s a leap year (so should it be blin-182? Sorry, lame joke).
  2. Possible album names included “Nude Erection,” “OB-GYN Kenobi” and “No Hard Feelings.”
  3. All Time Low started in high school as a blink-182 cover band.
  4. Blink shared on KROQ that “Bored” was written and produced on the first day that the band started working with Feldy.
  5. My favorite quote about the album so far from Hoppus:

“Everyone that we’ve played it for has had a great, positive reaction for it. The best way I can describe it is it feels like home. When you listen to it, it feels like what blink-182 really is, and it hasn’t felt like that in a while, for me, personally.”

Thanks for reading,

Nikole

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