Pop-punk icons make their return this year with new members and new music, how does that sound?
‘Bored To Death’ is the first track from the three-piece’s upcoming seventh album ‘California’ set for release July 1st. With their last LP ‘Neighbourhoods’ dropping six years ago and only the EP ‘Dogs Eating Dogs’ and their compilation album ‘Icon’ coming within those years, blink fans have been worried about the future of the band given the departure of vocalist/guitarist Tom DeLonge last year. Nevertheless, Matt Skiba, frontman for ‘Alkaline Trio’ and ‘The Sekrets’ has taken his place in the band’s line-up marking their first change since Scott Raynor was replaced by drummer Travis Barker in 1998.
The track begins with a filtered drum fill instantly promoting blink’s quintessential pop-punk sound. Then with a guitar pattern almost identical to that from their classic ‘Adam’s Song’, there is no mistaking that the band seek to maintain their original sound after deviating with more electronic production on their previous album. Mark Hoppus leads vocals with Skiba providing vocal harmonies but Tom’s presence does not seem missed. The band still seem to captivate the feeling of hopeful hopelessness that teenagers around the world have been drawn to since blink 182’s début album ‘Cheshire Cat’ in 1995. However, whilst Hoppus has claimed that DeLonge was attempting to make their songs “sound like Coldplay” before he left, the ‘pop’ aspect of the ‘pop-punk’ genre is definitely most evident in this track despite Tom’s absence.
Although the anthemic chorus renders any listener jumping about head banging, the orchestral backing and “oh! oh oh”s in the track’s mid-eight seem to contrast with blink’s previously raw style. Similarly, the lyric video’s plastic-y yellows and purples appear to leak into the track emphasising its artificiality and overly-tight production. Yet perhaps, as depicted by the album art, the band is attempting to make a balance between darkness and bright positivity. With sombre lyrics in places but sunny strings behind them, ‘Bored To Death’ exemplifies this juxtaposition. Moreover, the band known for promoting the madness of youth whilst also dealing with the struggles of growing up, seems self-conscious of the fact that they are ageing yet still trying to tap into the mindset up an angsty teen. With lyrics like “It’s a long way back from seventeen / And whispers turn into a scream”, it is evident that the process of growing up has finally hit the band despite their attempts to recreate their classic style and message.
Blink 182 fans will be glad to hear a relic of their past as this track echoes previous favourites such as ‘Adam’s Song’ and ‘Anthem Part Two’. With ‘California’ spanning sixteen tracks, it is likely that Matt Skiba will have a greater presence on other songs and that the band’s skate punk style will return elsewhere. However, as the band now sit in adulthood with new challenges to discuss whilst also wanting to please fans, it should be made clear that regression is not growth. Their development from slapstick skits to creating instant pop-punk staples must be praised and their new album will probably be the soundtrack to the summer of many post-teens and new fans alike.
Catch the band on their US tour with A Day To Remember, All Time Low, All American Rejects and DJ Spider from July 22nd.
Hear it here: Bored To Death – blink 182
Written by: James Wijesinghe