My appreciation of Blink 182’s music has been hit-or-miss, fluctuating on an album-by-album, or even a song-by-song basis. For example, I could, at one time, wholly relate to the inner turmoil expressed in a song like, “Wasting Time.” I still find the sheer, crazy energy of “Josie” irresistible.
A couple years later, though, I couldn’t wait until Enema of the State’s singles finally stopped getting airplay, although “Adam’s Song,” had a certain appeal. The Mark, Tom and Travis Show didn’t do anything for me, either. 2001’s Take Off Your Pants and Jacket was a good album, with “Stay Together for the Kids,” striking a personal note that stays with me to this day.
With Neighborhoods,the band reemerges after eight years sounding like a much, much scarier version of The Killers. The album opens with “Ghost on the Dance Floor,” wherein the band reflects on the loss of its longtime friends, DJ AM and producer Jerry Finn.
From here, the album is a mixed bag. Two tracks, “Natives,” and “Heart’s All Gone,” are sharp indicators of the band’s straight punk upbringing. “This Is Home,” is a playful tune in the vein of “Rock Show.” “Up All Night”,the first single, is definitely the most listener-friendly track, but it’s still a slight pop-punk tune and not the best the album has to offer. For me, the two best tracks were the contemplative, but still upbeat “Wishing Well” and “Fighting The Gravity,” with its crunching riff.
The lyrics are dark, too. Far darker than on any other Blink-182 album, even when the band was singing about divorce or suicide. “Something’s swimming in my blood. Something’s rotting in my brain,” “Let’s drink ourselves to death,” and “I caught a short ride to the grave and back this season,” are a few examples.
Neighborhoods is uneven, but shows great promise. I appreciate toilet humor as much as anyone, but it’s nevertheless interesting when a band decides things like that no longer have a place in its repertoire. It’s not a stretch to say the trio truly has matured.