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Having defined the coming-of-age of all misfits, skaters and dropkicks alike, there aren’t many bands who conjure the same concoction of conflicting emotions as Blink-182.
In the span of just under 30 years, Blink have transcended everything that simply defines what it means to be a band. They’ve navigated the trajectory of celebrity, legend status and heinous public conflict that have more recently overshadowed their vast, iconic history.
Despite what some would say were their “glory days” were behind them, the prospects of longtime heroes re-inventing themselves after DeLonge’s departure was exciting. Since then, Blink have continued to maintain their status as unstoppable monsters of rock.
After almost four years between octave chords and huge choruses Nine has arrived. Nine, at its core, sounds like Blink having the most fun they could possibly revel in—which is at their core, what they’ve always been about. It’s pulsating and blood-pumping, a totally rolicking good time that begs the listener to suspend disbelief for just over 40 minutes, and embrace its unrelenting lust for life.
This collection could be the final straw for Blink lifers, yearning for some sort of youthful, authentic substance—but from the confidence of the gigantic hooks, stadium sized instrumentals and Travis Barker’s instantly recognisable drumming, Blink-182 are clearly more than happy to leave the naysayers behind.
Nine, at its core, sounds like Blink having the most fun they could possibly revel in—which is at their core, what they’ve always been about.
The First Time opens in a busy drum fill that’ll satiate fans fanging for a throwback to Feelin’ This, propelled by an alt-rock leaning riff that could’ve been pulled from the post-hiatus book of Tom DeLonge riffs.
Whilst the track’s instrumental evokes a hefty emotions and drives with passion, on-the-nose lyrics rolled off the tongue of Hoppus like ‘The first pill that you drop sets you off’ have the whole-hearted potential to strip the track of any merit. Stop that, please. However, drenched in so many pop-punk cliches, it’s hard not to get swept away in the track’s undeniable charm that’ll so obviously reverberate well live.
Heaven’s booming chorus and moodier edge showcases Mark Hoppus’ continual ability to craft interesting melodic structures. Run Away opens in a strange Linkin Park-esque, ominous piano led electronic fizz, however resolves itself once the chorus hits—a theme that runs throughout the album’s 15 tracks.
Nine is clearly a conscious effort from Blink-182 to craft well-written, driving rock tunes, eventuating a solid package.
Upon glancing at the tracklisting, On Some Emo Shit didn’t seem promising, however, in a shocking turn of events, the powerful track proves itself to be one of the album’s sweetest spots featuring a colourful chord changes and solid lyricism—it could even be one of the best tracks the band have released since their hiatus. Darkside also falls into the echelon of one of the band’s best post-hiatus tracks, driven by a dance-beat and repetitive chorus that evokes the glory of 2003’s Always.
Matt Skiba driven number No Heart To Speak Of is one of the most powerful cuts he’s offered to the band during his tenure thus far, and after multiple listens, there is a tongue-in-cheek glow to Blame It On My Youth that makes it pretty damn irresistible.
Whilst the overuse of drum samples, bloated synths and electronics and the heavy reliance on vocal tuning strips some character and charm that was in fact present in California, Nine is clearly a conscious effort from Blink-182 to craft well-written, driving rock tunes, eventuating a solid package.
At the end of the day, life is way more enjoyable to live in a world in which Blink continue to make music, sell out arenas and convert generations of kids with a massive gateway into punk culture.