I have a confession to make before we start: the only reason I got into blink-182 was my all-consuming love affair with My Chemical Romance.
Throughout my obsession with the inspirational piece that is The Black Parade, I trawled YouTube for any video which even contained a curl of Ray Toro’s incredibly voluminous hair. Knee deep in a series of interviews discussing the band’s personal hygiene, I came across a seminal work: Gerard Way’s hyper-aggressive cover of blink-182’s ‘First Date’. When Mark Hoppus paid him some kind of compliment for his slightly angstier version of their song, I knew we were bonded for life over a shared appreciation of Gerard.
With this in mind, I sat down to listen to the deluxe edition of blink-182’s latest album, California. Before I’d even pressed play, I realised this was the kind of album which served well for the revision period. Tunes, such as ‘Misery’ and ‘Bored to Death’, are great for setting the mood when you sit down in the library at 8am, for your fifteenth past paper. ‘Hey I’m Sorry’ works well as a secondary attachment to any email which you send your tutor, while ‘Don’t Mean Anything’ is a tune which I’ve really been enjoying in the run up to my grammar coursework paper.
But despite the fact that the titles make fitting accompaniments to any revision montage, the songs themselves aren’t dire, painful or emotionally trying, as revision is. Instead, they’re incredibly successful: because they are unapologetically blink-182. In particular, ‘Parking Lot’, which has already been released as a single, and ‘Good Old Days’ are brilliant, and fit comfortably with the band’s previous albums.
Yet, this isn’t an album which is afraid to try something new and exploratory. It’s worth mentioning the striking acoustic cover of ‘Bored to Death’, a punk rock anthem which has been transformed into something pretty emotional, even cracking out the crowd chant, reminiscent of Panic! At The Disco’s ‘Pretty Odd’ or anything by Dog is Dead. Meanwhile, ‘Don’t Mean Anything’ is the stand out track on the album and its bridge is something I enjoyed far more than any night out in Oxford’s own club.
For those with an exercise playlist, I would also highlight ‘Bottom of the Ocean’. The powerful, high paced rhythm is something that makes me want to work out, or, failing that, walk really fast to lectures. So what’s the overall review? I’d have to give it five stars. blink-182’s deluxe edition of California is a great album, full of catchy, brilliant tunes that have brightened up the revision period and reacquainted me with my MCR days.