Neighborhoods, Blink 182’s first album of new material in eight years, has been one of the most highly anticipated albums of 2011, especially because the band produced it themselves. The first single ‘Up All Night’ was released on 15 July, possibly the best track on the album.
The album reflects a maturity within the band, the topics having changed from first dates and aliens to darker and more serious realities. The first track, ‘Ghost on the Dance Floor’, is about hearing a song shared with someone no longer here. With ‘Snakecharmer’, Blink tackles the Book of Genesis!
Blink have also changed musical direction. Some of the tracks wouldn’t sound like Blink at all without Tom’s timeless voice, particularly illustrated with ‘Fighting The Gravity’, an instrumental interlude, and an extended instrumental bridge in ‘Snakecharmer’.
The album appears to take aspects of side projects pursued by individual band members. There are the softer aspects of Angels & Airwaves (‘Ghost on the Dance Floor’ and ‘Wishing Well’); the track ‘Natives’ reminded me of +44; and ‘Up All Night’ possesses a heavier riff, similar to Boxcar Racer.
Riddled throughout the album there are classic major-scale, pop-punk chord progressions we all love from Blink backed by Travis Barker’s incredible drumming. The tracks that stood out in particular were ‘Kaleidoscope’, ‘Up All night’ and ‘Snakecharmer’.
The problem with Blink has always been that they can’t fill an album full of good songs. There are a few tracks that are unnecessary; in particular ‘Love is Dangerous’. But one has to say, it must be difficult trying to recreate the hits that were shouted out all night by myself and many others at Reading Festival 2010. Blink will remain a band on nearly everyone’s iPod, but this an album primarily for existing fans.