In today’s world of music, in regards to its consumption, there’s not much need for purchasing physical copies of albums anymore. Between digital downloads, streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music, and CD players being ripped out of every known device they once inhabited, you’re hard-pressed for a reason to purchase a CD or vinyl record. All that being said, I still pre-ordered Blink 182’s new album off Amazon, despite shelling out $10+ a month for Spotify.
A bit of backstory… Mark Hoppus, Travis Barker, and (once upon a time) Tom DeLonge were a huge deal for me growing up. Blink 182 was the band that got me into alternative rock, and just better music in general. They’re also the band that inspired me to pick up a guitar for the first time. More nights than I can remember back in high school, I spent in my room jamming out to the Take off Your Pants and Jacket album. Ignoring the aching in my hands and blistering fingertips, I would pour hours into learning their songs on guitar from either the Hal Leonard guitar tabs book for TOYPAJ, or some shitty tab site I came across with our dial-up internet (for you young-heads out there, Google “dial-up internet”, and prepare to have your mind blown).
Every single one of Blink 182’s albums meant something magnificent to me. From Dude Ranch all the way to 2016’s California, each record would always bring something new and wonderful to the table. So needless to say, I had relatively high expectations for Nine, the band’s latest release. Since Tom’s departure after Neighborhoods, I was skeptical about the band’s future, and honestly did not have high hopes for the idea of them making music again. This was something I had a hard time coming to terms with, but did accept it. But then the Rock Gods shone their light, like a glowing beacon of mom-joke-making, alt-rock hope, and Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba graced the band with his presence.
I’ll never forget the first conversation my brother Josh and I had about California, the day after it was released. We both talked about crying 30 seconds into track 1, because it brought back so many memories from our childhood. We just could not believe that the band was back to making alt/punk rock music again!
Fast forward to this past July, when the band out of nowhere announces the soon-to-be-released ninth album Nine. I am excited, yet apprehensive about their latest release. I mean, how in the hell could you follow up an album like California? Well, I’m here to tell you that Mark, Travis, and Matt fucking BROUGHT. IT. with Nine. I haven’t yet taken the time to file it in my personal ranking of their entire discography, for several reasons. But most importantly, I’ve been having too much fucking fun listening to it to think about it analytically. Until now, of course.
Most of the time, you are hard-pressed to find a band you listened to when you were a kid, that’s still playing and writing new music now. And if you’re lucky enough to have one or a handful of those, it’s even harder to find one that’s still making decent music (*cough cough* Fall Out Boy *cough*). In my opinion, Blink’s Nine represents everything that was wonderful about each one of their albums. If you listen well enough, you can hear bits and pieces of their entire discography in this record. Hypothetically speaking, if this turned out to be their last album, I would be a relatively sad, albeit happy man. I would almost consider it a “victory lap” of sorts, for the band being able to evolve in terms of sound over the years, but still stay true to what makes them great.
I try to stay current with the newest bands in the alt-rock scene, and most of what I hear out there is really good. But I am afraid that it all dulls in comparison to the trademark sound of Travis Barker’s drum style, or Mark Hoppus’ vocals and “angsty but at the same time mature” lyrics. It’s been a VERY long time since an album recaptured my love for music as a whole, or even motivated me just a little to pick up my guitar again. But ladies and gents, I do believe that Nine has done all of these things (and more), and if you haven’t had the pleasure of listening to this album, I highly encourage you to do so.