- The Washington Times - Monday, November 24, 2003



Geffen Records

A superficial sign of Blink-182’s growth spurt is dropping the double entendre name game with the title for its latest album. It’s not “Enema of the State” or “Take Off Your Pants and Jacket” — it’s merely “Blink 182.”

For a band that gleefully runs naked through its videos and appears onehaircut away from being a hard-core punk band, baby steps are all we should expect.

Musically, the band’s sound appears mostly unchanged. Their trademark power punk grit sounds as vital as before, and in between the demographically targeted appeals to youthful pain the band explores a healthy amount of more grown-up subject matter.

The self-titled album glories in the band’s muscular melodies, which rarely sidetrack its bruised tales of love gone awry.

“Feeling This” is textbook Blink: snotty vocals, rampaging guitars and a direct line into youthful angst. Few bands manage to pull off all three with such consistency.

“I Miss You,” a haunting, mechanized chorus is more than enough to sell the album’s best track.

“Don’t waste your time on me, you’re already a voice inside my head,” the song pleads, with delicate piano arrangements and strings complementing its case for the lovelorn.

“Violence” blends beat-style interludes with a hormonal rage against a love that won’t settle down. After the album’s energy level dips with the lackluster “Always,” things pick up again with “Easy Target.”

As ever, bassist Mark Hoppus and guitarist Tom DeLonge swap vocal chores, alleviating the monotony of the band’s musical blitzkriegs.

A drive-by from The Cure’s Robert Smith affords an additional respite, even though the shaggy haired Mr. Smith’s voice proves a jarring counterpoint to the Blink boilerplate.

Any number of tracks could storm modern radio playlists, from “Down” with its infectious grooves to “Go” and its full-throttled rant. Even when the band appears headed down obvious paths, it’s sharp enough to slip a sneaky bass line or dirty hook in to muck up the sound.

Blink-182 gives shout outs to its family members — wives and youngsters included — in the liner notes. Growing up, it seems, might be easier than other user-friendly punk bands have led us to believe.

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