To The Stars Through Difficulties
Blink-182: “Neighborhoods” Review

                           

Review by: Richard Wiley Vega
twitter: @richivega 

After 8 years of Blink-182 not having released an album the wait has finally ended. The new album titled “Neighborhoods” is set to hit stores September 27th but like most albums, they are never kept under wraps and somehow it was leaked. This 14-track album is probably one of the most awaited for rock albums of this year especially since the industry has shifted all of its powers on to mainstream electro-pop.  It’s a breath of fresh air to be able to hear something different.


Let’s start with this. Mark Hoppus described the album (Neighborhoods) as a combination of all of their records in one.

To me it sounds like a combination of all our records, there are songs that could have been on Dude Ranch, there are songs that could have been on our last record [2003’s self titled]. Overall, it combines everything we’ve done before and takes a step forward after that.” – Mark Hoppus

He summed up the album with those words. It is very clear that all three musicians from Blink had their songs and they were not to be messed with. Some of the songs that ended up on the album were written before Blink-182 took a break, for example, “Up All Night.” If you pay close attention to the bands video blog back in ’03, Delonge had already been writing this song.

One of the major steps forward on this album is the lyrical writing. The blink we all know talks about “s***, p***, f***, c***, c***sucker, motherf***er, tits, fart, turd and t***.” It is obvious that these songs have grown up just like the band. The different lyrical styles in this album create a diverse catalogue and play list to choose from. The range and variety of songs is immense and the listener will be able to at least find one song that they can relate to.

Blink -182 is a band that always writes songs that fans can identify with. I think that any of us can relate to songs such as “Stay Together For The Kids, I Miss You, Rock Show, First Date” and so forth. Songs that become anthems are the ones that touch the heart or a memorable moment. This new album does not contain the basic anthem but it possesses a more genuine emotion. The songs are larger, gloomier and darker.

The great thing about the album is that Tom Delonge was able to bring in his experiences from AVA and successfully mix them into the trio’s classic sound.  Travis was able to maintain his rock/hip-hop driven beats with the low 808 feel and Hoppus kept his dark ominous sound that he has been creating throughout the past years. His bass lines are more mature than in the previous records, finally stepping out of the typical power chords, but still keeping the sound that has influenced thousands to pick up a bass.

It is evident that the new Blink-182 direction has shifted but they never lose their classic essence. I have a feeling that many fans will be saying that this is a “Tom Delonge Album.” I would differ with that comment. I think that Mark Hoppus described it perfectly by saying that it was a combination of all of their styles. “Neighborhoods”, will definitely be an album that will not change or turn off Blink -182 fans. It will most likely turn them on to new sounds, new experiments and even new genres. The album is a clear evolution of their genre. To conclude, Blink -182 has had amazing fans throughout the past 2 decades, I am sure that they will accept the changes on this new record.


Just so you know, I did pre-order this  album and you should also buy it when it comes out. 

Song by song analysis.

1. Ghost On The Dance Floor


First of all, I must say that this is my favorite song on the album. This song begins with a massive drumbeat being accented by the ride bell and splash that Barker beats to death in the first 30 seconds of the song. Ambient synths begin which immediately make you think, “I hope I don’t have to listen to AVA all over again.” Don’t get me wrong, I like AVA but I was hoping for the same old school straightforward blink songs. Delonges guitar slowly starts fading in with a slightly distorted sound, the sound that has become his trademark ever since the 2003’s self-titled album. Hoppus finally comes in and you feel relieved, Blink is back. They could not have chosen a better song to open up the album with. The song is structured just like any other blink song until it gets to the break. Barker releases his fury as he is backed by tom’s UFO sounding guitar.

 “Yet I, I saw your ghost tonight, the moment felt so real,

 If your eyes stay right on mind, my wounds would start to heal”


2. Natives

This track is all right, semi-dark with a very nasal Delonge. This song is split between Hoppus and Delonge. Hoppus sings in the chorus a catchy hook:

“Just let me Go and Go, I’m never Coming Home, “

While being backed by tom in the background. I really suggest this song for drummers and intermediate guitarist because Barker has about 15 different drumbeats and Delonge does some nice guitar tapping at the beginning and end of the song.

3. Up All Night

I think you have all heard this and this song speaks for itself.

4.  After Midnight

Loved this song. This song might remind you of ”Always” or even of Boxcar Racer’s “There Is”. Perfect for anyone who is going through a rough time with his or her significant other.

“We’ll stumble home after midnight, sleep arm in arm in the stairwell, we’ll apart on the weekend these nights go and on and on”

I could definitely picture this song in a movie or romantic scene.

5. Snake Charmer

A clear reminder of “I feel so” during the intro but once the verse hits it gets sick with an aquatic type synth harmonic. The chorus and verse make you forget of the boxcar type intro by having a catchy hook. You might not understand part of the chorus until the end when tom says:

Good girls who like to sin”

That phrase sticks out the most during the entire chorus. The ending has some sick beats barker; fancy bass and hi-hat combos emphasizing the one beat with his classic 808 as he fades out.

6. Hearts All Gone Interlude

Back to the dark side.  Take Plus 44’s “Baby Come On” and mix it with “No It Isn’t”, slow them down, take out the vocals, give a little synth and that’s what you’ve got. It’s a subtle track that does exactly what the title says; it prepares you for the following song.

7. Hearts All Gone

If you haven’t heard this song well then I recommend it if you are an old school southern California punk-rock fan. They take it old school. I really liked this song because it reminds you of “Dude Ranch” and “Cheshire Cat.” For drummers, play this to the beat and you’ll improve some.

8. Wishing Well

Poppy punk guitar lick through out the entire song. This is classic blink reminding you of the “Take Off Your Pants And Jacket.” The pre-Chorus repeats;

“DA-DA-DA”

If you know your blink songs you’ll think of “Story of a Lonely Guy.” Really loved the lyrics in this song. It shows how much they have matured lyrically.

9. Kaleidoscope

Dark song split between Hoppus and Delonge. This song isn’t easy on the ears at first but it will slowly grow on you. The song begins with a repetitive guitar riff while Barker does some fancy toms and bell work. You will probably enjoy the instrumental solo because its split between a distorted bass and drums at first, then tom comes in gives it a lot of power and synths fill in the background which give suspenseful feeling.

10. This is Home

This is Kaleidoscopes happy brother, which is probably why it’s placed right after it. Overall this song is great. Delonge leads the chorus but mark backs him up and gives it the color that it needed.  This is a clear example of how back up vocals should be done.

11. MH 4.18.2011

As I said earlier, many lyrics off this album will appear on social networks statuses all over. This song has the best quotes for your status.

“Hold on, the worst is yet to come,

Save your money for higher guns,
Hold strong, everything you love is gone
Slow down, stop living in the shadow of a helicopter.”

Excellent lyrics and one of my favorites off the album.

12. Love Is Dangerous

This is the final song on the standard album and it’s a nice finish or good-bye. It maintains with the dark feeling that has been recurrent throughout the album. Interesting thing about this song is that Hoppus and Delonge sing the verses together, basically layering and filling each other in. The song concludes the same way that their previous album ended, Travis fading away while he does a cadence on his marching snare.

13. Fighting The Gravity

In your face intro, sad lyrics and a trippy haunting vibe best describe this song.  One can’t help but think that they are in someone’s head. The beginning of the song breaks out with Mark repeating:

“This makes no sense, this makes no sense, this makes no sense.”

Personally, this song is awesome. It is a blink that you don’t see at all through out the entire album. The crescendo before entering the first verse is sick, it makes you expect for something to explode. The ending of the song takes you back to the intro, back in the head.

14.  Even If She Falls

This is the final song on the Deluxe version. Unlike the standard, this album ends on a happy note. It’s a 3-minute song but it goes by so quickly. Lyrically, this song is very attractive. The chorus is made up of small phrases that conclude with the songs title.

“ It isn’t so bad, She’s driving you mad, Even if she falls in love”

This is a great example of a love song, it switches from happy to sad and back to happy. Just like any relationship, it has ups and downs.