Blink 182, Neighborhoods Album Review

18th October 2011

There has been a lot of hype, expectation and mixed feelings running up to the long (very long) release of Blink 182’s ‘Neighborhoods’ but has the wait been worth it?

As the first few bars of ‘Ghosts on the Dance Floor’ play out, a slightly worrying thought of a more Angels and Airwaves sounding Blink crosses my mind, however as the song progresses the un-manipulated vocals of Tom Delonge backed by Mark Hoppus and that familiar sounding Blink rift put these thoughts to rest. This is still Blink, just older, more mature and evolved.

A more lively start to ‘Natives’, which definitely has the Blink seal on it, moves us on but as the chorus hits I can’t help but hear a more plus 44 sound with the vocals of Mark Hoppus.

Now it would be unfair to dissect this album into what sounds like Blink and what is Plus 44 and so on as, hey, these are the same people, and comparisons are going to be made to begin with. But that’s ok, as by the time you’ve taken this album in as a whole you begin to realize that by questioning it you’ve appreciated it all the more for it.

The first single from the album ‘Up All Night’ is unsurprisingly the most popular song according to iTunes. A surprising heavy rift for Blink – perhaps comparable to ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ from their last album – takes us into the shared vocals we remember so well from secondary school. However on first listening the sound of Angels and Airwaves in the bridge creeps in as I try to place it out of my mind.

‘After Midnight’ takes us to the old slightly sadder Blink, songs like the first ‘untitled’ from ‘take off your pants and jacket’ come to mind and it’s a bitter sweet feeling. Continuing into ‘Heart’s All Gone’ a rougher perhaps darker side to Blink is conveyed. Once again though as the last chord fades I can’t help but hear for a second a plus 44 sound much like the end of ‘When Your Heart Stops Beating’.

‘Wishing Well’ is a more fun song, Blink back on track (just without the poop jokes or references to ex girlfriends) but is perhaps slightly let down in my opinion by the lack of any back up vocals from Mark. ‘Kaleidoscope’ keeps us going as expected with no real surprises by this point, just the new sounds of a band reunited.

‘This is Home’ has some interesting synth going on and a more familiar old Blink rift in the breakdown but apart from that continues our journey onto ‘MH 4.18.2011’. With a melody that at first hides behind the on going guitars and a chorus that strangely hooks you into singing along the perplexing title suits well.

‘Love is Dangerous’ closes the album with an unexpected synth start which then quickly explodes into a rift that just takes you with it, followed once again by those joint vocals we just can’t get enough of.

Seeing that the completion of this album is the reason Blink postponed this year’s European tour dates as they wanted new material to tour rather then do another greatest hits tour, the wait for June just seems to take longer and longer for those lucky few who did manage to get hold of tickets. To see this album live though will be worth such a long wait; every song has the potential to be an spectacular performance and with fresh material Blink will be eager to show what they can do once again.

In conclusion what Blink has done with this album is to progress on to a new side of them that has had to happen; in order for them to survive they have had to evolve, just like all bands. With ‘Neighborhoods’ they bring the depth and maturity that inevitably was going to happen but they do so on their own terms. Yes in some old school fans eyes the Blink of shenanigans and nakedness is still on hiatus and most likely gone forever but looking through their back catalogue ‘Neighborhoods’ continues Blinks legacy as if there was indeed never a 4 year gap. The best way I can sum it up is…

Blink is Dead, Long live Blink