Sunday, December 02, 2007

I Guess This Is Growing Up.

"Dude Ranch" for me is THE Blink-182 album. It was on this album that all the parts I liked from various different songs off their earlier work came together perfectly. It was here too that the 182 moniker was appended to Blink due to a law suit by an Irish band named Blink. I think the name change is fitting because the music on "Dude Ranch" is profoundly superior to the earlier releases. They had some great songs in "Carousel" and "Touchdown Boy" and such, but the production is great and there is a maturity to the juvenile-ness that demands to be taken seriously ... in a fun way.

It's like Blink-182 honed in their sound and said ~This is it, love it or leave it~ and I say I love it. This is the first Blink-182 album I owned and "Dammit" is the first song of theirs I heard, but I was surprised at just how solid this release is. From the blistering opening riffs of "Pathetic", the harmonized dual vocals and uber catchy hooks I knew I was in for a treat.

The humour is not lost with their mature sound. Songs like "Voyeur" and "Degenerate" are silly and fun, but are solid good songs with the latter being slower and groove-oriented. "New Hope" is a boy loves girl tune. The girl just happens to be Princess Leia from Star Wars. It's heartwarming in its sentimentality and more shout out then parody. "Josie" is a boy loves girl song in the traditional sense, but it's real and passionate. It's a love song that's aggressive in a my `girlfriend's better then your girlfriend' way, yet honest and sincere.

"Emo" is super catchy and melodic with building bass riffs and harmonic guitars that crescendo in emotion. "Apple Shampoo" is another song that shows real sincerity with narrative, poetic lyrics and emotive music without losing the hooks and sing a long choruses. "Untitled" is another groove-oriented song with a catchy bass riff and standout drum work before kicking in with a blistering punk riff and vocal harmonics.

My favorite tracks include the first single "Dammit" which has a killer riff and emotionally aggressive vocals. Super catchy too. Not as catchy as "Enthused" though. This song opens with "Touchdown Boy" style riffing and blows me away with it's in your face vocals and aggression without ever sacrificing melody with its speed.

My favourite song, however, is the emotionally charged album closer "I'm Sorry". It opens with a melodically moving guitar riff and bass work, before kicking into a fast punk tune that blends speed, melody and harmony that crescendos in an emotional dual vocal attack of ~I'm Sorry (What's happening to you)~. It demonstrates Blink-182's skill at crafting catchy emotional punk songs with pop sensibilities and loads of conviction.

"Dude Ranch" is the Blink -182 album I'd recommend for anyone whose curious about the band and is my favourite of their catalogue. The growth as songwriters in the 3 years between this one and "Cheshire Cat" is incredible and the band carved out their own niche in the modern punk arena. The songs are catchy and memorable, the lyrics are fun, sincere and poetic in their youthful relevance. This is a pop infused punk album for those who don't like pop infused punk albums.

Up next is Blink-182's "Enema Of The State"


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