Sunday, December 16, 2007

Is This The End Of Blink 182 ...?

On Blink 182's fourth major label release "Take Off Your Pants And Jacket" (whose title pun was lost on me for months, embarrassingly enough) we see the bands music almost split with some songs resorting to the pop/punk style of "Enema Of The State" and some songs taking on darker more mature themes and a little more experimental sound.

If you ask me, you can hear the debates and discussions of the bands future musical direction going on and the varying musical styles is a compromise of sorts, which would lead Tom Delonge to form Box Car Racer to let loose on some non-Blink like tunes (that review will come shortly after Christmas).

Again, this album is quite well done continuing to prove that Blink 182 are strong song craftsmen. However, the lyrics get a bit more vulgar leaving one to think they were trying to appeal to a certain audience. Yet some lyrics are surprisingly mature are compassionate. That said, even their stereotypical teen angst lyrics and juvenile songs are far superior to others in the same genre. I've always enjoyed Blink 182's lyrics.

The album starts off with "Anthem Pt.2" which is melodic and bleaker continuation of "Anthem" off "Enema Of The State". Musically this song shows some growth, but keeps the standard kids against the adults lyrics. "On-Line Songs" is fast and punky as is the funny and vulgar tune "Happy Holidays, You Bastard".

For the most part the songs continue in the melodic riffing style of "Enema ..." with dual vocals switching off by Tom and Mark. "The Rock Show", "Roller Coaster" and "Every time I Look For You" are the stand out tracks of this style. They have catchy riffs and moving bridges.

"Reckless Abandon" and "Shut Up" are a couple of the maturer tunes. "Reckless Abandons" carefree style is faster, melodic with slightly darker edges. "Shut Up" is a bit more aggressive, yet moving.

My favourite tracks here are also some of the more maturer songs on this album. "Story Of A Lonely Guy" which has some cool melodic riffwork with a darker tone for their usual boy meets girl themes. One of the more memorable songs here. "Stay Together For The Kids" is also melodic with cool riffs and lyrics that are poignant and heartfelt.

The band released 3 different versions with different bonus tracks. My copy features "Hold On" which is fast and punky and almost a throw back to the "Cheshire Cat" days. The other is "What Went Wrong" a sweet acoustic tune whose simple melody and wretchedly vulgar lyrics (not for the easily offended) make for a contrasting treat.

"Take Off Your Pants And Jacket" marks a distinct change in Blink 182's sound, more so in the clearly different styles in song writing then quality. It's this album that marks Blink's beginning of the end and it would one more album before the band calls it splits.

Up next will be some Christmas album reviews to celebrate the festive season. Look for a few updates starting next weekend. And then after Christmas I'll continue the Blink 182 career with Tom's first side-project Box Car Racer.

Happy Holidays!


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