Heralded by many fans and critics alike as their best album to date, Blink-182’s self-titled album marked a change in direction to a darker, more mature and serious sound. Celebrating its 10th anniversary this month, the album is still regarded as the trio’s most impressive and successful record.
Looking back, perhaps it shouldn’t have come as such a surprise that blink-182 would be such a serious album, as the band were starting to show signs of progression on their previous albums, with songs like Story of a Lonely Guy and Stay Together for the Kids from 2001’s Take Off Your Pants And Jacket. Blink-182 hinted at a more serious effort from the get go, with a simple title unlike their novelty album titles of years prior (e.g. Enema of the State, Dude Ranch) and delivered from start to finish. To record the album the three moved into a house together for several months to collaborate, which is evident in the way they work each other’s instruments and vocals into each song so seamlessly.
The album begins with the massive hit Feeling This, an explosive track incorporating the fast and energetic sound of Blink’s past with a slower chorus and the sharing of vocal duties by Tom DeLonge and Mark Hoppus. Towards the end, the pair sing over the top of each other in an a capella version of the chorus, which is one of the most iconic features of the song.
It’s always a high point in Blink’s music when both singers alternate lead vocals, as they do in I Miss You (see also Stockholm Syndrome and Easy Target), which along with its famous bass line make it another stand out track from the album. The song became one of their most successful singles, remaining at #1 on the Billboard charts for two weeks.
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Heavier tracks like Obvious, Violence and Down show off a side of Blink fans had only seen glimpses of in the past and impressed critics who had written them off previously as a novelty or joke band, mainly due to their naked antics and light-hearted lyrics.
Another single from the album was Always, a closer link to the Blink that fans were used to. The song features a killer drum riff from Travis Barker, striking bass line from Mark Hoppus, and smooth vocals from Tom DeLonge who had been criticised for his voice in earlier records. The song also featured one of the band’s most creative video clips which was filmed in Australia.
Blink-182 have noted The Cure as huge influences on their music and careers, particularly on their Self-Titled album. The Cure’s vocalist Robert Smith appears on a track called All Of This, a slow paced and dark sounding song considered by the band as one of the best on the record.
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If any pop-punk band could write a meaningful ballad which is full of emotion without being accusable of being too sappy or cheesy, it’s Blink-182. And do it they did, with the final track on the album – I’m Lost Without You. The track is sung by Tom, and features keyboard backed verses and an instrumentally heavier chorus (“Are you afraid of being alone?/Cause I am/I’m lost without you”). The second verse picks up as Tom’s voice is accompanied with soft drumming as well as the keyboard and keeps lifting as he repeats “I’m lost without you” over the building instruments until Travis closes out the track with a classic drum solo.
After an indefinite hiatus (2005-2009), a reunion, a new album (Neighborhoods, 2011) and a new EP (Dogs Eating Dogs, 2012), Blink-182 still holds up as the band’s most impressive and notable albums of their career, a decade after it was originally released.