Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down. Reviews made simple.
California is Blink 182’s 7th studio album and first album since Neighbourhoods, which was released back in 2011. How time flies! It’s also the first album to feature vocalist and guitarist Matt Skiba, of Alkaline Trio fame, who replaced original member Tom DeLonge.
The album debuted at number one both in the USA and UK. In addition the lead single ‘Bored To Death’ became the bands first number one single in a decade. An impressive comeback from a band who have almost bitten the dust twice.
The problem with changing vocalists, or any band member for that mater, is that people are either going to love it or hate it. People get very attached to things and don’t like change. Personally I haven’t been a fan of Tom DeLonge’s vocals since their reunion. That coupled with the fact that he always looked so bored when he was on stage meant seeing him leave wasn’t heart breaking for me. Plus, I love Matt Skiba. Alkaline Trio are one of my favourite bands ever and his solo work under with The Sekrets is also great.
In it’s simplest terms this is very much Blink 182 meets Alkaline trio, as you’d expect. For me, that works. However if you don’t like Skiba or his resume then this might not be your cup of tea.
California comes with all the classic Blink 182 tropes. The album sounds fantastic and is mixed brilliantly. The songs are often silly or lighthearted. Travis Barker goes crazy on his kit, sometimes to the benefit of the songs sometimes to the detriment. Yes, this is an attempt to recapture the times of old, but it also doesn’t feel cheap and awkward. It feels like a band who’ve just changed a band member and are trying to figure out exactly what they want to do.
I will say that lyrically some of the songs are a little poor. Which is disappointing considering how much I enjoy Matt Skiba’s work usually. That said they do tend to stray closer to ‘old Blink’ so it really depends on your perspective on whether you have a problem or not. For me, they were a little weak though.
I do really like this album and proof of that is the fact that I had it in my car for two weeks and listened to it everyday. When I took it out I only lasted a day before I put it back in because I wanted to listen to it some more. That’s the mark of a good album. It’s a great listen and it’s as simple as that.
What I’m really looking forward to is Blinks 8th album and second with Skiba. Once everything has settled down and the pressure isn’t on so much the band can relax and really do what they want again. I would highly expect the next record to blow this one out of the water.