Life after Tom DeLonge? Blink-182 return for their first album after their divorce from founding member, Tom DeLonge. “California” will be released on July 1st and features new band member, Matt Skiba, from Alkaline Trio. After snagging an early sneak preview copy, how does “California” stack up to Blink-182’s catalog of pop punk classics? Here’s a track-by-track preview:
1. BORED TO DEATH – The lead single is everything we’ve loved from the California rockers in the past. An energetic song very similar to “Adam’s Song”. Best line- “It’s a long way back from 17, the whispers turn to a scream”. 9/10
2. CYNICAL – Clocking in just under two minutes, Matt takes over lead vocals here. Travis dominates the track with a sick drum solo in the intro. Best line – “Lost my voice trying to fight my way out”. 9/10
3. SHE’S OUT OF HER MIND – A radio-friendly smash with a slick chorus “She’s got a black shirt, black skirt, and Bauhaus stuck in her head.” 10/10
4. LOS ANGELES – Definitely a Red Hot Chili Peppers vibe going on here. A slower track that pays tribute to the City of Angels. Fourth straight solid song so far! 8/10
5. SOBER – Too many “na na na’s” drag down “Sober”. A couple tempo changes add a little variety here but it’s the weakest track at this point. BL – “I can do bad and you can do better, spending all night getting lost together.” 6/10
6. BUILT THIS POOL – Seventeen second punk rock break! The Ramones would be proud.
7. NO FUTURE – “It’s a permanent stain from a moment’s mistake, but life’s worth so much more.” Easily the best track on “California”, you’ll be hearing this one all summer long! Ironically the longest song on the album clocking in at 3:46.
8. HOME IS SUCH A LONELY PLACE – The first ballad on “California” takes a little too long to build up steam. It’s a lovely hopeful song but not enough going here to warrant much excitement. 6/10
9. KINGS OF THE WEEKEND – A typical pop punk workout with boring lyrics “until Monday morning strikes, we’re the kings of the weekend”. Generic song that you’d expect on a lesser band’s debut album. 4/10
10. TEENAGE SATELLITES – A good high-energy Skiba song that sounds like a cross between The Offspring and their side project, Angels & Airwaves. 7/10
11. LEFT OVER – Filler….at this point album is hit or miss. 3/10
12. RABBIT HOLE – An explicit Matt Hoppus song with enough attitude to keep you excited. Skiba and Hoppus do their best Lennon/McCartney impression trading vocals back and forth here in the outro. 7/10
13. SAN DIEGO – The second song reminding us what state they’re from. I think the title “California” was a big enough hint. A mid-tempo track that builds energy as the song progresses, one of the best tracks in the back half of the CD. BL: “We bought a one way ticket, So we could go see the Cure and listen to our favorite songs in the parking lot.” 7/10 (-1 for repeating “San Diego” too many times!)
14. THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERS – The hardest rocking song on the album, Travis gets a moment to shine on one of the album’s highlights. The album was produced by John Feldmann of Goldfinger, you can hear his influence all over this one. 9/10
15. CALIFORNIA – What’s going on here? Did they recruit Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys to join them? A chilled out call to the beach and soaking up the sun. A total departure for the band and a great sign for future releases with the new lineup. 10/10
16. BROHEMIAN RHAPSODY – Notice it’s BROhemian Rhapsody, a 30 second punk rock fury to close out the album with some classic Blink -182 attitude. Too short to rate
Overall, it’s an EXCELLENT album. A great start and a finish does gloss over a few weaker tracks midway. Definitely worth checking out and I hope you get a chance to see the band with A Day To A Remember, All-American Rejects, and All Time Low on their massive U.S. summer tour.