Blink-182’s new album is ‘California.’ Long awaited, it’s the first album in five years from the iconic pop-punk band. Find out what the critics have to say about this highly anticipated album; a roundup of reviews is right here.
‘California’ is also the band’s first album with guitarist and vocalist Matt Skiba of Alkaline Trio who replaced founding member Tom DeLonge. Core members drummer Travis Barker and Mark Hoppus remain with the longtime group that got their start in the early 1990s in San Diego.
Blink 182 is one of those veteran bands that has seen and survived tumultuous years, and reformed after a breakup. Their most recent album, 2011’s ‘Neighborhoods’ was a comeback album and released to critical acclaim. This time around, while the gap of time has not been as long, there are still the typical high expectations and curiosity when a band’s lineup reassembles. That’s a steeper challenge, after all, than a mere breakup and reunion.
The probing question is what does Matt Skiba bring to the unique sound and sensibility that we’ve come to know as Blink-182. Now, sans Tom DeLonge, does the band forge ahead into new territory or recapture the glory days, revisited now with more introspection? Those seem to be among the options. The pop music landscape of course has changed so much since the 1990s and early 200s of the band’s heyday.
Now some of those questions are answered, or at least, up now for interpretation as the new album arrives in full. It’s not a surprise then, that critics are divided. Here’s what they’re saying in their reviews.
“….Skiba wisely doesn’t try to fill DeLonge’s shoes, throwing in some earnest vocals and generally riding along as Hoppus’ assist man. But if DeLonge’s pencil-necked pique is missed, this is still the catchiest music they’ve made since 2001’s Take Off Your Pants and Jacket, a feast of “summer, yo!” riffs and petulant “na-na-na” refrains…..” –Rolling Stone
“….On this pleasantly familiar if not especially imaginative new album, the band’s subject matter verges on the bittersweet, or just outright bitter, but still they grin. … The album is overlong, and full of songs that have achieved their purpose by the halfway mark. ….” –The New York Times
“….But the main problem with California isn’t that the songs are bad — it’s just that there are too many (16 for some reason), and not enough ideas to fill them ….” –SPIN
“….[Matt] Skiba joins Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker on an album that is both a return to form and an admirable maturation of the band’s classic pop-punk sound…..” –AllMusic
“….But the main points Blink had to prove with this record were: that they could write without DeLonge, and that his distinctive voice wasn’t the glue holding all the parts together. ‘California’ is too long, but has the humour, pace, emotion and huge choruses of a classic Blink record. Mission accomplished…..” –NME
…. Blink-182 have delivered an album that recalls everything that makes this band great and gives it all a fresh twist, the end result is California being amongst the best albums they’ve ever produced. …..” –Rock Sound
“….California plays out less like an album and more like a collection of songs; uneven and disjointed, it’s hard to take in as one larger whole…..” –Exclaim
The new album is polarizing, yes, but ultimately its fate is with the fans. Will they embrace it or will they turn away? You can see the Blink-182 ‘California’ album cover art and music video below.