California debuts to varied critical response



California has been out formally for less than a week, yet reviews are pouring in from all corners of print and digital media, and most of them are just as divided over the new album as the blink fan community.

Metacritic, a review aggregator, calculates summaries based on user and critic reviews.  Currently the album stands at a 62 “metascore,” giving the album a “generally favorable” consensus based on formal reviews from publications & news outlets.  The album’s score from user rankings, however, has it placed at a higher 8.0/10 grade.


Here are some of those impressions from noteworthy publications, print sources, online magazines, etc:

Pitchfork:  5.5/10

California would seem no less anomalous for what it’s trying to be: the pop-punk eminence album, evidence humbly submitted that an aging pack of skater brats hasn’t jumped off the hedonic treadmill just yet and is still young, selectively dumb, and full of commiserating angst.

Alternative Press:  (no rating)

…in the end, California sounds like what Blink-182 probably should sound like in 2016: upbeat, hooky and, above anything else, a total blast. Some will call the lack of truly progressive moments a regression while others will hail the album for being a breezy throwback. But Hoppus, Skiba and Barker have given Blink-182 momentum for future productivity and success.

Rolling Stone:  3.5/5

…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. “She’s Out of Her Mind” builds a cheery singalong moment out of the term “anti-social,” and on “No Future” and “Kings of the Weekend,” hooks pile up like empty beer cans.

AV Club: C-

California is the sound of Blink-182 desperately trying to remain relevant by outsourcing its creativity. While it’s a gambit that could work—as Feldmann is more than capable of making hit songs happen—Blink-182 never needed much help in that department anyway. The result is another homogenous addition to Feldmann’s growing résumé. But this time he unintentionally removed the soul of pop-punk’s clown princes in the process.

Spin:  6/10

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…Ultimately, fortysomething Blink may be cursed by their early success and their genre of choice: For pop-punk bands, life is just too short to last long.

New York Times:  (no rating)

Middle age hasn’t brought about a reassessment of ambition for Blink-182 — there is no Broadway rock opera, no easing into politically charged waters. And what a relief that is. 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 things that once felt like a release will eventually become cages. And so a little bit of melancholy is inevitable as freedom gives way to responsibility and ambition begets regret — an endless summer leaves a hell of a sunburn.

NME:  (no rating)

…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.

The Guardian:

There are a few spirited attempts to summon the adolescent irreverence of old, but generally this is a tired – and tiring – work. Perhaps the presence of DeLonge and his tales of alien invasion might have livened things up a bit.


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Posted on Posted in blink-182, California, Mark Hoppus, Matt Skiba, New Album, Travis Barker

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