PantaRhei wrote:The problem with arguing with you is that your whole blink expercience is extremely different than anyone on this board (we know your story). After 13 years, you still haven't accepted Untitled for the masterpiece that 99% of blink fans agree that it is, including myself; the biggest leap forward possible (even though its not my favorite). Not that this means we're right, but it leaves very little common ground to refer to. Still, I don't see how Untitled has anything to do with this album. If this album good only because the vocals are split more evenly (which is horrible, a split on every song? ... Really?) than untitled and the idea that every song 'fits', than that basically says enough.
This album should be good because its good, and its not. Its not even a top 5 blink album. Blink's lyrics have never really been brilliant, but on this album they're straight up embarrasing from time to time (i'm not even going into the whoho's and nana's). The vocal harmonies being the reason why the guitar is being pushed backwards is the biggest load of BS i heard in a long time. The vocals never made blink. Blinks dual lead was extremely important but blinks catchy and iconic guitar riffs where equally important. The guitars on this album just plain suck. Not a single song on this album sounds blinklike guitarwise.
Lastly, about the 'blinkiness' of this album, that's probably where it fails most. Kay was right, this album is nothing but a careful attempt to put blink back in the spotlight by forcefully trying to return to a sound that used to make blink big 15 years ago, using help from other people. The result is an album that doesn't sound like old blink at all. At best, it sounds like a sad imitation of sad bands imitating old blink. This album isn't just a step backwards in time, its a leap backwards in quality. All the genuine creativity blink used to have is gone.
I can agree with the fact that my experience with blink may be extremely different, but, when you look at it from a broader perspective, it's not that different. All you need to do is look at it from the POV of someone who has been a fan of blink since the Cheshire Cat days and was with the band throughout their career as they evolved multiple times. It should be noted that, many of the kids I was friends with at the time (who may have liked blink), all jumped ship at various times. Every single one of them all hated blink by the time untitled came out. Now, while their reasoning was probably that they sold out, which is completely understandable especially from Dude Ranch to Enema, you don't have to view my reasoning for disliking untitled as well as theirs through a different lens. Basically put, the more change you experience of something you enjoy, the less likely you'll end up liking it with each consecutive change. It's very much like a relationship. It's very rare for high school sweethearts to stay together throughout the years because there is so much change that both persons will be experiencing. But if you meet someone during or after college, it's much more likely you'll stay together because most of the changing has already been done. There's a reason why many current blink fans are those who came onto the blink ship much later in the band's career.
With that said, Untitled has EVERYTHING to do with this album. When you put everyone of blink's many changes into consideration, untitled was the greatest leap away from their core. Meanwhile, California is their first release since untitled to really reach back towards their roots and (from my perspective) a full recovery from said transition. And when you compare California to all of their releases since untitled, it is the most drastic change in sound. In other words, both untitled and California represent a drastic change in sound and should be compared as such.
And, no, this album isn't only good because every song is split, BUT it is a huge plus BECAUSE we're talking about blink. The very essence of what made blink great was the shared vocals. There's a reason why many fan favorites are Man Overboard, Pathetic, Stay Together, etc. etc. Blink was a band that featured two drastically different sounding singers who, when both sang together, created something truly special and unique. Blink began losing that in untitled. And continued to lose it in Neighborhoods. And that loss almost became wholly complete with the EP.
California is, as I have articulated many times, a recovery album. It is a band trying to find their way back to what made them magical in the first place. Yes, the guitars were always unique, but if you were going to pinpoint one thing that truly made blink magical, it would be the vocals. (Mind you, you can't change EVERYTHING with just ONE album. You have to take it in steps, which this album did beautifully.) The fact that they split every song was drastically needed. They needed to show that, yes, we understand what blink was and what blink should be. Let's take that and take it to town. They needed to do that. They don't have to do it again on future releases. But if they do, it will definitely be welcome.
You say that on this album, the lyrics are straight-up embarrassing. I would disagree, but that is more subjective than anything else (even though most of my response is). The lyrics are INTENSELY sarcastic and ironic, giving them a layer that most, if not every blink song previous to this, lacked. You can have imagery in a song. You can have metaphors. But when you bring literary techniques into songwriter, it ups the ante, and this is the first time that blink has, to my knowledge, done this so well. That said, I do agree with the Na Na's, but only on No Future. The rest just blend in with their respective songs.
And I don't understand why the vocal harmonies being the reason why the guitar is being pushed backwards is the biggest load of BS you've heard in a long time. Creating a well-produced album involves a balance. While you can push the vocals and the guitar-work into the limelight, it becomes too dissonant, with each layer from each guitar and every vocal part becomes a competition. As a metal fan, whose music is generally more complex guitar-wise and which also has more diverse vocals when done correctly, I see this as an area where many bands fail. I feel that subtly is what truly makes a great album and embellishing only at key points in an album.
That being said, if you listened to what Matt said about his contributions, he didn't want to be a carbon copy of Tom. He didn't want to disrespect Tom when making the album, but he wanted to give blink his own take on the band. Blink is an offshoot of punk. Even though blink always dabbled on the unique side of riffs, they come from punk. And the fact that this album is filled with power chords was definitely a great idea. Again, this an album about finding their roots. And part of that was playing fucking punk rock songs. Now, again, just playing power chords could get boring if there is nothing else. But that's where, once again, the vocals come in, with the intricate harmonies and the intense split between both singers. It definitely compensated. That's why Nofx has been such a successful punk band .... because they do the same thing. They play straight-up punk rock but jazz it up with Fat Mike basically singing harmony to every point in a song, and it compensates for the monotony that a punk song can suffer from.
NOW! Everything isn't about the guitar. Or it shouldn't. This is the first album where Mark's bass has gotten to shine. There have been few songs where Mark really stood out on bass. Carousel, the intro to Man Overboard, Fentoozler .... and a handful of others. If you want to talk about riffing, the bass on this album blows everything else that Mark has ever done on the four-string guitar out of the water. The opening track, the opening moments on the opening track prove this. But that's not the only song where his bass has come alive. Just listen closely to every track. Sometimes you don't even have to listen closely because it's so apparent, because the bass is what drives the song. Hell, just the beginning of Rabbit Hole should give you a clue. With Mark taking the backstage on so many albums, I welcome this just because it's so unexpected and because he deserves it. I feel that many bands suffer because the songs are mostly driven by the guitar while the bass just acts as the fill-in or the harmonization with the guitar work. No. A great song is when the bass acts on its own. And this is the first time in blink's history when the bass does that throughout the entirety of the album, rather than just it being constant strumming on one or two notes.
I'm sorry that many of you (or at least some of you) feel as though this album is just an imitation of an imitation of blink. I'm sorry you feel the creativity is gone, I'm especially sorry of this, seeing as most of this reasoning stems from the guitar work. I guess you'll just have to sit and pout just as I have been doing for years. This album, as I said was a recovery album. They recovered. They fucking recovered hard. And now they're going to rip everyone a new asshole.
Now, in regards to Kay's comment about the first few tracks on untitled, you can say THE EXACT SAME THING about this album.
Those first five tracks are COMPLETELY different from each other. In fact, they are separated from the rest of the album, through the incorporation of Built This Pool, which acts, essentially like an interlude.
You have Cynical, which is only THE SECOND blink track that has not included a chorus (which is why it baffles me that people say every song on this album follows a formula when untitled does this more than California on so many levels) and not only follows the very rare A-B format, but follows an ABC-C format. Then you have the single which is, besides Los Angeles (which is - gasp - in the first five songs), the greatest divergence on the album. Then you have the poppiest song on the album, which sounds JUST like TOYPAJ-era blink (which even Travis claimed and is the reason why he fought for this song to appear on the album because it felt like that). If anyone has a say on what blink songs sound like, I think Travis can trump those who feel like blink is now just pandering to the bands that pander to blink. And then, right after blink brings in that throwback track, you have the experimental side of blink, which is almost more experimental than most of the songs on untitled (of which I can go through in detail later if you want). Then, if that jump from the TOYPAJ song to the experimental untitled-style song isn't enough, blink then throws us a modern-day rock song that you would hear on the radio today, a song that follows a similar formula to Irish punk and, dare I say, Irish folk. The fact that the album starts out this way creates a tone for the album, of that dichotomy between past, present and future with an underlining pull towards the past. And THAT'S what this album is all about.
As Mark sings on the album, "Thank God for punk rock bands ....."
I was hanging on by a little thread.
Just minutes before I was on a mountain.
I screamed "I can see all."
The ground broke from the sound.
It was all built on nothing.
Caution: the solid ground that you are on will slide from under you.
-Hot Water Music