Broccoli_Apocalypse wrote: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.
Serious question: how old are you? Not to hate but out of serious interest. I’m turning 28 in 2.5 weeks and I consider myself to be a pretty old school blink fan. I became a fan of blink in early ’02, somewhere between TOYPAJ’s release and BCR (bought enema in 1999 when I was 10 but only for WMAA). I’m guessing you became a fan even earlier. TOYPAJ and Enema where my first blink records. Those albums where my point of reference; the albums that defined blinks sounds. I guess that’s why I always, until this day, preferred blinks poppier sound (SOOHM, BTD, Cynical and Bro rhap are the only songs I can stomach on this album). I remember buying Cheshire cat and Buddha from some obscure record shop on the other side of the country and being pretty disappointed with the lack of production quality. Dude Ranch I liked better, but still not as much as TOYPAJ or Enema. Untitled was the first blink release I witnessed as a fan. If you really became a fan during the Buddha/Cheshire Cat days, I can understand why Untitled was too much change. For me, Untitled was the first blink release I experienced as a true fan (barring BCR which I loved); not as much change I guess. I remember feeling a little weird about it. Since I only became a fan about 1.5/2 years earlier, I still craved the poppy blink sound which it pretty much lacked (loved here’s your letter), so I still listened to Enema and TOYPAJ a lot more. The thing about me is that I can recognize something for being good, even though I may not like it as much as something else. Untitled was, and still is, much better than anything blink did before because they dared to change and experiment with the utmost confidence (I know you still think it was all just Tom forcing it). The result was something magical. Funny thing is now that I’m about the age the blink guys where when they released Untitled, I’m starting to appreciate it even more. If you really became a fan much earlier on, I may not agree with you but I think I get where you’re coming from.
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.
No it wasn’t. There IS no core to blink. There are some fluid yet defining elements to blink but that’s it and they have little to do with their sound. If you listen to all blink albums chronologically, you start to detect change as early as Dude Ranch where their sound and lyrics already started to sound more ‘adult.’ All their albums have been absolutely 100% natural evolutions. Untitled was a big leap but it wasn’t unique. It was the first album they released as adults. The first album they released since they all got married and had kids. That is a HUGE thing. Tom said it many times: you do a lot more changing between 25-35 than you do between 15-25 (or something like that). I remember understanding him when I was 18 and I do so even better now I’m almost 28. That transition is perfectly embodied by untitled. Its rife with angst and the insecurities of ‘truly’ growing up. All pop punk bands had such albums: NFG, Sum 41, Simple Plan, Good Charlotte, you name ‘em. If blink would have released another album singing about being Kings of the Weekend back then it would not have been credible. That’s why it’s so much worse now.
And that’s the point: California indeed represents a drastic change but people feel it’s not genuine. The entire album just feels forced, fake and disingenuous. It’s not a return to some supposed core; there never was one. It’s a return to a sound some people feel
represents blink. Many bands have tried to ‘return to their core’ and literally all of them have failed. It necessarily entails imitating something (even though its yourself) instead of being genuinely creative. What makes this case even worse it that they didn’t just force themselves, they got someone in from outside to help force them even more. THIS album is blink truly selling out.
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.
Like I said: no it wasn’t. Blink’s shared vocals was very important to their success (mostly the difference in vocals) but it was never the essence of what made them great. In fact, most, if not all of my favorite blink songs are non-split songs. Every song being a split is yet another example of how fake and forced this album is and it needs little explaining. Some people think
that was what blink was about so why not split all of the damn songs?
Blinks magic cannot be reduced to simply their vocals being shared or only their guitar work. It was a combination of things; something intangible. That’s why so many school blink fans are so disappointed by this album. We miss something about that Mark/Tom combo but we don’t know exactly what. The irony is that in thinking
it knows, this album doesn’t recover to anything, but instead becomes a fucking caricature. It has ‘we know what blink was and want to return to that’ all over it. Songs should be split because they sound better when they are, something blink used to understand perfectly, not because its more marketable.
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.
I’m not even going to discuss this (in fact there’s little to discuss). If you want to call the drivel on this album irony and sarcasm that’s cool but I refuse to lie to myself like that to try and defend something. Disingenuous and a lack of creativity once again sums it all up. Nananana, whohoho!
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.
Right, balance, and there is none! This album is all about the shared vocals and trying to sound as generically pop punk as possible. There is literally not a single interesting or creative guitar riff on this album. Remember how we talked about what made blink blink? This is one of those elements for me. You genuinely cannot be an old school blink fan and sit here telling me you like the guitar work on this album. Nothing guitar wise on this album sounds anything like blink. Disingenuous and a lack of creativity.
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.
I basically discussed this above. I don’t care about punk, I don’t care about NOFX, I care about blink. Filling this album with power chords because, supposedly, that’s what punk music sounds like is fucking wrong. If you want to talk about those supposed non-existent roots again, old school blink was ALL about fast and creative riffs, and hardly about power chords, they were only supporting the riff making the song sounds more ‘full’. So that argument doesn’t hold at all. Those ‘intricate’ vocal splits being an excuse for the horrible guitar work is rubbish.
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.
Only quoting this first part because I pretty much agree with you. There is some pretty cool bass work on this album at least for blink standards. Too bad it’s probably the only thing positive about this album.
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.
Don’t get me wrong, I despise this album, but if you genuinely haven’t enjoyed most of what blink has done over the past 13 years you deserve finally liking something they do. I guess now it’s our time to sit back and wallow. It sucks but its not that bad honestly. I pretty much accepted blinks death after the silence following neighborhoods and they released enough good music to keep me going before California and we still have Tom releasing something better evey now and then.
Oh and did I mention? No Tom no blink!