When Blink-182 released the first single off of their upcoming album, “Blame It on My Youth,” I wasn’t exactly impressed. I deemed it to be “a lackluster song that could’ve come from any pop punk band”. I hold Blink to a much higher standard when compared to their pop-punk cohorts, and as such I went into this with very low expectations. However, Nine as a whole is as good as any other Blink album. Despite skepticism from many, Mark Hoppus, Travis Barker and Matt Skiba created an album worthy to be compared to its pop punk predecessors.
Over the years, Blink-182 has focused on maturing their sound with time and growing as artists. Looking back, we can see that this is a welcome change. After the success of their self-titled album and their initial breakup, it was hard to see where Blink was going to go when they reunited in 2009. Although Neighborhoods did not outdo their self titled, it was still a solid return for the original band members as they evolved their sound established with Self-titled. After Tom Delonge’s departure from the band, most fans boycotted the new Blink and did not welcome Skiba with open arms. Regardless of Delonge’s replacement, Blink’s 2016 California was a solid album. It reflected the maturation of the band while bringing the Blink vibe we all know and love. Skiba had solidified his place in the band with California, but fans still question whether bringing Tom back would improve the band.
Overall, Nine is a good pop punk album. Each song works well together as a collective while still managing to stand out from others. “Darkside”, “Pin the Grenade” and “Happy Days” are just a few of the standouts on this album. “Darkside” is a Skiba heavy song, and his delivery is just as strong as any original Blink-182 member. The lyrics are catchy and reflect the typical lovelorn style of Blink-182. Skiba’s scratchier vocals compliment Hoppus’s smooth singing style, and their energy together is what gives each song life. Nine’s nostalgic theme is what differs from California.
California introduced us to Matt Skiba, former Alkaline Trio member, to the chagrin of Blink-182 fans everywhere. Skiba’s talent was overshadowed by the fact that he was replacing an original member, Tom Delonge. Alkaline Trio had a large impact in the early 2000s punk scene, so his inclusion into the band became a perfect fit. While California was an introduction to a new Blink, Nine reflects on the past and the emotions from a youthful Blink-182, at least for Hoppus and Barker. Although Matt Skiba is not an original member, he still fits into the sentimentality of this album. California was a bit more punk, but that does not detract from what makes Nine good. Nine could be best equated to a 2000s emo pop album, similar to that of early Panic! At the Disco or Taking Back Sunday, which are the vibes that Hoppus claimed the album would be. This inspiration could be derived from Skiba’s Alkaline Trio years and the resurgence of emo culture.
Nine is a good fit in Blink-182’s discography. It is not the generic pop or hip hop album like we all feared it would be, and will satisfy pop punk fans everywhere. It is never easy for a band to evolve their sound without losing their identity early fans resonated with, but with Nine, Blink has defied those odds and fans need to start trusting in their ability to create exceptional albums after all these years.They’re still the Blink-182 of old, which is something fans can look forward to on Nine. In spite of what critics say, Hoppus, Barker and Skiba are pushing the envelope in the pop punk scene. Their tenacity and out of the box thinking is what continues to keep Blink-182 on top.
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