Blink-182, the soundtrack to my life.
From my early years, rocking out in the car with my father to the likes of Dire Straits and Eric Clapton to the present day where Bastille forms the musical accompaniment to this post, I have always been a lover of music. There have been short term musical infatuations with bands like The Used, Taking Back Sunday and Funeral for a Friend. There have been individual tracks that will forever hold significance being inextricably linked to events in my life such as Fader by The Temper Trap, a track that blazed from the stereo of Wendy as Team Awesome blazed a dust trail through Utah (See, ‘Why you need to travel‘ for context on Team Awesome).
But there has been one band that have been with me throughout it all, a band whose music has formed the musical back drop to my formative teenage years and young adult life (27 is still you right?), that band as given away by the title is Blink-182.
Where it all began
It’s time to go back, back where…..back to the future (or past), a time where singles and albums were first being made available as CD’s, a time where Our Price still existed and a time where I most definitely could not be considered cool.
It was summer 1999, and I was at the tender age of 14; scouring the charts section of then highly successful retail store Our Price, looking for a sound investment for the purchase of my first album on CD. Had I known then that this album would set the tone for my musical persuasions, influence the way I dressed and forever be intertwined with events in my life, I may have taken more time to decide. I may even have made a choice based on something other than the Album cover, a sexy nurse preparing for what can only be assumed as administering a rectal examination (I was easily influenced by attractive women back then, I say then as if this pretence has intact changed). The very fact that 13 years on I remember the purchase gives grounding to the significance of this moment, or perhaps that my life is drab and dull, I’ll let those that know me decide.
For those that are not familiar with the cover, here’s the original:
Enema of the State, an Overview
It’s a little battered and bruised after almost 14 years of usage, Enema of the State has given me whole lot of love. The album is packed with hits including ‘mutt’, made famous by Jim (Jason Biggs) in American Pie as he sprints to his friends house to catch the hottie exchange student Nadia changing in his room via webcam, and ‘What’s my age again?’ which was the renowned debut single released alongside the album. If you’ve never had the pleasure of Blink-182, this album is a great place to start, its predecessor’s ‘Dude Ranch’ and ‘Buddha’ are the roots of the band, but it wasn’t until ‘Enema of the State that they made their name.
This album took me from 14 through to 16, my first relationship and the foundation of my friendship with one Adam Buckingham and one James Beeney were forged to the back drop of Tom, Mark and Travis’ lyrical genius.
Next up, the Mark, Tom and Travis Show
Launched 06 November 2000 a lot changed from where I left you, the Mark, Tom and Travis Show was the live album featuring all the hits from the aforementioned albums packed full of hilarious interludes and jam packed with sex, swearing and general awesomness.
Blink-182 - Take of your pants and jacket
The highlight of the album for me came whilst staying up late hanging out with Mr Beeney who was at my house for a sleepover. We were listening to the album talking loudly at 2am when my mother burst through the door in a fit of rage (we were perhaps a little loud), “Jesus Christ” I exclaimed, to which I received the response “yes Jesus Christ, its two o’clock in the morning, SHUT THE FUCK UP”. Thus ensued thirty minutes of hysterical laughter as my mother uttered the phrase “Shut the fuck up” in the same pitch, pace and tone as one Tom DeLonge in an interlude during the album. Coincidental magnificence.
Despite being only live versions of ‘Enema of the state’ with added hits from ‘Dude Ranch’ an ‘Bhudda’, ‘the Mark, Tom and Travis show’ was my favourite album.
Time to Take of your Pants and Jacket
Soon after came Take Off Your Pants and Jacket with more of the same great music. My third installment didn’t hold the same sway as the previous two albums, despite great tracks including ‘Rock Show’ an ‘First Date’ I was in my new metal phase. Taking Back Sunday and The Used were my new love, with Blink-182 taking a back seat in my affections. Bernies Jeans, shag bands and chains were my new found fashion accessories to accompany my maturing taste in music.
Blink-182 - Take of your pants and jacket
Soon after the release of ‘Take off your pants and jacket’ I got to see my idols live in concert at the now O2 Brixton Academy. It was everything I hoped for. All the classics, Mark and Tom were hilarious and still being aimed at the youth of new punk fanatics I had a clear view from only 4 rows back, a rare treat at 5 ft 3.
Tragedy strikes….new projects
Dreams can’t last forever, a few months after watching them live Blink-182 split, I was inconsolable…it was worse than when the Spice Girls split. I used to listen to their albums on repeat and dream of a revival, but hope was scarce, Travis Barker had branched out and formed a new project called the Transplants and Tom DeLonge was off creating Box Car Racer and then later Angels and Airwaves ( I-empire and Love are definitely worth pursuing).
The dream was over, Blink were lost, and some things that should not have been forgotten were lost. History became legend. Legend became myth. And for two and a half (thousand) years, the Ring (Blink) passed out of all knowledge.
A new hope
But all was not lost, whispers of a new hope were rising in the east, a rebirth. The band made an official announcement and soon after the Self Titled Blink-182 hit the shelves, with it came a new sound, their past projects changed the band and their new talent coalesced into a new breed of Blink.
‘Feeling this’ was the ultimate expression of a new Blink, an advancement in new punk to accompany my refined taste in music. Its an entirely different feel in the self titled album but retains the remnants that made old Blink awesome.
Everybody needs good Neighbours…
Just when I thought Blink had given all they could, they gifted us with Neighbourhood’s, the first of their albums I’ve not owned in physical form. Yet again a sign that ‘the times they are a changing’, thanks to MP3’s music is now insubstantial, we purchase digital files rather than physical discs.
I’m yet to make my decision on Neighbourhood’s. In the same vane as the progression between ‘Take off your pants and jacket’ to ‘Blink-182’, their is a new and unique sound with ‘Neighbourhood’ I’m just not sure how much I like it…..