February 26, 2009 Volume CXXV Issue 5

No “Growing Up” for this band

Blink 182’s reunion could reveal an ill-informed inability to move on

By JACKSON SILVANIK, A&E Editor
Delonge used Angels and Airwaves to pursue a new musical direction.

Delonge used Angels and Airwaves to pursue a new musical direction.

As one of the most widely-popular bands of the past decade and a half, the announcement that Blink 182 would be reuniting should have caused quite a stir in the pop culture community. Cause a stir is precisely what it did-but only briefly. There seem to be too many things going right for the band to really feel like this reunion wasn’t planned. For starters, there was almost no real explanation given when the band went on the notorious “infinite hiatus” four years ago. Sure, there were the standard issue reasons given. The pressures of the road were getting to them, Delonge was acting like a jerk, their friendships were falling apart. None of these really seem believable when the circumstances are examined. The band had been kicking around for almost a decade when these rumors began to surface. Surely they had been through just about everything a band goes through and learned how to deal with those issues. The demanding life of being in such a successful band was taking too much of a toll? That doesn’t ring true. All of the band members immediately jumped into new projects within a matter of weeks. If anything is to blame, it was likely frontman Tom Delonge’s desire to do something greater.

Honestly, the entire career of Blink 182 can be traced to the wildly immature and juvenile sense of humor that is present on the majority of their poppunk albums. Not only did this sense of humor thrive, it was a recipe for success. Additonally, the band was unbelievably bad outside of a studio setting. Never ones to declare themselves a great live act, most of the band’s concerts seemed as much a standup comedy routine as rock show. The band’s live album reflects this, their live sound being enhanced greatly with studio touch-ups and overdubs. It is likely because of this that Delonge decided that he wanted to do something more meaningful. After all, he was getting older and probably growing a little tired of playing the same three-chord punk anthems night after night. If there was anything respectable about the project he pursued next, it was ruined as soon as he opened his mouth about it.

Blink 182 was enormously popular in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s.

Blink 182 was enormously popular in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s.

Indeed, Angels and Airwaves made a splash when it burst onto the scene a few years ago. A mysterious website, a movie trailer, and stunningly well-produced clips of anthemic arena rock were made available to the public without much explanation. In a way, the project was an extension of the last Blink 182 album, a self-titled effort that had grand intentions but fell a bit short of its lofty aspirations. Delonge soon showed that he had hardly matured, though, when he declared that his new project would change the face of music, announcing that it would be a timeless masterpiece. In doing so, he set the bar much too high and ruined any credibility he might have had with the listening critics.

Additionally, the other two band members, Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker, took part in ther own projects. Hoppus became a prominent figure in the pop recording scene, producing a number of smaller albums and asking Barker to drum for his band Plus 44. Unlike Delonge, his new music didn’t stray too far from its pop-punk roots, sticking to a simple and upbeat formula. If anything, this pursuit of a project so derivative of Blink 182’s original sound shows that this reunion simply cannot produce anything fruitful. If the trio decides to record a new album, it will undoubtedly be a collection of songs that resemble a hodgepodge of styles that couldn’t possibly result in a cohesive album. This is the problem that plagues the album produced right before their break-up: a smattering of songs that sounded like the product of three band members heading in completely different musical directions. The band members traded smacktalk through media outlets over thenext couple of years, and denied reunion rumors until a few weeks ago, not long after drummer Barker was involved in a plane crash over North Carolina.

If the band was wondering why their announcement at the Oscar ceremony wasn’t more widely celebrated, it was because there isn’t that much interest. Blink 182 had hit a creative wall. Their best work was behind them, their live shows are not impressive enough to justify a trip for nostalgia, and the public had grown tired of their mudslinging banter. Sure, there are some kids that are thrilled that the band is back together. Because of this, they will certainly cash in on merchandise and ticket sales, probably even using the chance to release a new album. Sadly, though, the public that might once have cared will now be stuck watching three men in their thirties spewing middle-school humor for old-time’s sake. The reunion is neither good or bad, just unnecessary.

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