Pop-punk is a music genre that seems to be blasted in many teenagers' bedrooms to help them process through their teenage angst. Blink-182 is a band that dominated the pop-punk charts back in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The band had many hits, like “All The Small Things”, which peaked at No. 6 on the Hot 100 charts on Billboard back in 2000, and “What’s My Age Again?” Both of these songs, as well as some other songs that made it to popular radio stations helped pop-punk launch into the mainstream.
Though the band had an impact on the music industry, it hasn’t had a song reach the top 50 on Billboard in over 15 years. This isn’t from a lack of album releases either — they’ve dropped eight albums since forming the band in 1992, but haven’t had as much success in recent years due to one of the lead vocalists, Tom DeLonge, leaving the band in 2015. However, there may be a light at the end of the tunnel with their newest album “NINE,” which was released Sept. 19.
A big factor in the drop of success for the bands recent albums is that their groups lineup has changed since the early 2000s. The band is composed of Mark Hoppus, who has been the lead vocalist since the band was formed, as well as drummer Travis Barker and vocalist Matt Skiba. Skiba replaced DeLonge in 2015, causing the band to have a slightly different sound than when they first started, expected with a new voice thrown into the mix. This album has the potential to put Blink-182 back on the map, showing audiences that different doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
“NINE” is an album that continues similar themes from their previous work, like how to heal from broken relationships. However, the album also tackles depression and anxiety as well as venting frustrations with the political system.
The opening track “The First Time,” sings about how no feeling tops when you do something for the very first time. However, sometimes the first time doing something could be a slippery-slope in terms of alcohol and drug abuse.
One way the album talks about depression and anxiety is through a song called “Happy Days.” According to Hoppus, this song was the easiest to write as he channeled his own struggles with mental health into the lyrics. The track is an introspective dialogue of someone who wants to be happy, but their mind won’t let them, due to self-doubt and overthinking. They don’t know how to change that or if they honestly want to.
“All of this frustration inside of my brain/And I don't know if I'm ready to change,” Hoppus sings. The song seems to resemble a battle in someone’s brain, where it’s the desire to be happy and have good days versus the comfort of being who they are and not changing. This battle is something many people who spend a lot of time in their own heads can relate with.
One of the songs from the album talks directly about the Thousand Oaks shooting in 2018 at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, California, where a shooter killed 12 people. The song is called “Heaven,” and it’s very personal to Barker, as it happened only two miles away from his home.
Blink-182, among many other pop-punk bands, is known for songs that have lyrics that describe the feeling of a break up, a broken relationship or relationship insecurity, and this album does not disappoint in that area. “NINE” has five songs that deal with those things including “Darkside,” “I Really Wish I Hated You,” “Pin the Grenade,” “No Heart to Speak Of” and “Hungover You.”
This entire album felt like a return to form for the band. The tempo of the music and the catchy beats within the album were authentic and consistent with the band from decades ago. The album includes songs that help you introspect on the troubles that come to your everyday life, as well as songs you want to shout out at the top of your lungs when nobody is home. “Pin the Grenade,” in particular, stuck out with a chorus that audiences will be singing out at the band’s concerts to come.