Producer: John Feldmann
Label: BMG Rights Management
What we have here is, quite possibly, the most anticipated album of the year. This is not just because it's a Blink-182 record and we haven't received one in a number of years, but because this is the first ever Blink-182 record without Tom DeLonge, whose been a staple of the band since its inception. Guitarist and vocalist DeLonge made a rather public exit from the band (at least that's what it appears to be; everyone is still unsure of the details) last year. Shortly after, it was announced that Matt Skiba (the mind behind punk outfit Alkaline Trio) would be taking his place and the band would proceed forward with recording their next studio album.
All eyes were on Blink-182.
July 1st saw the release of California, and it is quite possibly everything that a Blink-182 fan could hope for. I will openly admit, it's weird to hear a record and not have DeLonge's voice as an element on it. It's very weird, actually. But if you look past this, it's clear that this is the record that Neighborhoods should have been (and I did love Neighborhoods). The first track, "Cynical", will ironically lay to rest any naysayers that say the band is different. Travis Barker's signature punk drumming technique is in full effect, dual vocals between Mark Hoppus and Skiba sound gorgeously executed (it's great that Skiba's vocal range matches DeLonge's as well), and the traditional pop-punk power chords that the band incorporated in their most famous works are abound in every nook and cranny you could possibly think of.
The band do take some risks, most notably with tracks like "Los Angeles". I liked it upon first listen, but it's the one track I seem to find has fans divided. Maybe due to the incorporation of more electronic-based elements. Maybe it's the vocal effects. Just remember this though. Blink-182 faced a load of criticism when they transitioned from the sounds of Dude Ranch to Enema of The State. They faced even wider-spread criticism when their self-titled record hit stores. All of this debate has only benefited them, made them more talked about, and catapulted them further into stardom, solidifying their position among pop-punk royalty for years to come.
This summer, I can promise you that you'll be driving down a highway, whether your on your way to work, the beach, or looking to temporarily escape from the problems of everyday life. We all have those days. I guarantee you that California is going to be the soundtrack to one of your drives, and it will become a staple in your music library. Turn it up as loud as you can and escape into the summer landscape for an hour.
This has been another Shameless Promotion.