Blink-182’s newest pop-punk installment “NINE” is the band’s eighth album and latest desperate attempt to stay relevant. After their last album “California” was full of let downs, I was hesitant to give this album a listen.
Since the “All The Small Things” days in 1999, Blink-182 has served as the soundtrack to my childhood and early adulthood. I own every single album the band has released since their debut album, “Cheshire Cat” in 1994, and have seen them perform live twice.
But ever since frontman and founding member Tom Delonge left the group in 2015, the band’s sound has taken an unidentifiable trajectory.
Guitarist and backup vocalist Matt Skiba, can’t harmonize with bassist Mark Hoppus. Instead of sounding punk-alternative, the group has settled for soft, pop melodies.
Delonge’s songwriting, and Blink-182’s pop-punk appeal was always the band’s strong point and without it, another album of misdirection and mediocracy ensues.
With “NINE,” Blink sought out the emo-punk sound of their signature self-titled album in 2003, but fails in the process due to incomplete, rushed songwriting and a lack of harmonization between the pair.
Longtime member and bass player Mark Hoppus struggles with having a dynamic enough voice to be a frontman rather than a backup vocalist.
Lyrics on the track “Happy Days” give young listeners some inspiration like, “Hey kid, don’t listen to your head, it only fills you with dread and with doubt.”
Hoppus’ lyrics are rooted in his personal experiences with depression, but the new sound takes a more upbeat approach.
Travis Barker’s drumming clearly shapes the sound of “NINE” with rapid drum rolls and snares more than anything else. Per usual, the drummer delivered on this one, until his drum machines and lazy loops left Hoppus and Skiba to awkwardly drown them out.
This album is aimed toward a younger audience that weren’t necessarily fans of the band before. The song writing is cheesy, with Skiba consistently not being able to find where his voice matches in the band, thus adding very little to the already monotone Hoppus.
The ingeniously titled closing track “Remember to Forget Me” has me wishing I could forget how one of my favorite bands has become this cringey.