Blink-182’s comeback album Neighborhoods has just been released after a lot of anticipation, but it’s not exactly been an easy road for them since their last album in 2003, and the music contained here is evidence of that and all the more interesting because of it.
Of course, we all know Blink-182 as the lovable pop-punk rogues who ran around naked a lot and littered their gigs with toilet humour and three-minute, three-chord songs about sex. But that was over a decade ago and they’ve grown up a lot and been through a lot, not least a break-up/hiatus that looked like it would never end.
The seeds of their downfall were evident on their self-titled album, which took them in a more mature, anthemic direction and displayed some impatience, seemingly mostly on the part of co-frontman Tom DeLonge, with their roots. This led to friction with Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker, and the band fell apart, with DeLonge taking his aspirations into Angels & Airwaves while the other two got back to basics with +44 (and Barker became a reality TV star). It was clear from the difference in those two bands why things turned sour.
The death of their producer Jerry Finn and near-death of Barker in a plane crash helped Hoppus and DeLonge rekindle their friendship over the last few years and a reunion finally became a reality. Even then, things haven’t been entirely smooth, with an increase in lawyers, managers and commitments since the split complicating negotiations, while Barker’s good friend DJ AM passed away in 2009. But they’ve managed to deliver their new album a little behind schedule, and it’s interesting to hear what it sounds like.
In many ways, Neighborhoods could have been made a couple of years after their self-titled album, because it continues the journey away from brattish pop-punk, and DeLonge seems to have won any power battles in this sense. Of course, all of them have matured a lot in the last six years, so perhaps the polished sound of this album is only a more natural development than it would have been back then.
Its slightly difficult gestation means that this return isn’t a completely triumphant one, you sense that Blink-182 are capable of something much consistently impressive than this. But it’s far from a disappointing comeback either, they sound like a band who have taken their knocks but gritted their teeth and pulled through the hard times. Hopefully better times are on their way, but this will certainly do for now.