You’re on the edge of your seats. I know, the world has been waiting for my review of this album considering emo and pop-punk are my genres. JK you guys could literally not give a Fuck, most of you don’t even know that this is Blink-182’s second full-length album without Tom DeLonge.
Before I get into my feelings on NINE. I have some prerequisites.
Did you enjoy Neighborhoods?
Do you silently weep in hopes Tom DeLonge will return to Blink-182?
Are you one of those assholes who only likes a band’s “first album” or obscure indie shit?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, leave now there is nothing for you here.
For those of you who don’t know my personal history with Blink-182, I’ll try to sum it up here.
In 1998 I was in the mall music store when a sign caught my eye. “If you like Green Day, you’ll love Blink-182” there was Dude Ranch in all its glory. 18-year-old Kathyanne picked it up and played it while driving around. Did it change my life? No, but it was a fun record, so I purchased Cheshire Cat. I also got to see Blink-182 and Unwritten Law at Janus Landing.
A few years later Enema of The State came out. Another funny, but polished pop-punk cd. I enjoyed it and saw them live again in a much bigger arena. It was then when Tom Delonge let out a big rant on stage, I don’t remember what it was about, but I remember feeling ready for some depth from the band, and them not delivering. When I got home I gathered all of my Blink CDs and traded them in. I’m too cool for this silly music. I’m nearly 21!
The TOYPAJ came out, and while they were still a silly band I loved this cd. It remains a favorite. So I bought all my Blink-182 albums back.
I have a confession to make. When the self-titled album came out I only liked 1/2 of it. The sound matured and it was cool, but some of the songs were not pop-punk enough and sounded rockier. It’s a great cd but not my favorite.
Then Tom left. He broke Mark’s heart and I’ll never forgive him. He shat on everything Blink-182 was and claimed to be above the teenage snotty humor he specifically branded. Thus +44 and AvA were born. Obviously, I preferred the former and was TEAM HOPPUS all the way. I even made shirts. When Tom came back I didn’t give Neighborhoods a chance. F that guy and his stupid faux intellect 🤮 (For the record I did enjoy Box Car Racer)
Ok, so we are mostly caught up. I liked a few songs on California, but I was into broadway musicals and let it take a back seat.
Fast forward to the present: I can’t stop listening to NINE. I saw some memes about it and was like “ok I’ll check it out” and it hasn’t stopped playing. I added the whole thing to a playlist and put California on there too. To be honest I appreciate California more now.
Let’s break down NINE because I saw other writers do it. And for the most part, I disagree.
For starters, I prefer the last half of Nine. Everything from the Generational Divide on is my cup of tea. But I guess we’ll get to that soon enough.
The First track First Time is said to have a ‘Feeling This’ vibe. I think that’s intentional, and although I like Feeling This more this track is just fine.
Happy Days is a song about depression set to poppy guitars. While I do love that combo it is subdued.
Heaven is sweet and sad.
Darkside tries to be just that.
Then we get to Blame it On My Youth where the band shows it’s age in the best way. I’ve heard it compared to an Imagine Dragons track, and I can see that. The song’s lyrics finally match up to what it’s fans are likely feeling in their 30’s and 40’s. With references to 80’s pop culture and reasons why this generation of aging millennials are struggling to grow up and be taken seriously anyway. Much of what the bands main critics can’t grasp.
Generational Divide is a short punk riff that tackles parenthood and along with Ransom are the most punk songs the band has ever put out. Fight me.
I Really Wish I Hated You
Pin The Grenade
Remember to Forget Me
These songs have the formula to melt my heart. Happy bouncy music and sad self deprecating lyrics. Some critic likened the second half of NINE to Fall Out Boy and Panic! At The Disco. Great. I Love those guys. LOVE. Bring me more of THAT sound. That is my SHIT.
So I guess some of the critics and I agree. But many￼ are acting as if Blink-182 used to be this deep punk band that have ’ sold out’ (🙄😒 don’t get me started on all hipster assholes out there giving every successful band ever shit for making progressive music careers.)
The truth is Blink-182’s most successful album was a parody of boy bands everywhere and their most meaningful song included the line:
” I spilled the cup of apple juice in the hall”, please tell mom this is not her fault.”
You can be nostalgic, you can like Blink-182’s entire body of work (even Neighborhoods). But you can’t pretend that the writing, sound and production haven’t matured. And if you really look at these past two albums you’d be hard pressed to say that they aren’t the group’s most serious efforts to date. There isn’t one poo-poo or pee pee joke amongst them, and the sound has evolved into what’s popular now. Are they ground breaking? No have they ever been? Also no. But it’s really really good to hear something from this group that isn’t silly and bro-ed up.