A long time ago on a website far, far away…
The year was 2015; it was a simpler time. Cuba and the US had reestablished diplomatic relations. The world watched an on-air shooting in the state of Virginia. Trump was ramping up his attempt to rule and ruin the world. Okay, maybe it wasn’t simpler when you actually look back at it. But, 2015 felt at least a tad more carefree than the last few oppressive years have.
It was the year that I convinced my acquaintance, Snake, to start writing for the site that I was currently co-running (now defunct). He had his sights on writing reviews and he told me he was ready to spit fire. Not really sure what that meant in regards to an aged Blink-182 album, I approved his request to review Neighborhoods and let him both express and vent. Below is one of the first things that Bad Copy’s now faithful roadie-gone-writer ever published. So dive in and enjoy and in the immortal words of Buzz Lightyear – “To Infinity… and Beyond!”
Originally posted on March 2, 2015
“When you see opportunities in your life, you’ve got to analyze, ‘Why was that choice given to me?”
Yawn. Oh sorry. I was immediately bored with the idea of writing this. Before you say it, I know I’m a little late to the party with the Tom quit/was fired debacle that has caused utter upheaval across this great nation’s malls. However, whatever caused his departure does not excuse Tom’s fucking atrocious singing voice. I was never a fan of Blink-182. To me they were a cookie cutter Pop-Punk band that got a shot at the brass cock ring. When they started out, you were practically tripping over similar bands every time you left your house. And not just in sunny SoCal, but in the garages and basements throughout the land. They just had that “It” factor that made labels overlook the fact that the dude on guitar sings through his nasal passage and has a slight speech impediment.
Tom is gone now. He’s freed up his schedule to pursue his true passion, science fiction music. So maybe there’s a chance for my opinion to be swayed. His replacement, Matt Skiba, is a much better singer plus he’s all goth and stuff which fits in with their new direction. It’s quite a motley crew of individuals now. Matt being Dracula, Mark looking like an aging ventriloquist dummy with funny hair and Travis rounding out the cast with a tattooed bro vibe which is a hit with the raised truck and Lowrider crowd. Sorry Tom, but I don’t think there is room for your take on something David Bowie did years ago and did way better: being a space man. Speaking of space, let’s get to Neighborhoods.
The September 2011 release was the band’s sixth studio effort. It sounds like a lot of effort to sound like grown-ups as they shy away from the dick and fart humor that made them famous. They have taken a much more serious route and it’s fucking boring. Long ago, I would have probably given the band half a chance. But Tom’s voice, like the bellow of a trumpet blowing turds into the wind, forced me to write them off as a bland example of what the public at large considers a great band. But, people are dumb. They will like anything that’s force fed to them via the internet or the radio waves while cruising to their bro’s house to go hang and compare wieners.
As the first few notes of “Ghost on the Dance Floor” begin to build up, the synth slithers in like it made a wrong turn on its way to an Angels and Airwaves recording session. I immediately feel like I’m being transported into the cosmos. That journey is taking place aboard a spacecraft of Delonge’s clever design. But then, he starts singing. Immediately, I want to grab the fire extinguisher attached to the wall of the craft and bash out the windows so that every last breath of oxygen can be sucked out of the cabin of the S.S. Vanity Project and I would die an instantaneous death. Basically Tom Delonge’s voice makes me de-long-e to die in space.
Just so I was certain I was listening to the right record I decided to play an Angels and Airwaves song while I wrote this. I chose “Everything is Magic” because I could picture Tom sitting in his room writing the lyrics to the song, being overcome with an overwhelming sense of pride and accomplishment. Well that, and the title is so grandiose it makes me giggle. Because everything IS magic my friends. As the song played and he droned on about magic over and over, I quickly realized that IT SOUNDS LIKE THE SONGS ON THE FUCKING BLINK RECORD… albeit a bit wimpier. I imagined them in the studio trying to write Neighborhoods and getting restless with Tom going on about the wonder of the stars and rockets and shit. Mark and Trav tell him they’re going to run out to “grab some cigarettes.” When they both return to the studio several months later they find a disheveled Tom Delonge surrounded by jars of urine and stacks upon stacks of notes. Tom says he forgives them for bailing and lets them know he has finished writing the album. Since all the songs are written, the two absentee dads don’t ask questions. They tell the engineer to hit Record. And there you have Neighborhoods in a nutshell.
I decided I should try to be fair because recording albums is a lot of work; I was sure there had to be something on the record that would be its saving grace. Not really, just more space jams. Overproduced space jams. I had to sit through a Blink set at a festival a long time ago. Once was enough, because they are a terrible live band. When they got big, they seemed to me to be a band reliant on studio magic to produce the polished turds that perked up the nipples of their target demographic. But that demographic has aged nipples now. And Blink-182 is struggling to keep those old nipples interested with this record. That’s a tall order for dudes who used to be dudes but now are dads. However, it’s the career path they’ve chosen. I think they could have put the band to bed and gotten day jobs when they realized they were too old to play Warped Tour. Getting old is a bummer. But, this record is a bigger bummer.
As I write this, each track is bleeding into the next. No longer do I have that feeling of floating in space. It’s more like a splitting headache that’s parked right behind my eyeballs. There are lots of slick echoing guitar licks, lots of drum theatrics and I’m not even sure if Mark is on this record. I hear the bass, but they can add that shit in with just about any fanboy who knows their catalog. Mark doesn’t seem to sing much on this, or maybe I’ve tuned it all out because I’m entranced by Delonge’s Circular Narrative. Who the fuck knows? At this point, I don’t know anything anymore. This record has caused me to disconnect with reality. Except I’m not on Major Tom’s spaceship hurtling towards Uranus this time. I’m in my kitchen and I wish I never listened to this.
Last year, Snake confided in the Bad Copy readers his previous experiences with Mr. Delonge which explain some of the above vitriol. Dive into his space adventure in Snake column Ground Control to Major Tom Delonge now!