I wouldn’t be surprised if Blink 182 guitarist/vocalist Tom Delonge said: “We’re doing this my way or I’ll quit again,” before the band entered into the studio to record their new album ‘Neighborhoods’.
Angels & Airwaves fans will love this new Blink 182 record, while old school fans will most probably purchase it to complete their collection, if nothing else.
With that said, it isn’t all bad. It still has some classic Blink 182 elements, just with more synthesizers and abstract noises.
Besides the weird noises, the thing that makes this record seem more Tom Delonge orientated is the fact that he sings on 75% of the songs. Usually co-vocalist Mark Hoppus takes an even share.
A large number of factors would have added to the different sounds on this album. It’s been more than seven years since they recorded their self-titled album and so much has happened to each member over that period of time.
Travis Barker released a hip-hop album and was in a plane crash, Hoppus had a short run with +44 and then became the host of his very own TV show and Delonge released three albums and a full length movie with Angels & Airwaves. This is also their first self-produced album, since the death of their long-time producer Jerry Finn in 2008.
Catchy riffs and melodies make ‘Ghost on the Dance Floor’ a fairly strong opener. This track, like many others on the album, sounds like a combination of Boxcar Racer and Angels & Airwaves songs. You can get a pretty good idea as to where the album is headed from this track.
Followed by one of Neighborhood’s more up tempo tunes ‘Natives’ is probably the closest thing to old Blink 182 you’ll find on this album. A healthy vocal mix of Hoppus and Delonge combined with upbeat drums makes it stand out.
‘Up All Night’ is track number three on the record and not too far apart from ‘After Midnight’ and ‘Heart’s All Gone’. These three songs came out before the album and gave fans some hope of hearing something slightly similar to the self-titled album. But songs like ‘Fighting the Gravity’ and ‘Heart’s All Gone Interlude’ violently smash those hopes and show the band wasn’t out to do something that they’ve done before.
Other highlights included ‘MH 4.18.2011’ and ‘Even if She Falls’. These two songs feel almost like a reward for listening through the experimental material on the second half of the album.
‘Neighborhoods’ is an album that a lot people probably won’t love or understand on their first listen, due to the new direction the band has taken. But after a few or more listens fans, young and old, will surely be able to find something that gets stuck in their head.
While the album has it’s good points, it doesn’t have any songs that compare to their older classics. It may be another seven years before we’ll see an album that compares to ‘Enema of the State’ or ‘Dude Ranch’ but for now let’s hope that Blink 182 doesn’t end their career with a mostly filler album like ‘Neighborhoods.’