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  • Writer's pictureR’nR With Rylo

Spin #101 : California : Blink 182






SUNDAY DROP - SPIN #101


How good is it when things line up! Blink 182 are currently in the country and I know this because my sister and her husband will be seeing them live next week. When selecting an album to spin as our Sunday drop months and months ago, I had no idea that this would line up with them touring the country. Plus it was my Sister's birthday on Friday and she loves this band.


Welcome to our 101st spin and some of you will be saying, "wait, that isn't Mark, Tom and Travis". I know, but the only Blink 182 album that we own on wax currently is this one and I'm ok with that. 'California' is their 8th album (according to the band, they count their EP- 'Buddha' as their first album). I was thrown off when researching because everyone counts this as their 7th album but if you look at the name of their next album, it's called 'Nine'. I know that this was the first of two albums they made with Alkaline Trio guitarist, Matt Skiba and I will end up adding other Blink albums to the R'nR collection in the future, because they're great. I thought it was funny that Australia is the only country where we say Blink 182 and in other countries they say Blink one eighty two - the band pointed this fact out themself.


Our daughter is having a bit of a rest after a big week and our son is taking it easy with some toys in the loungeroom. It has been stormy, raining, windy and now cold this weekend - so I don't blame them for wanting to take it easy. Night Kat Kiz gets really into her punk rock and I could see her face light up a little when she realised this week's spin was Blink 182. I remember hearing the 'Dude Ranch' album as a kid and loving it but it wasn't until 'Enema of the State' and 'Take Off Your Pants and Jacket' that I really called myself a Blink fan. My sister had some strong influences on my musical tastes and I hope that she has enjoyed the last couple of spins.


This week I will be playing the album in our front room on the Audio Technica turntable and Marshall Woburn II speaker set-up. I think the low end bass will make Hoppus' bass guitar stand out and also Barker's kick drum.


Image: Matt Skiba (Guitar), Mark Hoppus (Bass) and Travis Barker (drums)

It's time to #dropthestylus on this 2016 album - 'California'.


The LP cover is different to the CD, which has a white cover compared to this versions black. There is also a deluxe version of the album now that includes a few more songs but I feel that this version is perfectly balanced - fast songs, slow songs, funny interludes and skits. A few people were giving up on the band when they announced that Tom DeLonge would be leaving and that 'Neighborhoods' would be his last album with them. I was excited to hear that they were releasing another album and I'm glad that I didn't give up on them like so many others did. I would even go close to saying that it's my second favourite Blink album.


The stylus is moving across the groove to start playing the first song, 'CYNICAL'. Hearing Barker yell out while opening the song with his excellent drumming is refreshing. I like when bands leave sounds or honest reactions in the recording as it shows you that they are just as human as you and I. The difference is that you don't give up and you keep giving it your all, just like the boys are doing here. I was trying to show Night Kat Kiz another song with some pretty sweet drumming to open the song on Friday night - If you have time, check out the music video for Van Halen's 'Hot For Teacher'. It's the first time hearing the new trio and I like the short, fast paced opener that they give us. We have been taking it easy over the weekend and living in fear because the daycare announced that there has been an outbreak of gastro going around. Night Kat Kiz and I would both agree that it is the scariest feeling, not knowing if we are all going to wake up vomiting or stuck on the toilet for the weekend and looking after two kids who don't understand what is going on.


The stylus is moving into the second song on this album and the pressing is so clear. 'BORED TO DEATH' is the first time really hearing the new addition of Skiba holding his own. I would say that he has a similar style of vocals to Tom DeLonge but you can hear that it is indeed someone different. I think his vocals go well and I will have to look up his other band Alkaline Trio. I wouldn't be able to tell you a song of theirs but always on the look out for new artists and bands to hear. I've been going through the catalogues of bands that I grew up with lately and being surprised to hear that some of them have released new albums. This song was released as a single and it showcases the band having fun with what they are doing.


Our son has been practicing his heart words each afternoon with Night Kat Kiz and myself. I can see his improvement in such a short time and even yesterday we were doing some simple math on the remarkable 2 reader. I like watching his face light up when he realises that he has solved the math problem or when he is correctly spelling and reading words. Proud mum and dad moment. Our daughter has been growing up so quickly and enjoying her new daycare now, feeling more and more confident and social. She has been a little hug monkey this week, which isn't a bad thing at all - taking time to appreciate these moments because I understand how quickly they will go by Night Kat Kiz and I.


Up next is a great song called, 'SHE'S OUT OF HER MIND' and I really like the lyrics and overall sound on this one. This album really does sound like they were having fun again and bringing back the playful energy from their earlier albums and live album -The Mark, Tom and Travis Show (worth checking out if you haven't heard it). We do have that one on cassette and have played it a couple of times in the kitchen while washing up. The lyrics on this song are funny and easy to sing along with. I could see our son looking around and bopping side to side while this one played - "I'm in deep with this girl, but she's out of her mind. She said "Babe, I'm Sorry but I'm crazy tonight". She got a black shirt, black skirt and Bauhaus stuck in her head". The music video for this one has three girls running naked down the street, paying homage to what the boys did for "What's My Age Again". It even has the banana guy in it! Can you believe that this one almost didn't make the album! Click here if you want to watch the music video.


Whenever I am watching sport, I am with the majority of people who say, "Beat LA". I think it came, mostly because of the LA Kings in the NHL and always losing to them. Same as the LA Dodgers and this song makes me think of sport. For the band though it is a way for them to pay homage places within their home state of California. 'LOS ANGELES' is gritty and very different initially to what you would think a Blink 182 song sounds like. The shift in sound is distinct but the tight and composed drumming style of Barker is superb. I could listen or watch his drumming on YouTube all day long. I'm also loving the vocals here of Skiba and appreciating his involvement more and more as the album goes on. You have to just tell yourself, Blink 182 started without Barker behind the kit and look where they are now. Do you remember who the drummer was for the band first? I never really looked into the next album 'Nine', but I will have to give it a listen considering it was Skiba's last involvement with the band.


If you know any of Blink 182 previous albums then you know that they are always good for an anthemic song. 'SOBER' is that song and it would be fun to sing in a big mosh pit. I wonder if they have played this one to a live crowd yet. "I know I messed up and it might be over. But let me call you when I'm sober. I'm a dandelion you're a four-leaf clover, but let me call you when I'm sober". It rolls into the next 'song' or should I say skit in 'BUILT THIS POOL'. Classic Blink 182 and I won't spoil the lyrics of Hoppus for you.


Did you enjoy the last skit? Well the next song is called, 'NO FUTURE' and it shows a different style drumming, more technical and definitely jazz infused, before rolling back into the punk rock style by Barker. Some people complained that Skiba and Hoppus' vocals sounded too similar and you couldn't differentiate between them. I don't think that is the case, especially on this song. They interchange well and you can hear the difference easily. Maybe it isn't as much as when DeLonge was with the band but there is still a difference. Skiba's guitar work on this one sounds great and doesn't get enough credit for having to fill some pretty big shoes. Another band that has recently reunited is................ SLAYER. Weird timing considering Kerry King and Paul Bostaph have created a new band and they are about to release an album, but it's Slayer so I welcome it. Shame that I can't say I saw them play for their last world tour anymore, fingers crossed they will come to Australia again now. Maybe they are only reforming for festival slots and not going to make another album, but I can dream that they will give us another thrash album in 2025.


'HOME IS SUCH A LONELY PLACE' is such a sad song to end Side A and obviously it's talking about the loss or a break up someone is going through. But when I hear this song, it makes me think of when I'm working from home alone and the kids are at school and Night Kat Kiz is at work. I go from such a busy household to such a quiet one. Blink 182 are trying new things on this song and I'm not sure if that is because they have a new member providing new ideas into the band - acoustic and folk inspired song to close Side A. What have you thought about the first side of 'California'?


Favourite lyric:

"Are we halfway gone or halfway there?" ~ Left Alone - Side B

I've flipped the LP over to Side B now and we can hear Hoppus kicking us off with his bass and vocals on, 'KINGS OF THE WEEKEND'. He is supported by Barkers technical drumming behind the kit. How bloody good is he! There are some funny lyrics on this one - "I can feel my head, falling off my neck. I need something, to keep going". A track that makes me think of high school again and sleepovers at mates houses. I remember racing home to get ready after school, so we could run down or skate down to the video store and rent some movies and games. Most likely hiring Tony Hawk pro skater or renting an '80s classic horror movie. I saw the response in our son this morning when he was told that he wasn't going to school, no one had work and his sister didn't have daycare. He felt like a King on the weekend. It's different as an adult because we have chores and the responsibilities that never end but as a kid, the weekend is ALL about fun.


The next song reminds me a lot of their last album with DeLonge. 'TEENAGE SATELLITES' sounds like it might have been a track left over from those sessions and worked on or at least heavily influenced by that sound. This one is another example of the band creating anthemic chorus' to sing along too or out loud in the car with. I haven't even discussed the album cover, as I hold it in my hands while this song is playing. It has an Angel and Demon driving somewhere and the Angel is crying for an unknown reason. I looked up the original version and it was rejected. What do you think of it? Better cropped or the whole car as the album artwork?

I think that it looks better on the white album of the CD but for the LP they made the background black. Up next is a song that reminds me of their self-titled album mixed with their earlier songs, all fused together, 'LEFT ALONE'. I think that the drumming on this album makes this one my favourite on the album. It has some pondering questions within the lyrics that really make this song enjoyable to hear. It comes through the Marshall Woburn II speaker so clearly and once again I have to commend the pressing by BMG. I think that this was the only time they use BMG too and I'll have to look at the follow up album and compare pressings.


Have you ever felt like you have gone down a 'RABBIT HOLE' ? Sometimes life can offer up some good times and sometimes it doesn't. If you delve into the negative too much then you will end up going down an endless path. Blink 182 have given us a classic punk rock that reminds me heavily of early Green Day. I mean c'mon the opening lyrics of, "Dear head, shut up, I can't listen no more" is just great. The song is fast, punchy and you can hear them letting go of a lot of tension and negativity.


Blink 182 then return to sing a song about the place they grew up in and reminisce. 'SAN DIEGO' is a song that has Hoppus singing about missing his best friend and is pretty personal from the band. Skiba is from Chicago but he understands this song holds a special place for the members of the band. Will Tom re-join the band one day? Only kidding, we all know he has now but at the time of the band writing this one they were moving on but also trying to heal.


One thing about a decent speaker or pair of headphones is the clarity of the bass line heard within songs. 'THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERS' picks up the tempo again and you can clearly hear Hoppus and his great bass line on this one. It has them singing with some effects and going back and forth between Skiba and Hoppus. A positive song lyrically that picks you up after some darker lyrics in the previous songs.


The title track is up next on the album and one that discusses the ugliness and beauty of 'CALIFORNIA'. The tempo is brought down again to make you pay attention to the lyrics being sung. You'd be forgiven if you thought that the drumming was programmed beats being laid down, nope that is Barker working his arse off and you can tell that he is at the top of his game on this album. The last 'song' on the album is not Queen but a play on the mega-hit, 'Bohemian Rhapsody'.


'BROHEMIAN RHAPSODY' is a funny name for a short skit track to end the album on. Unlike the Queen song which is quite long, this one is about 30 seconds, fast and has the lyrics of, "There's something about you that I can't quite put my finger in!". Apparently Hoppus and the producer were jazzed up on coffee and had a cool line that they wanted to put somewhere in a song. They eventually decided to make it into this and place it at the end to finish the album.


What did you think of Blink 182 - 'California'? I'm hoping that it becomes an album that you all add to your own record collections. I feel that it doesn't get the love and attention that it deserves. Thank you for getting involved in the MWSP and love it when you all have a guess. It was tricky this week and I'll make it a bit easier for next week. I think from memory it will be a band/artist isn't from Australia. Hug your loved ones, enjoy the weekend and family time together and I'll catch you next week for our 102nd Sunday Drop.


Until our next Spin, be Kind to fellow concert goers and be Kind to your Wax!


"The past is only the future with the lights on" - Mark Hoppus

 

YEAR RELEASED

2016

PRODUCED BY

JOHN FELDMANN

LABEL

BMG

PRICE RANGE

$60+AUD

SPEED PLAYED AT

33 1/3 RPM

ALBUM BEFORE

NEIGHBORHOODS (2011)

ALBUM AFTER

NINE (2019)

FURTHER LISTENING

ONE MORE TIME...(2023)

FAVOURITE SONG

LEFT ALONE

RATING OUT OF 5

4.5

WHAT'S INSIDE THE RECORD SLEEVE

1 X BLACK LP, INNER SLEEVE WITH LYRICS PRINTED AND DOWNLOAD CARD


TRACK LISTING

LP / SIDE

SONG

TRACK LENGTH

​SIDE A

CYNICAL

1:55


BORED TO DEATH

3:55


SHE'S OUT OF HER MIND

2:42


LOS ANGELES

3:03


SOBER

2:59


BUILT THIS POOL

0:16


NO FUTURE

3:45


HOME IS SUCH A LONELY PLACE

3:21

SIDE B

KINGS OF THE WEEKEND

2:56


TEENAGE SATELLITES

3:11


LEFT ALONE

3:09


RABBIT HOLE

2:35


SAN DIEGO

3:12


THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERS

1:57


CALIFORNIA

3:10


BROHEMIAN RHAPSODY

0:30




Blink 182 playing live on stage





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