As the will-he-won’t-he debate rages on over whether Tom DeLonge might ever play with Blink again, news of the forthcoming release of their seventh album has been met with both excitement and uncertainty by the punk pop faithful. Will it still be Blink without Tom? Will it see the band more unified than ever? Will there be tunes that’ll make you want to run naked through the streets of LA? Here’s everything we know so far…
When will ‘California’ be released?
The new Blink-182 drops – hur-hur, y’know, like poop from your butthole – on July 1.
What will it be called?
After rejecting ‘OB-GYN Kenobi’, ‘Nude Erection’, ‘No Future’ and ‘No Hard Feelings’, the band settled on ‘California’, since several songs on the album refer to the city’s culture and districts. Singer Matt Skiba described the album as “big and bright and huge and dark and twisted, everything that California is.”
Have we seen the artwork?
Yes, it’s the work of UK street artist D*Face, whom drummer Travis Barker has been a fan of for many years, and is designed to reflect the underbelly of California.
Have we heard any of the tracks?
Lead single ‘Bored To Death’, released in April, was amongst three songs the band wrote on the very first day of recording. All aimless teen angst, ‘Bored To Death’ might contain hints of the frustrations and confusion that have surrounded the band during their latest split with singer Tom DeLonge, but once the middle eight kicks in, wherein Hoppus is dared by his mates to go and chat up a woman in a dive bar, the overgrown dorks of ‘What’s My Age Again?’ prove themselves still present and correct. Likewise on the 15-second comedy song ‘Built This Pool’, which featured in an album trailer, consisting solely of the line “I wanna see some naked dudes, that’s why I built this pool”.
What can we expect?
Unity, finally. After 2011’s sixth album ‘Neighbourhoods’ was recorded in separate studios, Blink’s internal differences reached an impossible impasse. Juggling Blink with his other band Angels & Airwaves and solo activities, DeLonge became difficult to persuade into band activity, delaying this seventh album originally due in 2013 and causing friction with Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker. When he backed out of recording at the last minute in 2015 – later claiming the band was caught up in “self-sabotage” and that their “relationship got poisoned… never planned on quitting, just find it hard as hell to commit” – it was, according to Hoppus, “exactly the same sequence of events that happened when Blink broke up ten years ago”. The band entered discussions with Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba to fill in for DeLonge at a couple of club shows and the Musink Tattoo Convention & Music Festival in March 2015, and the partnership appeared fruitful. “[We’re] knocking out a song a day,” said Barker late last year, “it’s a good time and everyone enjoys being here.”
When Blink hit the Foxy studios in California in January with producer John Feldman, they scrapped all sixteen of the songs that they’d been writing for the previous few months in Barker’s North Hollywood studio Opra Music and came up with a further twenty-eight, recording fifty songs in total, writing at least one song every morning and aiming to record it before the end of the eighteen-hour day. Unsurprisingly, the final album has a hefty track-listing of sixteen songs, although still rocks in at a spritely 42.36.
What have the band said?
“We all wanted to write the best record that we could and everybody was really focused,” Mark told Forbes of the sessions. “We’d show up at eight in the morning and stay until two in the morning all week long. And I think that crucible that we lived in for those two months really created something special. It does feel like a new beginning. It feels like when we used to tour and sleep in the van because that’s all we wanted to do is play rock music.” With fans of DeLonge to appease, word is the record is reminiscent of Blink’s earlier albums such as ‘Dude Ranch’ – “super-fast late-Nineties-punk-rock-sounding songs,” as Hoppus put it – but with some brand new elements “like nothing we’ve ever done before”.
Is it ‘mature’?
Look beyond ‘Brohemian Rhapsody’, a comedy song containing just one lyric: “There’s something about you I can’t quite put my finger in”, and there are lyrics throughout the album linking their teen doofusness to the pains of adulthood – ‘Home Is Such A Lonely Place’ considers how empty their homes will be when their children grow up and move out, while ‘Sober’ tackles the misadventures of the drunk. “There is a lot of angst that could be teen angst or it could be angst of everyday life,” Hoppus said of the album. “I still have the same emotions I had 20 years ago – I get frustrated or I get excited. I still feel like I’m falling in love with my wife.” “The guys aren’t 23 anymore,” Feldmann added, “they’re dads now, so they’re no longer writing songs about poo and that kind of stuff. But there’s still got to be a sense of humour to it; it’s got to be fun and funny, but also age appropriate. There’s got to be growth on the album and there is.”
Where can we see them live?
Blink are breaking off from their North American tour early next week to play two dates in the UK, one at Kingston’s 900-capacity Rose Theatre – a venue more often used for productions of early Shakespeare plays, so it’ll be used to juvenile gags – and one at Maida Vale studios. Hey, maybe next year…