Blink-182

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Who Sounds like Blink-182?

Blasting onto the mainstream scene with loud guitars and a likeable blend of self-effacing lyrics and memorable melodies and hooks, Blink-182 led the emerging pop-punk scene of the mid-to-late 90s and early 2000s. Selling over 35 million records and paving the way for a whole new genre of pop music, the band took the commercial success of their predecessors and built upon it with a foundation and style that bands still emulate today.

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In interviews, band members Tom DeLonge and Mark Hoppus have both stated that groups such as Stiff Little Fingers, Depeche Mode, The Ramones, and the Descendants greatly influenced Blink-182 and led to the pop-punk culture that made them famous. Their own sound borrows from the bands that directly preceded them in the music landscape, such as Green Day, NOFX, and Rancid.

Many bands followed suit after Blink-182 kicked down the door of pop-punk and found success with catchy lyrics merged with fast-punk tempos and memorable hooks. The music is generally radio-friendly but still possesses that bite that typical pop music doesn’t necessarily have, which influenced bands such as:

  • Simple Plan
  • New Found Glory
  • Bowling For Soup
  • Good Charlotte
  • 5 Seconds of Summer

Bands like Blink-182 utilize varying degrees of punk music fused with elements of pop. The music typically sounds like a combination of fast punk tempos, loud guitars, and notable chord changes. This is then mixed with catchy melodies and relatable themes, similar to traditional pop music.

While pop-punk was thought to have peaked in the late 90s and early 2000s, before the more emo-style punk came into prevalence, the genre is experiencing a sort of renaissance. A whole new generation of artists proudly claim the influence of Blink-182, like Good Charlotte and 5 Seconds of Summer.

Biography

A trio originally from the San Diego suburbs, Blink-182 initially consisted of guitarist and vocalist Tom DeLonge, bassist and vocalist Mark Hoppus, and drummer Scott Raynor. By 1997, Raynor had been replaced by Travis Barker, and the band soon after found mainstream success in the emerging pop-punk scene.

With music and lyrics written by both Hoppus and DeLonge, the band has sold over 35 million records to date. The group was initially called “Blink,” which attracted attention — and the threat of legal action — from an Irish pop-rock band of the same name, thus inspiring the switch to the current moniker, which is sometimes stylized as “blink-182.”

History

Formed in 1991, Blink-182 made headway with independent recordings and performances at festivals and clubs, soon finding devoted young followers. In the mid-90s, the group started to gain a larger fan base while touring with veteran punk bands like NOFX and Pennywise, and soon joined the Vans Warped Tour.

By 1997, the band began to catch the attention of mainstream music listeners and eventually had to replace drummer Scott Raynor due to his reported substance abuse issues. Soon after new drummer Travis Barker came over from the Aquabats, Blink-182 signed with MCA and released their breakout album, Enema of the State.

Mainstream success and constant exposure on MTV, along with cameo appearances in the teen comedy American Pie and their musical contributions to the film’s soundtrack, led to record sales. Enema of the State eventually went five-times platinum and gave punk-pop music lovers a slew of anthems such as “What’s My Age Again” and “All the Small Things.”

Blink-182 released two studio albums and one live album to follow up the success of Enema of the State, each bringing additional successes and cementing the band as one of the leaders of the pop-punk genre.

Come 2005, the band declared a hiatus, Hoppus and Barker formed a new band called +44, and DeLonge started his own group, Angels and Airwaves. In 2008, Barker was seriously injured in a plane crash, suffering second- and third-degree burns over his entire body.

By 2009, Blink-182 had reunited and began touring again. This led to their sixth and, as of 2015, last studio album, Neighbors, which debuted at number two on the U.S. charts. The group stopped touring in 2014 and have since moved on to other projects.

Music

Initially following in the footsteps of punk-pop predecessors such as NOFX, Green Day, and The Offspring, Blink-182 strayed into more accessible and mainstream pop territory with Enema of the State. The change may have turned off some of the band’s original fans, but brought with it a whole new set of listeners. After a live album was given limited release and met with little success, the band dropped Take Off Your Pants and Jacket, which saw the group return to their SoCal punk roots and, for the first time, achieve the Number One spot on the charts.

The band’s sound matured over time, with critics praising their 2003 studio album for ramping up their penchant for brooding lyrics while embracing a stormier musical tone. Blink-182 also enjoyed a boost from having Robert Smith of The Cure play on the untitled album. While critics compared the album to the works of The Police or even U2, the group singled out The Cure as the greatest influence on the record, which features heavier riffs and much more profound lyrics.

The final album took a lot longer to develop, with the band recording it individually at times and bringing it together by 2011. While the “double-time tempos, crisp tuneage, and self-deprecating lyrics” (AV Club review 2011) were still there, they were inter-spliced with more serious and artistic takes on life and the complexities of being all grown up. The album brings a balance of bare-bones punk and emotional rock, utilizing the sound that made Blink-182 famous while heavily featuring their newfound maturity and willingness to experiment musically.

Discography

  • Buddha (1993) – A collection of self-recorded demos that eventually led to the group’s first record deal.
  • Cheshire Cat (1994) – Blink-182’s first full-length album, released by Grilled Cheese Records. Contains many new versions of the songs on Buddha.
  • Dude Ranch (1997) – Certified platinum and features the singles “Josie” and “Dammit.” The final album with Raynor in the group.
  • Enema of the State (1999) – The first Blink-182 album after the band signed with MCA. Reached #9 on the U.S. charts. Certified 5x-platinum, driven by the hit singles “What’s My Age Again,” “All the Small Things,” and “Adam’s Song.”
  • The Mark, Tom and Travis Show (The Enema Strikes Back) (2000) – Limited-release album of live versions of popular Blink-182 songs.
  • Take Off Your Pants and Jacket (2001) – First album to take the band to Number One on the charts. Certified double-platinum.
  • untitled (2003) – Rather than naming the album eponymously, the group left it untitled. Spawned three hit singles: “I Miss You,” “Always,” and “Feeling This.” Went double-platinum and peaked at number three on the U.S. charts.
  • Neighborhoods (2011) – First album released after the band’s reunion from hiatus. Debuted at number two on the US charts but sold considerably less than previous albums. Certified gold.

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