There's something I've been waiting for someone whose opinion I respect to say, but since no one has, I'll say so myself: Blink-182's new album California is boring from start to finish.
I'm not the biggest Alkaline Trio fan - though Time To Waste and Mercy Me were on my music-video playlist back in 2004 - so I can't speak regarding Matt Skiba, but Mark Hoppus is so much better than this. It is the most vapid, unintelligent pop punk record I've ever heard - and the bar isn't exactly high.
Their previous effort, Neighborhoods - the last with founding member Tom DeLonge - struck me on first listen. It was Blink: they were back, and they had grown up, musically and lyrically. California is less of a return to form and more of a desperate grab at reliving glory days that just doesn't ring true. It's like a mid-life crisis combined with a 50% drop in IQ - and who would've thought that Tom was the smart one? The guy honestly, truly believes that Aliens Exist!
The album's one redeeming feature was demonstrated in advance single Bored To Death - it's catchy as hell. The melodies are excellent. The production is top-notch. It has everything a pop punk band needs to get a crowd moving, but there's nothing underneath. Nothing drawing me back to listen again. Everything about it suggests a flowchart approach to the question "what makes a good blink-182 song" when the simple answer is "whatever blink-182 want to write about"!
Who knows? Maybe this is a concept album about a 17-year-old Mark and 13-year-old Matt starting a band in 2015, with all the influences and changes to the music scene that have come in the time since Blink's formation. Maybe it's scattered, unfocused lyrics are actually a high-concept metaphor for or consequence of the anxiety mentioned in passing twice throughout the course of the album. Honestly though, it just reads like a parade of tired tropes about the endlessly commodified pop punk lifestyle that undermines the fantastic contributions each band member has made to the form.
There are great ideas on California, but terrible execution; no real insight into what it is about an ageing millionaire rock star's life that's so relatable to the perennial struggling punk kid. All filler, no killer.
Honestly, Built This Pool may be the only good song on the album - and even that sounds contrived as fuck.