By Destin Piagentini
To anyone paying attention, the slew of singles released prior to Blink-182’s new Nine might have seemed like a setup for an album that would abandon anything that gave the band its much-beloved legacy in favor of cashing in on a more modern, poppy, and radio-friendly sound. Thankfully, this isn’t the case.
Being Blink-182’s eight studio album (ninth if you count the demo record Buddha, just as the band has), Nine is clearly an era unlike any before for Blink-182. An improvement from 2016’s California, Blink’s Nine relies more on familiar (but catchy) guitar riffs and a greater influence from Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba. Skiba’s influence on this record is hard to understate, and he feels even more committed than Blink’s very own Mark Hoppus at this point. Any song that sees Skiba taking lead is guaranteed to be one of the better songs on the album.
The first thing that might surprise a first-time listener with the very energetic and powerful opening track “The First Time”—a track that will have you remembering the good old days of the self-titled album—is the gravity of the lyrics. One of the best tracks on the album is by far “On Some Emo S**t.” The instruments and lyrics come together to create what is one of the darker songs in Blink’s discography, and there is definitely something to be said for the harrowing bridge instrumentalization that hammers home the song’s impact.
It’s not all good, though. The songs that were singles really bring this album down. All of them (excluding “Generational Divide” and maybe “Darkside”) feature some of the laziest songwriting in the band’s history. The singles, particularly “Blame It On My Youth,” cast a dark shadow on what came close to being an album that could rival Enema of the State. Instead, we have an imperfect album that, admittedly, has more pros than cons, but is still imperfect. So, Blink fans, when you next hear that the band’s putting new music out, be scared, very scared — it could go either way.
Rating: 3.5 Q-Tips
Favorite Track: “On Some Emo S**t”