Sunday, October 3, 2010

Why Blink-182 Were Bound To Break Up

Back in late '04 blink-182 disbanded. Calling it an "indefinite hiatus," the pop-punk trio went their separate ways to pursue other musical ventures. We all know Tom DeLonge's Angels & Airwaves, Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker's short stint as +44, Hoppus' producing work and Barker's hip-hop collaborations. They left many in shock as to how such a massive band could up and leave despite having a worldwide following.

The five year hiatus is still a mystery to most everyone, with only bits and pieces of information scattered between interviews, documentaries and YouTube videos. But what this article argues is that the hiatus was inevitable, and if we as fans simply listened (harder) to their music, the story would be clear to us.

What I'm talking about is blink's last record to date, their self-titled album that dropped about a year before what many thought was blink's final show. Let's look at that collection of 14 songs a little deeper to see exactly why blink was bound to break up after making that record.

Perhaps what makes this record so "grown up" or "dark" is that it never flowed like any other blink record. What listeners got were fragments of each member's musical interests. Though the record as a whole remains damn near amazing, there's an obvious divide which can be attributed to each member.

Hoppus' part:
During his post-blink career, Hoppus played in +44, the backlash and often darker side of his pop-punk roots. Songs like "When Your Heart Stops Beating" and "No It Isn't" sounded as if they easily could have fit in on blink's self-titled record.

It wouldn't be hard to substitute those songs in for perhaps "Stockholm Syndrome" or "Here's Your Letter" - both darker, edgier and stripped down to bare rock 'n' roll. It can be argued that Hoppus' influence on blink's last record to date was a calling for something more punk-rock.

After hearing +44, it's obvious that Hoppus' talents and interests, musically and lyrically, toward the end of blink were geared toward that edge and punk atmosphere that's touched upon on the self-titled record.

DeLonge's part:
What a whirlwind Mr. Tom DeLonge gave us after his days in blink. His loyal followers were promised music that would change their lives and the world. Instead what we got was this retro-80s, heavy synth'd, space epic with six-minute-long songs.

Most listeners were probably wondering where the hell any of this came from, when all they had to do was pop in blink's self-titled record for answers. The ending to that CD stands simply as a precursor to AVA's style.

Have a listen to "I'm Lost Without You." The 6-minute and 21-second track has all the classic AVA elements. There's its length, the dragged out choruses, piano parts, odd vocal arrangements and the digital delay pedal cranked to 11.

"Lost" is unlike anything blink had ever done to date, and it showed DeLonge's musical interests moving in a new direction away from blink. It's no coincidence he's the only vocalist on the entire track.

For more proof, listen to the beginning of "Asthenia" and compare it to the beginning of AVA's "Valkyrie Missile." Sound similar?

Barker's part:
Before joining +44, Barker spent most of his hiatus with The Transplants - his hip-hop infused band, alongside Rancid's Tim Armstrong and Skinhead Rob. The Transplants, along with Barker's other musical
interests were more than present on blink's self-titled album.

Take for instance "The Fallen Interlude." The only track without lyrics, letting the drummer speak with his beats rather than his words. And what ensues? A track as close to hip-hop as blink has ever gotten.

Add to that Tim Armstrong's cameo on "Obvious" and all you start to hear is the hip-hop element to the record, along with the direction Barker has been going since.


Each song on the self-titled album can take the listener in a number of directions. From what was talked about above, to the classic blink elements in "Feeling This" and other songs, and even to the album's fresh artwork, what fans got was one of the most complex and emotional records the trio may ever put out.

There was no way of knowing that a hiatus would occur simply from listening to the CD, but looking back (now six years later), everything can be a bit more clear if you buy into the aforementioned.

Maybe the guys were just gearing us up for what was to come. You know, getting us used to the music that would sustain us all through the long hiatus. Maybe it was all subconscious and unplanned. That's still as much a mystery as the breakup itself.

But one thing is for certain. Blink-182 are back together and promising us an album soon. Maybe this time we'll keep our ears open to the sounds, and hear just what it is we're listening to.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...