After Blink-182’s announcement at the Grammys in 2009, the world of punk music has been eagerly awaiting the triumphant return of the hyper punk-rock band. Many die-hard fans will be happy enough at the lone fact that the band is back together making music, but even after all those years of preparation, Neighborhoods feels at times a little too lethargic.
Fans were given a taste of the album earlier this year with the release of the single “Up All Night,” which got everyone pumped up. Chord progressions that sounded like “Stockholm Syndrome” and drumming that sounded like “Always.” What Blink fan wouldn’t want to hear an entire album of that?
Unfortunately they don’t maintain the same classic Blink enthusiasm throughout the album. While Travis Barker never slows down on drums, the rest of the elements generally feel lacking. Some songs deliver solidly; “Ghost on the Dance Floor” and “Love is Dangerous” really manage to create even-paced and fun songs with catchy melodies and good vocals.
Where the album really falters is when Blink tries to live up to the obnoxious and edgy reputation they have. The amount of unnecessary swearing is just inexcusable, and I’m usually someone who has no problem with explicit songs. The issue here is that it feels tacked on, like they sat down with the lyrics and said, “We didn’t curse enough here. Let’s put a few in the chorus and throw in a few through the verses.”
While Blink-182 hasn’t departed from the sound their fans will love in ways that bands like Linkin Park have, it feels like they’re going through the motions. Maybe it’s because they’ve grown up and their lives have slowed down a bit, but the problem with that is that there’s no sense of maturity musically, an issue caused mostly by the unnecessary cursing combined with sub-par vocals that still sound undeveloped.
Neighborhoods is going to make every Blink fan very happy, there’s no doubt about that. However, this album doesn’t have the longevity of some of their older hits, and anyone who isn’t a diehard fan may not find be too interested.
It does feel like a victory lap; the band knows they already have a huge following, why put too much effort in at this point? I’d be fine with that mentality if they went about victory laps like Shaun White does, focusing on going out with a bang rather than coasting to an easy victory. The problem is that they didn’t.