Yup, They’re Still Singing about Naked Dudes: A Review of Blink 182’s 'California'

Yup, They’re Still Singing about Naked Dudes: A Review of Blink 182’s 'California'

Almost a year after the release of "California," it's worth taking another look at Blink's 7th album.
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Pop Punk kids everywhere can rejoice, Blink is back.

While Tom DeLonge is off chasing UFOs, Blink-182’s remaining members are solidly rooted in California — and thriving there. The band’s 7th studio album "California," the first album with new singer Matt Skiba of Alkaline Trio, brings together all the nostalgic, classic Blink bullshit with a newly-founded and fresh maturity in their homage to the state.

Next year the band will be turning 23 - and we all know what that means. But if this album is any indication of their future, we’ll probably still love them.

While DeLonge’s prankster-dweeb addition to the band might be missed by some, "California" is the band’s most successful album since 2003’s "Take Off Your Pants and Jacket" and 1999’s "Enema of the State." In no small feat, Blink is recapturing the gold standard sound that has become embedded in the cultural consciousness of 90s kids.

Unable to wait for a summer at the Warped Tour, "California" manages to capture a summery coming-of-age thread throughout, which reads uncannily genuine and effective for the now 40-somethings. As the first single “Bored to Death” exclaims, “it’s a long way back from 17” but if you listen carefully, they never truly left. Next to iconic garage punk energy, you’ll also hear a recycled guitar intro from “Adam’s Song” and a “Stay Together for the Kids” chorus — but hold the tissues, they’ve managed to turn the heartbreaking melodic tunes into an upbeat anthem.

The album’s opening “Cynical” is an admission of nerves (there’s a cynical feeling saying I should give up/you’ve said everything you’ll ever say), a keen bit of reverse psychology as they rev up the edgy sighs to the thrashing power that never entirely leaves the album; although "California" is far from one note. It quite comfortably sprawls out from wound-licking ballads like “Home Is Such a Lonely Place,” an honest look into the emotional turmoil leaving family to go on tour takes on the band, to shiny new-energy tunes, most successfully “No Future” and “Rabbit Hole.”

As for the songs referencing the album’s title "California": they’re not misses, but they’re not necessarily the biggest hits on the album either.

An ode to “San Diego” their hometown, rings fatalist as a swift chanty about an idyllic, surely impossible return- although who doesn’t dream of crashing Cure concerts? “Los Angeles” is moody, goth-tinged alt-rock. It’s catchy as all hell and a truly great song even if it is slightly forgettable outside of Travis Barker’s break-through, bar-none drum solos. The album’s namesake “California” is a shockingly calm and cliché picturesque encapsulation of the sunny, surfer state itself with some lyrically dark twists that require a bit of work from the listener “Hey here’s to you California/Beautiful haze of suburbia/living in the perfect weather/spending time inside together/hey here’s to you California.”

But just because they’ve infused a selective maturity and gone in slightly different directions with certain songs does not by any means mean that they’re done with the days they ran naked through So Cal streets and called it art. “She’s Out Of Her Mind”, the third single from the album, is a female “What’s My Age Again” with a partnering all-female music video remake of the iconic nude shoot. The steady and rather simplistic drum beat give way for the lyrics “I’m in deep with this girl but she’s out of her mind/she said babe I’m sorry but I’m crazy tonight” to shine. The song is an anthem of girls at the rock show and promises to stay stuck in your head for days on end.

The gleeful heyday of purely, intriguingly stupid pop humor is wrapped up in “Built this Pool”- a 16 second song dropped in the middle of the album whose only lyrics are “Woo woo/I wanna see some naked dudes/That’s why I built this pooo-ooo-oool/Wait, is that really it?” The song is addictive and never fails to be funny, even after dedicating literal minutes of wasted time listening to it. It’s a hidden gem among an otherwise well-developed album.

And if you thought they’d end on any note less than the porn-addled “Brohemian Rhapsody” well, welcome to Blink-182… you’re in for a shock. The final track of the album isn’t a reference to the classic Queen song but a 30-second build-up of hectic instrumentals and one singular sharp lyric I’ll let you find for yourself.

Despite the antics, you’d be hard-pressed to find more talent elsewhere. Hoppus has stepped up, taking lead on vocals in a majority of the songs seamlessly while balancing his bass lines with precise whimsy and Barker unarguably remains one of the best drummers in the music industry. The new addition of Skiba cops some lead vocal duties off Hoppus, complementing him brilliantly without attempting to copy the irreverence of DeLonge. All in all, this band knows how to make damn good music.

After more than two decades, Blink 182 still has a deeply rooted connection to the kids they once were and those they’ve always made music for. The album stands as a full reverence for where they’ve been and where they’re going, letting long-time listeners return to the emotional home found uniquely in Blink music.

To pull from their “Kings of the Weekend”: thank god for punk rock bands.

Cover Image Credit: D*Face and BMG label

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6 Places in New York City Every "Friends" Fan Needs To Visit

Grab a cup of coffee at Central Park.
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As a "Friends" fanatic myself, I often wonder about the places in New York City featured in the various episodes and whether I could actually visit them. Most of them are fictional or no longer exist, but there are a few places you can go to reminisce about your favorite "Friends" moments. So, here are six places in New York City you definitely need to visit as a "Friends" fan.

1. The Apartment Building, Obviously

The building used for the exterior shot of the apartments in "Friends" is real and is located at 90 Bedford Street at the corner of Grove Street in Greenwich Village. It's an obvious must-see.

2. The Pulitzer Fountain

This is the fountain that the friends danced around in for the iconic theme song, and it's located right in Central Park.

3. Bloomingdale's

This is the department where Rachel worked before she moved on to Ralph Lauren, where she met Joshua, and where she started her career in fashion.

4. The Plaza Hotel

This is where Monica and Chandler celebrated their engagement in "The One WIth Monica's Thunder," and is actually really gorgeous.

5. The Central Perk Replica

While Central Perk isn't a real coffee shop, a pop-up replica opened up in 2014 on Lafayette Street and it's definitely a must-visit.

6. Chandler's Office

The fictional Chandler works in the real Solow Building, located on West 57th street.

Cover Image Credit: Fame Focus

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5 Ways to Turn a Bad Day into a Good One

When you're down, these things will pick you up.

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Let's face it, we all have bad days. Sometimes you lose a cherished item, you get a speeding ticket, or you're not feeling the best. These circumstances occur often, but no one wants to let a bad day ruin their week. Here are five no-fail ways to cheer you up when you're feeling blue.

Throwing a Solo Dance Party 

This is my personal favorite way to cheer myself up. When someone had upset me or I'm not having a good day, I put on some rap music and jump around my room until I'm sweaty and happy. Make a playlist of all the mainstream songs you enjoy and listen to them on whenever you're feeling down. The best part of this dance party is that you can do it by yourself so no one will make fun of your dance moves

Watching Vines

Most people like watch cute cat or dogs videos when they are feeling down, but I like to watch vines. Nothing makes one happier than when they are feeling nostalgic. Vine was a star plucked too quickly from our orbit. Watching these six-minutes videos never fail to put a big smile on my face.

Listening to Audiobooks

Audiobooks are a great source of entertainment. When someone has made me angry, I can always count on my audiobook to envelop me in its intricate plot and character's adventures. It's impossible to be upset when you are completely invested in the life of another. if you're hesitant to try this one, I would still encourage you to listen to an audiobook. This type of reading is an experience you don't want to miss.

Watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine 

Normally, one would say watching Netflix or Hulu cheers them up, but I wanted to go a step beyond that. Brooklyn Nine-Nine is one of my favorite tv shows. The characters are funny and really unique. This show also encompasses a looot of diversity, which is really important in this day and age. There is no bad day that Jake Peralta's antics cannot cure and that I'm sure.

FaceTiming a Friend

My last tip is guaranteed to keep a smile on your face for the rest of the day. There's something about talking to a friend over FaceTime when you're not happy that makes you feel so good. The inane conversations you while on FaceTime can never happen the way they do anywhere else. Friends are great, especially when you are feeling down.

It's okay to have bad days, but it's important not to let those days over power you. With these five ways to get over a bad day, you'll find it rare that you ever have one again!

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