Blink-182 - Greatest Hits
Bill Cummings 00/00/0000
If Green Day are the bastard offspring of 1970s English punk, then Blink 182 were its bratty, petulant grandsons. Emerging from their dad's garage in the early nineties, the American three-piece Blink-182 produced a brand of furiously riffing, melodic, college pop punk, a formula that didn't shift a whole lot throughout their career. This compilation gives us a potted history of the band's history from their early awkward teen punk years: “Carousel”'s identikit 2x4 rhythms, and the outo-of-tune heartbreak of 'M&Ms” (a song that probably inspired Busted's entire career). There were sparks of something back then though: “Dammit” for instance has a pleasing break down, however the clichéd lyrics constantly undermine any kind of musical clarity that Blink ever summon up, in those early years. For instance “Josie” with its call-and-response retorting above a barrage of bar chords and drum rolls are laughably trite. (“I see her pretty face/It takes me away to a better place/I know that everything's gonna be fine”) However there are a few rays of light here, the neat punk pop of “What's My Age Again” is insanely catchy, whilst “All The Small Things” (yes, the one with the Backstreet boys parodying video) is brilliantly melodic, its “nah nah nah nah” melodies and serrated chugging guitars are balanced perfectly by its self deprecating lyrics (“She left me roses by the chair /Surprise's let me know she cares”). It's probably Blink-182's finest moment.
Elsewhere there's another worrying two-pronged problem with Blink's back catalogue, the material here seems to range from immature whiney skater boi punk rock to their attempts to drag their sound into more “mature areas.” For instance “Stay Together For The Kids” sounds like a forerunner for the emo pop that would later infest the charts, it's all there: the classic hardcore shifts in guitar sounds, and vocals: with their faux American emotional sincerity that now so characterises the emptiness of the genre. Even Robert Smith's influence couldn't revive Blink's last years: “I Miss You” is initially pleasing enough but it fails to really gravitate beyond its Cure-lite pianos and vocals.
Blink 182 will probably be forever a pimple on the arse of the music scene, always the bratty teen wannabe punks with that “video”, the band that never quite consistently crossed over to a mainstream audience in the way Green Day or The Offspring did. That the label felt the need to “document” the bands split with such a flimsy collection of their “greatest” nineteen songs, is probably more to do with cashing in, than celebrating the end of a bands career. Let me quote the Blink opus “Adam's Song”, “I'm too depressed I can't go on you'll be sorry when I'm gone”. We're not sorry.