For those curious as to why I’m throwing down some thoughts on a high-profile album like BLINK-182’s NEIGHBORHOODS a week after it’s release – the promo-train passed me by on this one (label didn’t send), and I don’t chase leaks. That said, the Deluxe Edition of NEIGHBORHOODS is a pretty damn good record.
Despite an eight-year break between album releases, the members of BLINK-182 have been constantly busy, and while you’d think that time would have a major impact on the sound of the album – in reality, BLINK was only apart for a few years. What has shaped the sound of NEIGHBORHOODS is not necessarily time, but the influence of everything that Mark Hoppus, Tom DeLonge, and Travis Barker have ever been involved with.
The opening moments of Ghost on the Dance Floor feel like an ANGELS AND AIRWAVES record – atmospheric elements surrounding a track led by DeLonge’s vocals – until we hear Hoppus join in on the first chorus. By the time that Barker leads the band into a classic breakdown near the 3:17 mark, we’re in BLINK-182 territory. Up All Night was likely chosen as the first single only because it’s the most like-the-old-but-with-the-new, but it’s not necessarily the strongest song on the 14-track set. Honestly, that title will be solely up to the listener. There’s the DUDE RANCH throwback of Hearts All Gone (accented on this Deluxe Edition with an additional introductory interlude), expansive cuts like This Is Home with it’s CURE-like synth lead, or songs like Love Is Dangerous that find the perfect balance between every era.
Bottom Line: The BLINK-182 of 2011 are not be the same pop-punkers that you remember. They’ve been battle-scarred, road-worn, and resurrected through a series of professional challenges and personal tragedies. The creative diversions between AVA, BOX CAR RACER, +44, THE TRANSPLANTS, and more are what make BLINK a stronger band now more than ever before.
Rating: 4/5 Stars