Revisiting the trio makes our rock writer feel like a fan again, in Bigger Than the Sound.
I'll be the first to admit that I am irrationally excited about the possibilities of a Blink-182 reunion. There are many reasons for this, almost all of which fly directly in the face of why I became a rock writer in the first place. So, naturally, in addition to being irrationally excited by the prospects of a reunited Blink, I am also irrationally terrified by them. This is a complicated matter. These kinds of things usually are.
See, I grew up a Blink fan. I had Cheshire Cat before they added the "-182" to the cover. I used to blare "Wasting Time" in my 1988 Caprice Classic and put it on a mixtape for my high school girlfriend. When Dude Ranch came out in '97, I had split up with said girlfriend under less-than-ideal circumstances and enrolled at a sh--ty community college, so I was really into "Dammit," as this was clearly the nadir of my life.
By the time Enema of the State came out, I had moved on to a new girl and a new college, and I wasn't as into Blink anymore (I was into more important stuff, like the Party of Helicopters), but I still appreciated the singles and the videos. The same thing repeated itself — to a lesser degree — with each subsequent release. I distanced myself from them, because Blink-182 were a stupid pop-punk act. I was an indie-rock guy. I was a budding rock critic, which means I was growing old and jaded. Clearly there was no room in my life for the blissed-out stupidity of something like "First Date" (though the video was amazing.)
As the years went by, I forgot about Blink. I built up my hatreds, little by little (just like Daniel Plainview!). I bought Velvet Underground records. I became cynical and mean and started smoking clove cigarettes and using expressions like "seminal" and "post-rock." I became a rock journalist. And I forgot what it was like to be a fan.
Over the past few years, as I got older and more established (snicker), those negative qualities only grew. Partially because, as a rock journalist, I felt it was my duty to point out why I thought Britney Spears was made of adamantium or why Soulja Boy Tell'em was the greatest performance artist of our generation. I believed that everything had to mean something ... or else it was meaningless. Garbage. Not art.
When I reported that Blink were going on "indefinite hiatus" in 2005, I did so as a journalist, not a fan. When I began e-mailing with Tom DeLonge and Mark Hoppus, I treated them as sources, not as the creators of some of the most important songs of my really dumb years. This is sort of a shame, in retrospect.
Because when Blink announced they were reuniting, with plans for a new album and a tour, something snapped inside me. I was overcome with a wave of positivity, of unbridled excitement. It was sort of frightening, to be honest. After thinking about it for a few days, I came to the realization that there is absolutely nothing negative I can say about a reunited Blink-182. And coming from a guy who trades almost exclusively in the negative, that means something.
I've relistened to all my old Blink records. The early stuff is still great, and I've found a new appreciation for Enema and Take Off Your Pants and Jacket. Their self-(un?)-titled fifth album — the much-discussed "mature" one — is really great. Even the +44 album was better this time around; it sort of sounds like their fifth album, only without DeLonge's singing, which is to say that it's pretty great in its own right. I even made it through both Angels & Airwaves records, and while I found ... actually, screw it, they're OK with me too.
It's a new era: one of positivity, one of unbridled fandom. Perhaps the reunited Blink will serve as a beacon of light, cutting through the dark fog of negativity that envelops me and pretty much this entire industry. Or maybe they'll just call their new album Boner Jams. Either way, it's fine with me.
Because the Blink reunion is a good thing. It will be liberating. It will remind me of what it's like to be a fan again, of why I got into the business of writing about music in the first place. It will give me something to talk to my 16-year-old nephew about. Perhaps I will no longer be a curmudgeonly rock journo. I will ditch "seminal" from my vocabulary ("chops" and "twee" too). I will be positive. I will be excited.
Who knows? Clearly, though, the stakes are high. So Mr. Hoppus, Mr. DeLonge, Mr. Barker, I urge you to tread lightly. Let's be careful ... let's remember that you're playing with my emotions. Let's make this last forever (and ever).