Whenever a band gives their latest album the “deluxe edition” treatment, it’s mostly filled with throwaway cuts; the sort of stuff only die-hard fans would spend their hard earned money on. However, Blink-182 look to be the exception to that rule with their double sized release of ‘California’.
Originally released less than a year ago, the influential pop-punk group decided to record an album’s worth of new material. However, with the standard edition outstaying its welcome with 16 songs, you have to question if an additional 11 songs (and one live acoustic track) is worth it?
At times, the new material is a continuation of ‘California’. The “na na na”’s and “woah”’s occasionally appear. Yet the tone on these news songs is rawer and darker. ‘Parking Lot’is wrapped in an punk rock onslaught with Matt Skiba getting all nostalgic about growing up in his native Chicago. While ‘6/8’ carries itself with towering intensity.
Much like the original album, new cuts ‘Don’t Mean Anything’, ‘Good Old Days’ and ‘Hey I’m Sorry’ have a tendency to grow on you over time yet. They’re not perfect but they’re pleasing enough.
In terms of stand out tracks, ‘Misery’ offers one of the strongest, addictive choruses across the whole of ‘California’. The blend of Skiba’s and Mark Hoppus’ vocals is the best they’ve sounded to so far. While ‘Wildlife’ notably blends the frantic pop-punk that Blink are known for; that bass line wouldn’t sound out of place on ‘Enema of the State’, and drags it into 2017 with satisfactory results.
‘Long Lost Feeling’ is a low point as it wallows with little emotion. ‘Bottom of the Ocean’ boils with deep synths with Travis Barker’s triggering drum work battling against Hoppus and Skiba’s vocals. It’s an intriguing inclusion as it expands Blink’s sound from maturing pop-punk before ‘Can’t Get You More Pregnant’ offers one final burst of punk rock energy.
Although not perfect, this a worthy accompanying collection showing Blink-182 are hungry to evolve and aren’t willing to become another nostalgia act.
‘California (Deluxe Edition)’ by blink-182 is out now on BMG.
Words by Sêan Reid (@SeanReid86)