A ton of recent music could go under the banner of “music derived from blink-182.” That’s not even a slam. Ever since breaking out onto the scene in the late ‘90s, the trademarks of blink have been so ingrained into modern pop punk that it’s hard to avoid them. Even so, the blink of today is very different from the band we met back in the day. The band’s discography has gone through many twists and turns over the years. So here’s a ranking of the band’s best albums.
There are probably a few people wondering why an album with a certain nurse on its cover isn’t the top spot here. While we get to that shortly, this is where blink really found that perfect melding of pop punk. When acts such as New Found Glory and Yellowcard were also coming up, this was the perfect balance between adolescent angst and some genuinely great songwriting. For people looking for something laid back, you have tracks such as “The Rock Show” and “First Date.” On the flip side, you also have more somber cuts such as “Give Me One Good Reason” and “Stay Together For The Kids.” Bonus points for special-edition tracks such as “Time To Break Up” and wanting to do… something to a dog.
If you think of the building blocks of great pop-punk music, Enema Of The State really is the complete package. Combining humor and serious teenage attitude, the lyrics on here captured the mindset that every slacker kid felt going into the ‘00s. Aside from the perfect nursery rhyme melodies from Tom DeLonge and Mark Hoppus, the inclusion of Travis Barker was the biggest shot in the arm they could have asked for, with the tracks going from fun to downright chaotic. While the tone can change between something like “What’s My Age Again?” and “Adam’s Song,” this deserves a spot right next to Green Day’s Dookie as one of the building blocks of pop punk.
It’s well documented that a difficult process led to blink’s Untitled album. While it was hard to get everyone on the same page in the studio, this is one of the most adventurous albums they’ve ever made. At times, the record almost leaves pop punk behind altogether, bringing the sounds of alternative rock and new wave into the mix. Though rough around the edges, blink got dark, and these melodies remain the voice inside our hayeads.
4. Dude Ranch
On the best blink albums, they were always perceived as more than a little bit snotty. If you want the full slacker punk experience though, this is where you should start. While Barker might not be behind the drum kit yet, this is where the classic sound of blink started to come together, with “Dammit” being a key part of the setlist to this day. For those who were more into the adolescent sounds of blink, this is where you should go immediately after getting Enema under your belt.
The reunion of blink’s classic lineup showcases the changes the band made along the way. At times, you can feel the legacy of DeLonge’s work with Angels & Airwaves. That’s not a bad thing by any respect, though, taking the old-school punk bangers of their early days and bringing in more atmosphere on songs such as “Ghost On The Dance Floor” and “Snake Charmer.” While it’s anyone’s guess whether DeLonge will rejoin the band down the line, this is a good look into that alternate universe where things stayed the same.
Ever since DeLonge’s departure, fans have been pretty divided on how to handle blink’s Matt Skiba era. When you let this record sit with you, though, this is the closest that blink have come to recapturing that sunshine-y sound they were so good at back in the day. Skiba kills it on songs such as “Teenage Satellites” and “No Future.” If you had taken the tracks from the deluxe edition of this record and shuffled them together, we may be looking at one of blink’s strongest albums ever.
Ah yes, when blink 182 were still just a baby band. Before Dude Ranch started to bring the thunder, Cheshire Cat managed to hold up as a solid collection of SoCal punk jams. The band kick off the record right with “Carousel” and brings out their humor on songs such as “Touchdown Boy” and “Does My Breath Smell?.” And if Hoppus counts the band’s demo Buddha as part of the proper discog, it deserves a spot on here too, if only for songs such as “Reebok Commercial” giving us a different look about what made them tick. Compared to the band we know now, these were the kind of teenage punks that you went to school with who happened to have a kickass band on the side.
If Neighborhoods was already a risk, how the hell did blink manage to release another EP with this kind of sound? While DeLonge is definitely still in an atmospheric mode for most of these songs, these tracks are a good look at blink taking the sound of Neighborhoods into different places, such as collaborating with Yelawolf on “Pretty Little Girl” and hearing DeLonge and Hoppus go back and forth on “When I Was Young.” This may look like B-sides from the Neighborhoods sessions, but don’t sleep on these tracks if you’re looking for something a little more trippy from blink.
OK, so maybe it’s cheating to put a live record on here, but this is a key part of the band’s discography. Even though you’ve probably heard a majority of these songs performed better on other albums, this is a good glimpse of what blink were like as a live band in their prime, always yucking it up in between songs and bringing in some joke tracks such as “The Country Song” and “Family Reunion,” which remain both catchy and filthy at the exact same time. Also, if you’re thinking about going on a blink binge and not including a song like “Man Overboard,” it’s time for a hard look in the mirror.
If you thought the fanbase was divided on California, things got kicked into overdrive when NINE came out. Because this was more pop-centric than before, people didn’t know what to think. blink were never that far away from pop, though, and radio-friendly songs such as “Happy Days” fit them well. The punk side of their sound hasn’t gone anywhere, though – it’s just more subtle than last time on songs such as “Ransom” and the bolt of energy “Generational Divide.” It might not have as many highlights as before, but blink’s most divided effort is still better than other pop-punks acts could be at their finest hour.