The Three Neighborhoods

November 20, 2011 by  

Thomas Delonge, Mark Hoppus, and Travis Barker come together to create a new sound and a new Blink.

Artwork by Mateo Rocha

On September 27th, 2011, punk rock band, Blink 182, released its long awaited album Neighborhoods after a hiatus of over four years, leaving fans, and me, overjoyed with the new material.

Ever since I was six years old I have been listening to Blink, so hearing and watching the group evolve into more mature musicians has been an experience. I believe that one must appreciate the change and growth of the musicians in order to properly understand their music.

The album title, Neighborhoods, comes from the idea that each individual band member contributes different traits to Blink; each musician comes from different backgrounds and different Neighborhoods, if you will.

This album encompasses all of what DeLonge, Hoppus, and Barker bring to the table as musicians. Hoppus’ bass backbones every song with a low and enduring tremolo sounds. This gives each transition and chord change a lot more depth rather than if he was only following simple chord progressions of the guitar melody.

DeLonge adds a lot of flare with his melodic singing and poppy guitar riffs. The tunes he plays leave a melody ringing in my ears long after the song is over, and have left me whistling the songs throughout my day.

To put the icing on it all, no other drumbeats can match the intricate and fluid beats of Barker. On this album, Barker presents all of his skills through fast paced fillers in between measures, and in his explosive, almost industrial sounding beats. I believe all drummers who have made names for themselves in the musical world have a distinct playing style that cannot be equaled, and Barker does just that.

There is much musical and philosophical depth to the music encompassed in Neighborhoods. Musically speaking, Blink manages to weave in harmony through the raw clashing of beats paired with minor key to major key synchronization.

For example, typical radio rock tends to have a set chord progression for song verses and choruses, only following three to five chords repetitively. Blink strays from generic compilations of chords. A perfect example of this can be seen in their song Snake Charmer, jumping from interludes based off of major chord progression into verses that hold only minor chords, all topped off with synthesized sounds that add a unique effect of depth to the song.

Well-developed lyricism can be heard accompanying the musical compilations in the songs. Lyrics such as “I’m like a cat in a cage, locked up and battered and bruised. I am the prodigal son, a shameful prodigy too,” from the second song titled Natives, expresses a state of torment full of emotion. These kinds of lyrics are heard throughout the entire album, which paint pictures of lies, deceit, love, contradictions, and, like in their song Up All Night, inner demons that “keep me up all night.”

Well-developed lyrics had not been seen in any of Blink’s songs up until their self-titled album in 2005. Prior to that, Blink’s lyrics were straightforward declamations of teen angst and rebellion. In Neighborhoods, Blink continued to evolve on lyrical ideas that entail real emotions and life philosophy.

When I first got the album I took the time to sit down and really listen to the entire collection of songs. What stood out to me the most after the first round of listening to it was the strong melodic composition of the songs, all wrapped up with a powerful punk rock punch of a sound. Upon listening to the album a second and third time, I began to take note of the individual components added to create the songs: the different sound that a song has when Hoppus sings versus one that Delonge sings, and the infinite interpretations of the illustrious lyrics used in the compositions. The album took me through a journey that made my mind think up, down, happy, regretful, nostalgic, hopeful, and overall pleased.

For more information on Blink-182 you can visit their website, or you can buy Neighborhoods today at your local CD store or on iTunes.

Star Rating: ✭✭✭✭✭