Clearly, this is not a band with maturity in mind. Well, not quite. Blink-182, which plays Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion on Sunday night, has certainly cranked out its share of tunes pulled from the dick-and-fart joke book. However, sprinkled throughout that juvenile output is a band that was more than capable of going serious.
Coming off “What’s My Age Again?” and “All the Small Things,” Blink-182 had established itself as a mainstream force, one that relied on juvenile humor in catering to its audience of high-school students. “Adam’s Song” turned that notion on its head. There’s no subtlety in this tale of teenage suicide, as evidenced by lyrics like “I’m too depressed to go on/ You’ll be sorry when I’m gone.” This was Blink-182 announcing to the world that it was a band to (occasionally) be taken seriously. Not only is “Adam’s Song” among its most poignant tracks; it’s among the band’s best.
Former co-front man Tom DeLonge (he’s since been replaced by Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba) has a high-pitched, nasally voice, which can make it hard to take his lyrics seriously. “Always” is an exception to that rule. It’s a pretty straightforward breakup song, but perhaps that’s what’s so good about it. Blink-182 always thrived on simplicity; this track is a textbook case.
Don’t let the title fool you; this is among Blink’s more mature tracks. Hell, the song itself is about love and loss, of growing up. “I know that you’re leaving/you must have your reasons” — who can’t relate to that? Extra props for being the first real taste mainstream audiences got of the band; “Dammit” peaked at No. 11 on the Billboard Alternative Rock chart.
Take what was just said about “Dammit” and song titles; same rules apply here. Sure, “Dick Lips” is a silly title for a song; the topic covered in said song is quite serious — abuse. Just the way DeLonge’s vocals play off the backing music, coupled with the subject matter, this is arguably Blink’s saddest song.
Blink finally matured in 2003 with the release of its self-titled album – easily the band’s best release to date. In addition to serious singles such as “Always” and “I Miss You,” the album also featured “Down” — one of many Blink breakup songs. This one, however, feels a bit different from most others, in that Blink had finally learned to properly channel its softer side. Plus, the video features the great Terry Crews, so bonus points for that.
Nothing subtle about this one, yet another serious track from 2003’s self-titled album. “Go” is incredibly straightforward in its representation of an abusive household. “I heard the angry voice of the man inside/and saw the look of fear in my mother’s eyes” pretty much sums it all up, as co-front man Mark Hoppus wonders aloud, “Why do evil men get away with it?” That’s a damn good question.