Blink 182 - California: Deluxe Edition (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Blink 182

California: Deluxe Edition (2017)


Blink 182 came back with a bang via California. They exorcised demons of old, rebuking the dark lord Tom DeLonge into the stray lights of the night sky, and set forth with Matt Skiba on a new musical direction. Of course, they kept a lot of the old elements but you could tell that punk rock was no longer their primary concern. The deluxe edition here simply reiterates that with about 10 new songs on display, the band isn't afraid to keep wandering. And here they do so down a path you'd never have expected them to in the days of Chesire Cat and even, Enema of the State.

There are a lot of anthemic jams a la Fall Out Boy on this -- Disc 2 -- which contains the bonus songs. We all know Disc 1 rocked so dealing with the new tracks, namely "Parking Lot", "Good Old Days" and "Bottom of the Ocean", it must be noted how much of this terrain feels like Patrick Stump's navigating the journey. Catchy and very addictive to say the least. Through these rough cuts, we get Travis Barker cutting loose even more on the kit and Skiba actually freeing up with more riffs a la Alkaline Trio. "Last Train Home" feels like he melds his two bands together, repeated by the shimmery nature of "Hey I'm Sorry". 

There's something for fans of Angels and Airwaves also as Mark Hoppus streamlines in experimental synth and electronica beats, which come out more at the end. Sadly, this is where the record tapers off a bit. His voice is a flaw that adds to this mini-snooze as it sounds way too overproduced in the back-end. That said, with aggressive tracks like "Misery" on tap, and musicianship that's so tight, you can ignore when Hoppus slips up. In fact, you've got Skiba there to compensate as well. They close off with a neat acoustic rendition of "Bored to Death" as if to cheekily remind you they're anything but dull these days.