Blink-182 - NINE (Cover Artwork)


NINE (2019)


Blink-182 released Nine on September 20th, offering another blend of polished pop punk, and further defining the trio's sophomore sound following the departure of founding member Tom DeLonge and the addition of Alkaline Trio's Matt Skiba.

Nine, touting as the ninth official full length release from the band, breaks open with "The First Time," packed with dual vocals and flanged drum tracks reminiscent of "Feeling This" from 2003's self-titled album Blink-182. The energy and upbeat melodies continue on to the previously released single "Happy Days" before landing on the somber anthem "Heaven."

What becomes glaringly obvious from "Heaven," on to "Darkside," and throughout the fifteen song collection, is a significant increase in leadership from Skiba as compared to 2016's California. Where he and Mark Hoppus' voices seemed disguised and often bled together in the predecessor, Nine proudly showcases Matt's unique vocal nuances and dark lyrics.

Previously previewed "Blame It On My Youth" and "Generational Divide" are infinitely different, with the first reserving space for an obvious sing-along single, followed by fast double-time, aggressive vocals, and an arsenal of intense drum fills from drummer Travis Barker. The album then shifts into a very great pocket of songs, to the massive chorus hoisting "Run Away," and a Matt Skiba classic in "Black Rain." The radio-inviting "I Really Wish I Hated You" squeezes nicely against "Pin the Grenade," which stands out as Hoppus' highest level of songwriting on the LP.

"No Heart To Speak Of" blends Skiba's howling melodies with Barker's signature percussion style and piano interludes, while the hook carrying "Ransom" almost fits the category of hip-hop before it is stuffed into a pitted skate-punk short. The flimsiness of "On Some Emo Shit" unspokenly signals the near-end of the album, as the silly title poignantly accompanies a handful of Blink's songwriting go-to's, which isn't a negative thing when you've been steering the same punk band for 27 years.

Nine finishes out with more negative chord progressions in "Hungover," while catchy, the song is both predictable and overly serious. "Remember To Forget Me" stands out, as the closer is filled with acoustic guitar and piano. The ballad ultimately opens up to heavy guitars, coming to a close with some of Barker's most unique drum show-boating to date.
Say what you will about Blink-182, but two albums into the band's (final?) iteration prove that they don't plan on going anywhere, and with, now, three generations of Blink fans gearing up for their tour dates, who can blame them?