Blink-182 - One More Time (Cover Artwork)


One More Time (2023)

Viking Wizard Eyes

Southern California's Blink 182 have stapled a strong return to expectation aside their long, complicated legacy with One More Time.

The LP tears open with "Anthem Part 3," leaking familiarity from the naming convention, the break-neck double-time musical style, and even some classic sneering vocal delivery from founding member Tom Delonge. Delonge and bassist Mark Hoppus' voices blending as naturally as anyone can remember, and a gigantic outro/bridge that is easily one of the top three moments of the record. "Dance With Me" speeds in next, but not without a "blooper" reel masturbation joke from the 47 year old guitar player, which is where the songwriters first struggle with navigating the teetering line between "familiar" and "pander."

Not to discount the welcoming pop songs, ("Dance With Me" included,) Hoppus and Delonge trade familiar vocal melodies within the heart-stringed love numbers, "Bad News," "When We Were Young," "Blink Wave" (where a Blink song becomes a new wave song with the addition of a synth? Shrug...) and by far the best of the classic sap with "Fell In Love." The latter is a total home run, complete with odes to the Cure, the usual "na-na-na" vocals from Hoppus, and a perfect song length of just over two minutes. The song also suffers a blemish of pander in verse two, in the form of more unnecessary sexual talk from middle aged Delonge. These moments on the record are mostly harmless, but "punk-AF" songs like "Turn This Off!" and "Fuck Face," both under thirty seconds each of course, are way too obvious. "Turpentine" takes off like a sequel to 2001's "Reckless Abandon," but is quickly squandered with Delonge attempting to scream like a twenty-year-old, and lyrics about sticking genitalia in powder-based chocolate beverages. Yeah, I don't know.

While the pandering is unavoidably scattered throughout the record, the true, and surprisingly magic moments do succeed to stand victorious. "Terrified" is a spectacular song, from riff to (beautiful) bridge and back, and could have fit anywhere in the band's self-titled repertoire, or the notorious side projects that followed. "More Than You Know" and the album title track "One More Time" are two of the most no-nonsense and honest songs in the band's catalogue. Perhaps growing old on paper along with their fan base, and bleeding their own personal egos, losses, fears, near-death experiences, and regrets into their writing is what the trio has been missing for so long. After all, a long-term listener has been alive long enough to identify much more with this subject matter than another dick joke.

It goes without saying that Travis Barker is a phenomenal drummer, but One More Time is packed to the brim with excellent choices on his end, which is something he has had a problem with in the last decade. From the unrestrained playing on the Skiba albums, to his writing with Goldfinger, Cokie the Clown, and others, he was finally able to dial-back his showboating and bottomless drum fills significantly. When it was in good taste, however, he crafted some of his most unique and clever rhythms and fills to date. Perhaps most surprising was a commanding double-kick stomp on "More Than You Know," which could be its very own addition to the song's lyrical content; a metaphor of the unseen lengths Barker would go for his two bandmates, as the veteran single-kick player's first session with a double-bass is so much more of a big deal than most outside of the drummer world would ever comprehend.

One More Time is a fun listen, an emotional reunion of brothers with a strange history of falling-out, and a huge shot of nostalgia for any die-hard Blink 182 fan. As for the love them or hate them(s,) or loved them or hate them(s,) the release at its very least, secures the collaboration of a band's most sonically and commercially successful lineup, and a large pile of songs that take nods from all over their thirty year discography. Check it out.