REVIEW: ‘NINE’: Their older stuff was better



Cover art of NINE by Blink-182

Blink-182 is back, and not just for the show they did Sept. 6 at Hartman Arena. This weekend, the band released their newest album “NINE,” and overall, it’s pretty meh.

The band, with their second album since the departure of guitarist and vocalist Tom DeLonge, took a heavier pop approach — doubling down on the worst parts of their last album, “California.”

Every song on the 15-track album comes off overproduced, especially in the vocal department.

If someone were to play “The First Time” without telling me it was Blink-182, I would have no idea it was them. It’s not until you hit the chorus that the song starts to have that same energetic and wild Blink-182 feel.

“Hungover You” is the most egregious overproduction offender on the album, sounding like a bad remix of a different band’s song. One redeeming factor is that the album retains some of that classic Blink-182 punk that we all know and love, but “Hungover You” has none.

Hiding behind the colorful album art and poppy guitar riffs is a much darker tone than listeners would suspect. Every song details some aspect of bassist and vocalist Matt Hoppus’s journey through depression. And it’s those lyrics that really make it a Blink-182 album.

“On Some Emo Shit” is reminiscent of “Violence” or “Here’s Your Letter,” with the same melancholy that makes you want to play it after a bad breakup. It’s probably one of the better songs on an album that can be summed up as blah.

Blink-182 tried to do something different this album. Taking their late 90s pop punk and reworking it for a 2019 audience made the album a lackluster pop alternative. They call this out in the song “Generational Divide,” asking the question, “Are we better now?” The answer is that you were better when you were 23.

It’s hard not to look at “NINE” without looking at all of Blink-182’s discography. But their previous hits that defined them make this album their weakest to date. Without DeLonge, Blink-182 is just a new rendition of +44.

It’s not horrible, but I prefer their older stuff.