They’ve been rocking out together for over half their lives now, but if blink-182 are showing any wear and tear, it’s definitely not to be found on ‘One More Time…’
Stream: ‘One More Time’ – blink-182
What are these guys’ age again, anyways?
There surely can only be so many 47-year-old men out there who are still uttering lines on the order of “When I teach masturbation, I’m always just like, ‘Have fun with it!’” and “Do you remember the time when we first met?… I said hello, then I got drunk.“
But hey, this is a band whose breakthrough single in the ’90s was originally entitled “Peter Pan Complex,” since it was centered on the thrills on staying socially immature well into adulthood. Blink-182 were content to display that persona in their early 20s, and clearly in their late 40s have yet to fly out of Neverland. Scold them if you will, but there’s still heaps of fun and enjoyment to be derived from a band whose members never grew too old in spirit, but sure have developed their mastery of guitars and drums as the years have gone on.
At least, that is the impression you’d get from roughly half of One More Time…, the San Diego-based band’s ninth album in total, which offers plenty of the youthful punk-rock energy they’ve consistently displayed since their founding thirty-some years ago.
“Olé, olé, olé, olé! Yeah! We’re doing it all night long!” they chant together on “Dance With Me,” with as much beer-flinging giddiness as they displayed half their lives ago on their Enema on the State heyday. “Me, you, won’t you just fall in love like me? Or am I just too naïve?” Given those pleas, it sounds like it may well be time for the ladies to “turn the lights off, carry me home” all over again.
That same boundless spirit is channeled time and again on One More Time…, as these nearly-50-year-olds pretend to be half their age and reminisce on “summer nights, makin’ out in my car” and the like. All the while, Travis Barker’s relentless drumming and the electrifying guitar work of Tom DeLonge and Mark Hoppus keep the momentum going proud and strong throughout. Add a few nah-nah-nah-nah’s for old time’s sake, and you’ve got a record with plenty of nostalgic appeal that still fits in well with the rock landscape of the 2020’s.
Yet surprisingly enough, amidst all of the raucousness, Blink-182 actually do make room for some genuine thematic maturity. The title track, for instance, offers some sincere introspection on the band’s history, which has been marked not only by the cracks and ruptures that many rock groups experience, but also two major near-brushes with death— Barker’s close-to-fatal plain crash in 2008 and Hoppus’ prolonged struggles with cancer in recent years.
Over a stripped-back acoustic melody that feels miles in tone away from anything we’ve heard on the record so far, the band recognizes that they’ve faced some unconscionable struggles but have ultimately found the momentum to stay true to their craft. “It still hurts even after all these years,” DeLonge recognizes the painful memories they’ve shared, “and I know that next time ain’t always gonna happen. I gotta stay ‘I love you’ while we’re here.”
On the similarly-themed “You Don’t Know What You’ve Got,” Blink-182 continue to acknowledge the importance of savoring the finer parts of life while you still can. That much hit Hoppus in the chest as he spent “long weeks of impending doom stuck in life’s waiting room, always so close to goodbye” throughout his cancer infliction. As much pain as the illness cause him, it wound up inspiring him to stay true to the band and music that he loved.
Other dolorous experiences chronicled throughout One More Time… include DeLonge’s 2019 divorce (“Bad News”) and the 2022 passing of Hoppus’ longtime bass tech, Robert “Noise” Ortiz (“Other Side”). “The truth is out, so there’s no pretending. I guess there’s no such thing as a happy ending,” Hoppus sings to on the former. And on the latter, he assures “Noise” that “It’ll never be the same stage right” (the spot where Ortiz would typically offer his tech assistance) “but we’ll always have that coffee life.” Their friendship will endure even posthumously, it seems.
In the end, One More Time… presents a pretty ideal balance between Blink-182’s comical and serious sides.
That equilibrium, combined with the band’s undiminished skills in the studio, make for a highly compelling 50-minute listen. Although the guys insist that “there’s no such thing as a happy ending,” they could close out their careers with Album #9 feeling perfectly content with what they’ve accomplished. Something suggests that they’re going to come back roaring with a 10th LP before too long, though.
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© Columbia Records
ONE MORE TIME…
an album by Blink-182