Back in February of this year, everyone’s favourite frat party trio Blink 182 announced to the world that they were effectively over – a five album, 13 year career had come to an end, with the band members proclaiming that they were taking an ‘indefinite hiatus.’
Since then it has become clear that the split is in fact more permanent than not, with each band member involving themselves heavily in various new musical projects – Mark Hoppus has latterly formed Plus 44, whilst Tom De Longe has proclaimed that his new outfit, Angels And Airwaves, will change the way we listen to music (We’ll believe it when we hear it). Drummer Travis Barker, on the other hand, has stated his long-term future lies with The Transplants.
So it is with a certain nostalgia that this greatest hits package arrives with – in what is likely to be their last ever official release, we the listeners are offered a retrospective look back at their hugely successful career, one that saw Blink 182 reach the top of their game commercially, along with their direct peers The Offspring and Green Day.
There’s no doubt that they were never the most earth-shattering band around, but they produced some great pop singles in their time. Whilst the detractors will no doubt claim that they’ve made millions out of no more than a few power chords garnished with some lavatorial jibes, there’s no disputing that as far as giving a specific audience what they wanted, there were few better in the business.
What we are dished up with on this compilation are 19 cuts of ultra catchy, three-minute pop punk, with all their five studio albums and one live album being represented in some form or another. From the snotty garage punk of early albums Cheshire Cat and Dude Ranch to the ubiquitous, throwaway ditties of Enema Of The State to the more polished and mature sounds of their last outing, 2003’s untitled album, it’s all here. The record is arranged in chronological order, so as to display their musical progression empirically.
Whilst the first four tracks are really rather forgettable, and dominated by some overly tinny percussion and atonal singing (granted, they were young and wanted to make noise), the rest of the CD is littered with their most famous numbers – the fantastically simple All The Small Things, Adam’s Song, a live version of Man Overboard and The Rock Show are some of their more memorable moments that made the cut.
With their last album, they really did ditch the toilet jokes and grow up to become ‘proper’ musicians, something that’s clearly demonstrated here. It’s no coincidence therefore that this record was the best work of their career. It was an LP that spawned such fantastic singles as I Miss You and Always (two tracks up there with anything in their genre).
As you would expect from a greatest hits compilation, there’s the added incentive for fans who already own all the albums to buy it. There are four previously unreleased tracks on offer, one of which, Not Now, was lifted from the recording sessions of their last album. Keeping in line with their more advanced sound, it’s a up-tempo rocker that fits in perfectly with their more popular tracks.
In short it’s one of the better compilations to appear this year and a great way to remember one of the most consistently entertaining bands of our time. Here’s hoping this isn’t the last we’ll hear from them.