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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

blink-182 -- Neighborhoods


The assertion that Neighborhoods picks up right where blink-182 left off nine years ago is close to correct. Neighborhoods is leaner and meaner than its predecessor, with most of the fat shaved off.  Unfortunately, lack of fat means lack of comfort, though there is still the simple comfort inherent in hearing Tom Delonge and Mark Hoppus sing on the same song. The impetus for the self-titled album's bleaker tone seemed to be romantic trouble, but here the guys seem to be going through an absolute existentialist nightmare. Their thoughts are far more adult in tone, though the junior high potty language knocks this down a bit.  As usual, Travis Barker's drumming is blink-182's secret weapon, constantly pushing forward, more complex than ever. His energy is unbreakable, and every dark sentiment on this album can't bring it down.  The first half is particularly dreary. Though things brighten up a bit in the second half, we still get lines like "It's a long road through the night."
Bleak doesn't mean "bad," though, and all the songs here are absolutely solid. Every band member is better at what they do now, and Neighborhoods sounds like a true collaboration, all three guys working together to create good music. And a quick rant: several critics have been severely half-assing things by looking at this album title and assuming and proclaiming in their reviews that Neighborhoods has something to do with the suburbs, like Arcade Fire's pompous misfire from 2010. It doesn't. Neighborhoods designates the different territories of music and thought intersecting throughout the three very different band members' collaboration. It's a joy to hear that collaboration once again functioning, though I hope next time blink will be coming from a happier place to create a sunnier album.  As it is, though, Neighborhoods ain't a bad place to live and is about as good a come back as one can expect after a nearly decade long hiatus.

2011 Interscope
1. Ghost on the Dance Floor 4:17
2. Natives 3:55
3. Up All Night 3:20
4. After Midnight 3:25
5. Heart's All Gone 3:15
6. Wishing Well 3:20
7. Kaleidoscope 3:52
8. This Is Home 2:46
9. MH 4.18.2011 3:27
10. Love Is Dangerous 4:27

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