On Sept. 20, blink-182 released their long-awaited ninth studio album, appropriately titled “Nine.” The album marks the band’s first studio release since July 2016, when they released “California” and their second album to feature Matt Skiba, guitarist.
The album, put together by Mark Hoppus, bassist, Skiba and Travis Barker, drummer, has a much darker tone than is found in their previous two albums, and is comparable to their self-titled album released 16 years earlier in terms of being exploratory. This is especially prevalent in “I Really Wish I Hated You,” a breakup song about regret and how Mark wished he could get back together with someone but knew he shouldn’t.
Initial reaction to the singles were mixed; “Blame it On My Youth” was criticized for being “too poppy,” being compared to “All the Small Things,” which was made purely for radio play. In response, the trio released “Generational Divide,” which has lyrics that repeat “are we better now?” This song returns to the traditional reliance on guitars and strays away from the synthesizers found in “Blame it On My Youth.”
The lead song, “The First Time,” essentially serves as a sequel to their all-time classic “Feeling This” from the untitled album, sharing many musical elements and has the same lyrical content, with Skiba sharing his advice: “The first love, the first high, there ain’t nothing like the first time.” It is a very catchy song and is one that many will find themselves singing along to after the first few listens.
“No Heart To Speak Of” is one of the more experimental songs of the album, while still having the iconic blink-182 guitar riffs and astounding drumming performances that fans have grown accustomed to. Skiba absolutely dominates on vocals and is an effective replacement for Tom Delonge, who left the band five years ago. It is a very powerful song with lyrics that anyone who has suffered heartbreak in a relationship can relate to.
Overall, “Nine” is a masterpiece as far as modern punk rock music goes. With songs that seemingly break boundaries many thought the band would never break, this is as groundbreaking as the untitled album was and can also be compared to “Take Off Your Pants and Jacket” in terms of how purely good it is.