Anyone who knows and loves Blink will be aware of the stir their last album ‘Neighbourhoods’ caused, with many critics choosing to slate it. Of course this was with solid reasoning, after all, how strong can an album be when none of the band members were together in a studio at any given point? For that reason, Blink 182’s EP ‘Dogs Eating Dogs’ has caused a lot of excitement in the music industry, only strengthened by Travis Barker himself tweeting that this EP contains some of the best work created by the band. The fact that Blink were all together in a studio for this EP has evidently strengthened the production of music; the EP was officially released yesterday and appeared in iTunes Top 10 album chart in twenty two countries. This of course is indicative of the success of both the members and the EP itself. Despite this, I approached the EP in a somewhat hesitant manner. While ‘Neighbourhoods’ was being slated, it became a really significant album to me in a deeply personal way. While many fans were looking forward to the release of the EP, I was and admittedly still am, bitter that I paid for two tickets to see Blink 182 live and missed them on both occasions due to their cancellation.
Tonight I sat down to listen and other than the album art, which I absolutely love, I just have to give a mixed review. While the arrangements may be better, I don’t feel that the EP has built that much upon Neighbourhoods. ‘Disaster’ in particular sounds far, far too similar to ‘After Midnight,’ so much so that if it had been added to Blink’s previous album, it wouldn’t have added anything extra in the slightest. Being the first track on the EP, it set my own low expectations. The disappointment has been carried across into another song. As the release has occurred just before Christmas Day, the band have kept that in mind, creating a song called ‘Boxing Day.’ In the first thirty seconds, the expectation is a ballad and instantly I was hoping for something as inexplicably touching as ‘I Miss You’ or something as angsty as ‘Stay Together For The Kids.’ Again, Blink have missed the mark. With a somewhat folky sound which is unusual for the band, the lyrics are absolutely awful and I for one will not be singing ‘We could reignite like fireflies’ around the house this Christmas. If I want something sad but cheesy, I’ll be heading straight for my Mcfly albums. These lyrics are in fact why I often avoid Tom Delonge’s other project, Angels and Airwaves.
But as any Blink fan knows, if Blink fall then their rise is even greater. ‘When I Was Young’ and ‘Dogs Eating Dogs’ are not only the stronger songs on the EP but they also hint at the brilliance that could be sparked within work for the next album which the guys are already working on. ‘When I Was Young’ particularly epitomises what I now appreciate most about the band. Blink have been around for nearly two decades, releasing their first album in 1994. As a twenty year old, this is the band I’ve grown up with and though they’ve grown old, they’ve never moved away from their fans, they’ve never forgotten what it’s like to be one of us. ‘When I Was Young’ is the one track on the EP that makes me feel truly grateful to the band.
As I mentioned earlier, I approached the EP with hesitancy. Mainly because of the love of I have for Neighbourhoods, but also because I had previously read that Blink 182 feature Yelawolf in a song called ‘Pretty Little Girl.’ This collaboration of course echoes the work that Travis Barker has carried out with Yelawolf in their collaborative EP ‘Psycho White’ which was released earlier this year. Though I was anxious about the choice made by Blink, it is – without a doubt – the best damn song on the whole of the EP and is absolutely it’s saving grace. Why? Because it sounds absolutely phenomenal, because Yelawolf doesn’t sound like an entirely separate artist, because despite the collaboration Blink 182 have stuck to their own. They have demonstrated what it is to make hybrid developments within the music industry without ‘selling out’ and without disappointing their demographic It’s the last song on the EP and Blink 182 honestly couldn’t have finished on a better note.
While I might not have been impressed with the EP as a whole, I am still one massively happy fan and I’m really looking forward to what’s going to happen with the band next.
Click below to listen to ‘Pretty Little Girl:’