Album Review: Blink-182’s California (Deluxe ed.)
It’s like Heaven, or Paradise — or whatever land up in the clouds you may or may not believe in — with new Blink music descending upon our eardrums with deeply satisfying rapidity.
Last year, we had the release of California (which I thoroughly reviewed in a previous post) on the 1st of July, and now we get the deluxe version of that album, released less than a year later with 11 new songs, what Mark Hoppus called “like a whole other album” in an interview with Billboard in March.
“Parking Lot,” released March 16, and “Misery,” released March 29, gave us the first taste of the previously unreleased music that constitutes California in its deluxe form, but now we’ve got the rest, including an acoustic version of “Bored to Death.”
So, I’m back to line them up and knock them down (or is that the wrong expression?) with another set of rankings.
I’ll cut with anymore fluffy language and just get to it — right after this final note, that is: even though I’ve just mentioned “Bored to Death”’s acoustic version, it will be excluded from this list.
Behold, the rankings of California (Deluxe):
1. Misery — Track 2 (3:51)
“I don’t need anyone! I don’t need anyone!” What does it say that I’m so in love with this song? *Hashtag* forever alone? Perhaps. Probably. Whatever.
It is fantastic, with poetic buzzwords abounding (e.g. “brokenhearted,” “misery,” “oblivion”), and a shout-out to Mr. Alfred Hitchcock that’s deployed rather tastefully. Great lyrics, and superb replay-ability.
2. Hey I’m Sorry — Track 5 (3:56)
“Hey I’m Sorry” was initially released as a Japanese bonus track off California in 2016. What the Japanese did to have first dibs on this absolutely awesome song, I cannot say.
When I first learned of it, I listened to it over and over and over (“and we’ll go over and over and over”). It’s pop-y, yes, but I can’t get enough. (No relation to “I’m Sorry” from 1997’s Dude Ranch.)
3. Good Old Days — Track 3 (3:23)
Lloyd Christmas talking about his instant attraction to Mary Swanson accurately describes the way I immediately felt about this song: “Oh yeah … tractor beam. Sucked me right in.” *Cue sound effect*
Really though, there isn’t anything totally magical about this song — it just sounds amazing. And that’s all we ask for.
“Left to find our way through a Hitchcock film…”
4. Wildfire — Track 7 (3:02)
What Blink referred to as the love child of whatever your favorite songs from Enema of the State (1999) and California are, “Wildfire” is certainly a jam.
If we’re to take the band’s criteria, I’d say the parents of this song are “Going Away to College” from Enema (because it would be too easy to pick “All The Small Things” or “What’s My Age Again?”) and “San Diego” from California.
5. 6/8 — Track 8 (3:47)
Though I understand why the song is called “6/8” — because it is in 6/8 time — I think they could have come up with a better name for this one.
Title aside, “the strangest song blink have ever recorded” is pretty damn good. The lyrics, a little more on the serious/dark side, hark back to the somber sounds of Neighborhoods (2011).
6. Long Lost Feeling — Track 9 (3:04)
Seemingly the chillest song on California (Deluxe), “Long Lost Feeling” has lyrics that score fairly high on the poetic scale.
Still, when listening to the song, there is a sense you are waiting for it to really “drop” or explode, and that moment just never comes. It remains amazing nonetheless.
“I’ll never lead the perfect kind of life.”
7. Don’t Mean Anything — Track 4 (2:46)
With a beginning reminiscent of “Adam’s Song” from Enema, “Don’t Mean Anything” took a hot second to grow on me, but I’m definitely coming to appreciate it.
Others seem to hear some “Dammit” (Dude Ranch) in here, but I’m not so sure about that. Either way, a solid track.
8. Last Train Home — Track 6 (3:21)
“Life’s so strange… Time won’t change.” These are pretty undeniable statements, which of course sound better when sung by the greatest crappy punk rock band ever there was. Ever notice how “home” is a major buzzword on both this album and the original California?
9. Can’t Get You More Pregnant — Track 11 (0:34)
Wasn’t sure what to expect when I first saw the name of this track, but it’s honestly a lot less raunchy than I thought it might be.
Knowing what Blink has put out in the past (see: “Mother’s Day” and “Fuck a Dog” — bonus tracks from 2001’s Take Off Your Pants and Jacket), it seemed a song with a title like this would be a bit more… lewd?
Tame is a better word to describe it, even as Mark sings about “taking care of himself.” Also: great riff — definitely similar to “Brohemian Rhapsody.”
“These empty rooms are deafening without you.”
10. Parking Lot — Track 1 (2:46)
The “first” song released off California (Deluxe) — when you don’t consider “Hey I’m Sorry” being released and then snatched right back (it literally disappeared from YouTube) — “Parking Lot” is, for lack of a better word, okay-ish.
As the first song that dropped, I was obviously over the moon with it initially. The love has waned some as the other tracks have appeared, however. It sort of reminds me of “Los Angeles,” which, as you may recall, did not fare so well in my California rankings.
11. Bottom of the Ocean — Track 10 (3:27)
“Bottom of the Ocean” also happens to be on the bottom of these rankings — though it should be mentioned that this song and “Parking Lot” are basically on equal playing fields.
This one is just a little more different than I’d like it to be and I’m finding, at least initially, that I can’t get into it as much as the others.