- Blink-182 (album)
Blink-182 Studio album by Blink-182 Released November 18, 2003 Recorded January–October 2003 at The Rubin's House, Conway Recording Studios, Rolling Thunder, and Signature Sound, San Diego, California Genre Pop punk, alternative rock Length 49:23 Label Geffen (986 140-7) Producer Jerry Finn Blink-182 chronology Take Off Your Pants and Jacket
Singles from Blink-182
Blink-182 is the eponymously-titled fifth studio album by the American pop punk band Blink-182. It was produced by Jerry Finn, and was released on November 18, 2003 through Geffen Records. After touring for their previous album, Take Off Your Pants and Jacket (2001), the band members took a break and subsequently participated in various side projects (Box Car Racer and Transplants). Recorded throughout 2003, Blink-182 marks a departure from the band's earlier work, infusing experimental elements into their usual pop punk sound, inspired by lifestyle changes (the band members all became fathers before the album was released) and side projects.
The album was a commercial success in the United States, bolstered by lead singles "Feeling This" and "I Miss You". Despite some mixed criticism from fans regarding the band's new musical elements, Blink-182 earned largely favorable reviews from music critics and has been certified platinum in sales by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). "Down" and "Always" were released as the third and fourth singles from the album, respectively. Blink-182 was the band's final studio album before going on hiatus in 2005 and eventually reuniting in 2009, as well as the final Blink-182 record produced by longtime producer Jerry Finn, who died in 2008.
- 1 Background and recording
- 2 Composition
- 3 Packaging and title
- 4 Release and promotion
- 5 Reception
- 6 Blink-182 concert tours
- 7 Track listing
- 8 Personnel
- 9 Chart history
- 10 Release history
- 11 References
- 12 External links
Background and recording
Blink-182 spent much of 2002 on tour promoting their 2001 album Take Off Your Pants and Jacket. Blink-182 co-headlined the Pop Disaster Tour with Green Day in 2002. The tour was documented on the DVD Riding in Vans with Boys. After some time off, guitarist Tom DeLonge and drummer Travis Barker regrouped and released a new album with their side-project Box Car Racer. According to a 2002 interview with DeLonge, the album was created out of pure boredom, and the album has been said to foreshadow the change of musical atmosphere in Blink-182. Travis Barker was asked to join rap rock group Transplants in 2002, and was featured on their first album (Transplants.)
In addition to the side-projects, the music of the album was inspired by the September 11 attacks and the onset of the Iraq War. The mood was unsettling for DeLonge, whose brother is a Navy officer:
“ It was so weird because we'd all be glued to the TV, watching these bombs explode over another country. So I'd see all this and wonder where he was at, and then we'd have to go into the next room and sing or finish writing lyrics. I think it affected our moods throughout the day. ”
Recording and production
The band officially entered the studio to begin recording sessions for Blink-182 in early January 2003. For the recording of the album, the band rented a house near San Diego, which they converted into a studio. The band recorded at the house (The Rubin's House) until April 2003, when, according to bassist Mark Hoppus in the band's MTV Album Launch special, the owners of the house "kicked them out". Barker left in spring 2003 to tour with Transplants, leaving the band with a variety of drum tracks to listen to while he was gone. The band regrouped and began recording at Rolling Thunder studios in April 2003 until the band left to perform a couple of summer shows in Canada and Japan, where they premiered several songs live. Soon afterward, the band performed for a short time for the armed forces in the Middle East. The in-studio antics and behind the scenes moments were recorded and posted on the official Blink-182 website throughout 2003. The videos are no longer on the website, but can be found on YouTube.
The recording process of the album eventually lasted from January to August 2003, with an additional mixing and mastering period lasting until October. Previous Blink-182 sessions were recorded in three months. By late 2002, the band had an idea of what they wanted to do with the new album. Hoppus described his desire for the album to experiment with different arrangements in a 2002 interview: "Before, we got one guitar sound that we changed a little bit through the record. This time we want to try a whole different setup for each song." Hoppus recalled that Barker entered the production process by urging the band to "[not think of the album] as the next Blink-182 record — think of it as the first Blink-182 record." DeLonge anticipated the album to "sound like Blink, but with a whole different way of doing it." The band stated that being in a studio longer than three months gave them the luxury of experimenting with different methods of writing, playing, and recording.
The first song written for the record was "Feeling This". The band unveiled several new songs live for the first time at the Reading and Leeds festivals in August 2003. The band spent most of August 2003 mixing and mastering the album with Jerry Finn at Conway Studios. Jerry Finn, who had produced the previous two Blink-182 albums, returned to produce Blink-182. The production turned out to be his last with Blink-182. According to the band's MTV Album Launch special, "Easy Target" was the last song to be recorded, during the last week in the studio. After the band was officially done recording and the mastering and final mixes were being completed, the band shot small, home-made videos for several songs on Blink-182, as well as the official music video for "Feeling This", which they picked as the first single. The band spent time to finalize the CD booklet and album artwork. Mark Hoppus stated that the album was so "personal to all three of us that we really wanted to be involved in every aspect of it." The album was in production so late that final mixes were still being judged by Hoppus, DeLonge, and Barker in early October. DeLonge described the final days of mixing the album as "crazy stressful", with "literally hours to turn [the album] to have it come it out on time."
Music critics agreed that this album represents a more "mature" Blink-182 than seen in the past, noticeable by the absence of songs with toilet humour or jokes that the band had been known for. It was somewhat of a departure from their previous musical atmosphere; the album was described as a "self-meditation on romantic decay." Mark Hoppus, the bassist in the band, said in an interview with MTV Album Launch that the desired effect of the album was for people to listen to it and say, "Wait a minute...that's Blink-182?" The songs on Blink-182 are musically diverse and borderline experimental. The band infused experimentalist elements into their usual pop punk sound, inspired by lifestyle changes (the band members all became fathers before the album was released) and side-projects (Box Car Racer and Transplants.)
The themes for the album include growing up and dealing with the realities of adulthood including relationship woes, daily pressures and unexpected hardships. During the album, songs segue into one another to present a cohesive feel instead of a regular collection of tracks. A spokesman for the band described the goal for the continuity of each track in an MTV News article as "developing lyrically like chapters in a book". The band built each song with a minute attention to detail – a total 10 months were spent on the album. According to Hoppus in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 70 guitars, 30 amps, "30 or 40" different snare drums, up to six drum kits, and various keyboards, turntables, and pianos were used in the album's production – concluding by describing the studio as a "musical laboratory." Entertainment Weekly described the album as a concept album based on a dying relationship. In a full article about the album in the November 20, 2003 edition of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Ben Wener described the music of the album as expansive, downcast, and sometimes spectral.
The New York Times considered that the album may have been influenced by the growing popularity of emo, meanwhile, musicOMH compared the evolution of Blink-182 to that of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Real NASA transmissions from the Apollo 11 space flight are used in the opening of "Asthenia", and "I'm Lost Without You" mixes an industrial loop with piano. The latter track took many months to create, and took "over 50" different tracks, including two drum sets combined during the last minute of the song. Barker described the idea for the percussion combination as "something we always wanted to do, but never got around to," and believed the song sounded like Pink Floyd or Failure. "Stockholm Syndrome", described by MTV News as "the most obvious examples of Blink-182's experimentation", was recorded using a microphone dating back to the 1950s, and the reverb on the vocals was achieved by playing the recordings into a shower. The drum fills for the song were recorded separately than the rest of the tracks, with the tape machines "sped up and super compressed", then played back at normal speed, to sound really "deep and gigantic", according to Hoppus in the liner notes for Blink-182.
"I think at this point in our career, we are better musicians and we've evolved our way of thinking as far as songwriting," DeLonge told Billboard in reference to the band's more mature lyricism. Hoppus, in his interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, described the lyrics as the most personal he had written up to that point. He described past albums as being stuck in high school, Blink-182 being "what's going on [...] right now."
The lead single, "Feeling This", was the first song written for the album. Hoppus and DeLonge wrote the song in two different rooms and upon meeting to discuss the song, the two realized they had both written about sex: the passionate, lustful side (reflected in the verses) and the romantic side (the choruses). "Stockholm Syndrome" features an interlude before it in which Joanne Whalley reads letters Hoppus' grandfather wrote to his grandmother during World War II. DeLonge explained the letters as "Real sincere, genuine letters from the worst war in history." Hoppus recalled the song in 2006 as "one of the most personal [he's] ever written." The track "Here's Your Letter", according to Hoppus in the liner notes for Blink-182, is about "people's inability to communicate with one another and how words and explanations only confuse the issues."
"Asthenia" was written by DeLonge about "the loss of hope". DeLonge's idea for the song regarding his idea of a lonely astronaut in space, "contemplating if even coming back or not will make a difference on such a negative place." "Easy Target" is based on a specific incident that happened during DeLonge's high school years, in which a boy was humiliated by a girl whom he was invited over to see.
Packaging and title
Due to some contradicting sources, the title of the album (or lack thereof) is debated. A 2003 interview and article from MTV News discussing the naming of the pending album repeatedly refers to the release as the "untitled album". However, some sources refer to the album as self-titled, such as the band's label's website and many online stores including Amazon.com and the iTunes Store, although said listings may be due to cataloging purposes. Several critics have also used the terms "eponymous" and "self-titled" in describing the album.
The title for the album was originally rumored to be Use Your Erection I & II, a parody of the Guns N' Roses album Use Your Illusion, but was revealed to be a joke Barker made to "get a rise out of people." DeLonge, in reference to previous joke album titles (such as Enema of the State), stated, "We didn't want to label it with a joke title that people might expect." As such, a Billboard article from the week of the album's release lists three rejected joke titles: Diarrhea de Janeiro, Vasectomy, Vasect-a-you and "Our Pet Sounds".
To support the new album, Blink-182 created an entirely new logo, a "smiley face" with X's for each eye and five arrows on the left side of its face. According to Barker, the Blink-182 logo originated at his clothing line, Famous Stars and Straps. Barker wanted to brand an icon for the band: "It just had to be a cool kind of happy face but I wanted arrows. You know, like The Jam were my favorite band, they always had arrows in their logos and stuff. It was just kind of inspired by pop-art."
The cover for the album features only the band's name and the "smiley face" logo. DeLonge justified the simplicity in an interview by saying: "I hate when bands have this one little thing and you think the whole record's about whatever that title is or something, whether it's funny or sad or deep. It's like we'd rather it be: 'This is our band, check it out.'" The album booklet features various photographs of the band taken in months prior to the album's release, including a photo of a bulletin board with song names featuring varying degrees of completion. Instead of one large "thank you" section, thanks are divided up by each band member, similar to Box Car Racer the year prior. musicOMH described the album booklet as "...Meticulously put together and resembling a Warholian pastiche." Each song includes small notes detailing the lyrical inspiration for each song, what it means to each band member, and the recording techniques used.
Release and promotion
Blink-182 was officially released on November 18, 2003 through Geffen Records, the band's first with the label. The album was initially hoped to be released in time for the next summer, as previous albums Dude Ranch, Enema of the State, and Take Off Your Pants and Jacket were. The album was released in explicit and "clean" versions: the album's "clean" version (censoring explicit content) was released alongside the album on November 18. Similar to the release for Enema of the State, an Australian Tour edition featuring two bonus tracks was released the next year. Blink-182 was the first album by the band to immediately be offered through digital media retailers (iTunes Store and Rhapsody). Current digital versions of the album offer both the explicit and "clean" versions. The iTunes explicit version of the album offers the interlude between "Violence" and "Stockholm Syndrome" as an extra track, titled "Stockholm Syndrome Interlude".
The album was released as an Enhanced CD, featuring some of the band's self-made videos, including "Down/The Fallen Interlude", "Stockholm Syndrome", "Obvious", "Violence", and "Feeling This". They were all shot in one small room, or by using a selection of clips from Blink-182's live shows or trip to the Middle East, and incorporate shots of the band members simply miming the songs. In May 2010, independent record label Mightier Than Sword Records announced that the album would be released on vinyl in July 2010, however, the release date was been pushed back due to pressing plant/approval issues regarding the album. The record was officially released in September 2010. A double LP, one side features the "smiley face" logo. A special Hot Topic edition will be released sometime in the near future.
Promotion for the record included a "golden ticket" contest – the prize being a private Blink-182 show for the winner. MTV's website streamed the full album a week before its release, beginning on November 10. As promotion for the album and single release[s], the band performed "Feeling This" on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on a week after the release of the album on November 26, 2003, and "Down" on Late Show with David Letterman on May 27, 2004. Performances of "I Miss You" and "The Rock Show" on The WB's Pepsi Smash concert series from June 10, 2004 were released on the Australian Tour edition of the album, as well as the "Always" single.
The band picked "Feeling This" as the first single because it was representative of the transition the band had undergone since Take Off Your Pants and Jacket. A slightly different version of the song had been released previously as part of the soundtrack for the video game Madden NFL 2004 under the erroneous title "Action". Barker explained in an interview that "'Action' just sounded kind of dorky to us. Like we would always call it 'Feeling This' and then someone at our label, I think, like wrote it as 'Action' one time and sent out singles to people. And it was always supposed to be 'Feeling This'." The video for "Feeling This" was recorded shortly before the release of the album in October 2003, and the single was released on October 2, 2003. The track peaked high at number 2 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart, hovering at that position for three weeks (November 23 to December 13, 2003.)
The following single, "I Miss You", hit within the new year (2004). The song, an acoustic piano-driven song unlike any previous Blink-182 single, was announced in December 2003, while the music video was recorded the same month. The band embarked on a European tour in early 2004, leaving some to believe the single was about leaving the family behind on tour. The song features references to Tim Burton's 1993 animated film The Nightmare Before Christmas, with "We can live like Jack and Sally" and "We'll have Halloween on Christmas". In interviews and the liner notes for Blink-182, Barker reveals that the line was directed towards his then girlfriend, Shanna Moakler. "I Miss You" became arguably the most successful single from the album, becoming Blink-182's second number 1 hit on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart during the week of April 3, 2004, until dethroned by Hoobastank's "The Reason" two weeks later.
Despite briefly considering "Easy Target" to be released as the album's third single, "Down" was released instead. The video for "Down", which features real-life ex-gang members, made its television premiere on June 2, 2004. The single was a mixed success, peaking at number 10 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart during the week of July 31, 2004 but quickly falling off afterward.
"Always" was announced as the fourth and final single from Blink-182 in August 2004. "It's gonna change people's lives and might actually change the world forever," DeLonge jokingly predicted. After deciding on the video concept, the clip was recorded and released in November 2004. Described as "a total '80's song" by Hoppus, the song contains multiple-layered, heavily effected guitars and new-wave synthesizers. The music video received continued success all the way into January 2005. A fifth single from the album ("All of This") was discussed; however, plans were dropped following the band's declaration of an 'indefinite hiatus' in February 2005. In response to the idea of "All of This" becoming a possible single, DeLonge joked "We would love it because it's a bad-ass song, and The Cure's Robert Smith sings on it, and that makes us cooler than everybody else."
The album debuted at number three on the US Billboard 200 chart, with first-week sales of 313,000 copies. In comparison, Take Off Your Pants and Jacket debuted at number one and sold more than 350,000 copies in its first week. The album charted at number three, below fellow new album In the Zone by Britney Spears (number one) and above remix album Let It Be... Naked by The Beatles (number five). Blink-182 charted highest in Canada, where it debuted at number one. The album was also successful in other countries, debuting in the top ten in Australia, Denmark, and New Zealand. As of September 2011, the album has sold 2.2 million copies in the US.
The album has since been certified by the RIAA as platinum, and the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) and Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) as double platinum, respectively. The album has also reached platinum certifications in the United Kingdom.
Professional ratings Review scores Source Rating AbsolutePunk 91%  Allmusic  The A.V. Club (favorable)  Blender  Entertainment Weekly A-  IGN 8.4/10 Rolling Stone  Spin 91%  Sputnikmusic  USA Today 
The album received generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 71, based on 12 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews". Jenny Eliscu of Rolling Stone, while giving the album four stars, wrote that "...Their lyrics are still unsophisticated and lovelorn, but even the poppiest tunes prove artful". Her review regards Blink-182 as "more experimental and harder-hitting than anything else [the band] has done". Blink-182 was included in the Top 50 Best of 2003 end of the year list by Rolling Stone. The album was praised by Channing Freeman of Sputnikmusic, lauding the album as a "masterpiece" and both the pinnacle of Blink-182's career and the pop punk genre as a whole. The album was given four stars by Allmusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine, who called Blink-182 "an unexpected and welcome maturation from a band that just an album ago seemed permanently stuck in juvenilia." Erlewine believed the songwriting was more adventurous than any previous Blink album, to accompany the greater variety of sounds. Blender's Jonah Weiner praised DeLonge's vocals, describing them as a "lean, thrilling ride through adolescent hopelessness." AbsolutePunk called the album a "pop punk opus of rage, confusion, and love." Many critics lauded the surprise appearance of The Cure vocalist Robert Smith on the track "All of This", with Entertainment Weekly describing the cameo as "consecrating the recrimination-filled proceedings".
The band's decision in favor of more mature material was received positively by many critics; Tim Newbound of Soul Shine Magazine regarded the new sound as "not a disaster by any means," writing that "Blink show that they can retain their infectious and endearing qualities while recording music of a more thoughtful calibre." IGN's Jesse Lord described the lyrics as having more importance than Blink's previous work and recommended the album. Spin described the record as emotionally intense, and best experienced through headphones. Nick Catucci of The Village Voice called the album "brilliant" and compared Blink-182 to fellow pop punk band Green Day's 2000 effort, Warning, writing, "Let it be noted, however, that Warning searches for subject matter where Blink-182 searches for meaning." Catucci and a handful of others critics expressed surprise at the newfound maturity of the band.
Greg Kot of Entertainment Weekly compared the vocal harmonies on the first single "Feeling This" to the likes of Queen, and described the album as a classic. Scott Shelter of Slant gave the album four stars, stating "Giving up the fart jokes is risky business for Blink—but Blink-182 might just be the band's best album to date." He called "The Fallen Interlude" an example of the band's emotional growth, and regarded "Go" as "vintage Blink-182, two minutes of nonstop energy." A.D. Amorosi of The Philadelphia Inquirer compared the sound of the album to "new-wave '80s", alluding to tracks "All of This" and "Always", describing the latter as "contagious" and "tracking the robo-pop groove." Kevin Moreau of ShakingThrough.net viewed that "Feeling This" "underscores the album's overwhelming sense of sonic diffusion," but asserted that "abrupt rockers" such as "Go" and "Easy Target" keep the album from becoming off-putting. In contrast, The A.V. Club believed "The disc [does] meander in spots, and its most achingly sincere love songs become cloying."
Blink-182 announced the first tour in support of Blink-182 on October 17, 2003, named the DollaBill Tour. The all-ages club tour featured support acts Bubba Sparxxx and The Kinison, and, as the name suggests, tickets were sold for $1. DeLonge explained the first return to small venues in several years in the initial press release for the tour: "For years we played in small clubs and that's where you can really connect with your fans." The tour ended shortly after the release of Blink-182 on November 21, 2003, at local San Diego venue SOMA. An additional concert at the Phoenix Concert Theatre on December 2, 2003 was held in Toronto, Canada with My Chemical Romance as the opener.
A performance at KWOD's Twisted X-Mas show shortly before Christmas 2003 became the final show of the year, and a European tour followed during in mid-February 2004. During an Australian tour in March 2004, Barker injured his foot and the band was forced to cancel tour dates in Japan for the rest of the month. A U.S. tour took place from late April to May 2004, and a highly-publicized tour featuring Blink-182 and No Doubt was performed during June 2004, in support of Blink-182 and No Doubt's The Singles 1992-2003. The cancelled Australian tour dates were rescheduled and performed in August and September 2004. The band appeared on September 17, 2004 at the MTV Icon tribute to The Cure, performing a cover of "A Letter to Elise" and "All of This", which was recorded and later broadcast on October 31, 2004. The band headed to Europe for a two-week tour near the end of the year, which culminated at their final show on December 16, 2004 at the Point Theatre in Dublin, Ireland.
Although the band had planned for a U.S. tour in support of "Always" and the new release Greatest Hits, tensions within the band had risen on the final European tour and the band announced an 'indefinite hiatus' on February 22, 2005 as breakup rumors swirled. After some tragic events involving the band and its entourage, Blink-182 reunited in February 2009.
No. Title Length 1. "Feeling This" 2:53 2. "Obvious" 2:43 3. "I Miss You" 3:47 4. "Violence" 5:20 5. "Stockholm Syndrome" 2:42 6. "Down" 3:03 7. "The Fallen Interlude" (Blink-182, Jack Gonzalez) 2:13 8. "Go" 1:53 9. "Asthenia" 4:20 10. "Always" 4:12 11. "Easy Target" 2:20 12. "All of This" (Blink-182, Robert Smith) 4:40 13. "Here's Your Letter" 2:55 14. "I'm Lost Without You" 6:22Total length: 49:23
- Mark Hoppus – vocals, bass guitar, double bass
- Tom DeLonge – vocals, guitar
- Travis Barker – drums, percussion
- Additional musicians
- Robert Smith – vocals on "All of This"
- Menno – guitar and vocals on "The Fallen Interlude"
- Roger Joseph Manning, Jr. – keyboards
- John Morrical – additional keyboards on "All of This", assistant engineer
- Ken Andrews – additional instrumentation on "Violence" and "Obvious"
- Max Gramajo – cover illustration (with Blink-182)
- Sonny Flats – design, layout
- Scandalous – design, layout
- Mr. Cartoon – design, layout
- Jerry Finn – producer, mix engineer of "Feeling This", "The Fallen Interlude", "Asthenia", and "Here's Your Letter"
- Sick Jacken – producer of "The Fallen Interlude"
- Nikos Constant – producer
- Estavan Oriol – producer
- Moises Velez – producer
- Tom Lord-Alge – mix engineer of "Obvious", "I Miss You", "Down", and "All of This"
- Andy Wallace – mix engineer of "Violence", "Stockholm Syndrome", "Go", and "Easy Target"
- Ryan Hewitt – mix engineer of "Always" and "I'm Lost Without You", engineer
- Sam Boukas – assistant engineer
- James McCrone – assistant engineer
- Alan Mason – assistant engineer
- Seth Waldman – assistant engineer
- Steve Sisco – assistant engineer
- Femio Hernandez – assistant engineer
- Brian Gardner – mastering engineer
Chart (2003) Peak
Australian Albums Chart 7 Austrian Albums Chart 16 Belgium Albums Chart 38 Canadian Albums Chart 1 Danish Albums Chart 10 Dutch Albums Chart 71 French Albums Chart 26 German Albums Chart 33 Ireland Albums Chart 18 New Zealand Albums Chart 10 Norwegian Albums Chart 22 Swedish Albums Chart 46 Swiss Albums Chart 17 UK Albums Chart 22 U.S. Billboard 200 3 U.S. Billboard Internet Albums  3
Country Certification Sales Argentina Gold 30,000+ Australia 2× Platinum 140,000+ Canada 2× Platinum 200,000+ United Kingdom Platinum 300,000+ United States Platinum 1,000,000+
Chart procession and succession
Afterglow by Sarah McLachlan
Canadian number-one album
December 6, 2003 – December 13, 2003
Afterglow by Sarah McLachlan
Region Date Label Format Catalog World November 18, 2003 Geffen Digital download — Canada CD, CS B000133612 Australia 9861407 United Kingdom 0602498614082 Europe 0602498614075 Japan UICF-1018 United States 000133612 August 31, 2010 Mightier Than Sword LP mts.023
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