Sorry but we had to: Angels & Airwaves' Love: Part Two is insanely lackluster. We mean, you already made one of these albums, why make another? Are we missing something here? Clearly Tom DeLonge is...
The Dream Walker isn't a bad album by any means—hell, the animated film that accompanied the release, Poet Anderson, won a bunch of awards. This is DeLonge at his headiest, at his most conceptual: Which, for some folk, is probably his best. For the rest of us, well, we just want a palm-muted power chord or two.
Another example of Tom DeLonge's flirtation with mature rock and roll sounds. I-Empire's lead single is "Everything's Magic," which, we gather, is either about love or the vastness of the universe. Our vote's with the latter.
Love truly marks the first moment Tom decided to experiment with the intersection of film and music. The record had some marginal rock hits like "Hallucinations" and possessed a film documenting one astronaut's depressing voyage through space (spoiler: he loses communication with NASA and dies up there.) This album is one of lofty ambition, perhaps too lofty.
Tom DeLonge released To the Stars... Demos, Odds and Ends in Spring 2015. It was after we learned he left Blink-182 but while he was still (and is still) in Angels & Airwaves—as a fan of all his projects, it made for something of a confusing listening experience, but a rewarding one. Because this release is all Tom and little else, it feels cohesive but dynamic, like all his bands in one. The second song on the release, "An Endless Summer," feels like vintage Blink, a welcome sound after learning of his departure from the band he founded.
Neighborhoods was Blink-182's first album after the group called off their "indefinite" hiatus. It was a welcome change—just the fact that the band was back together was enough for most fans. The album doesn't feel anything like their characteristic sound, or that of their untitled record...this was more +44/Angels & Airwaves than anything else. I mean, there are actual synthesizers on this bad boy!
Okay, we're hypocrites over here: Angels & Airwaves' first record, We Don't Need to Whisper, actually is their best. "Distraction," "The War," "The Adventures," and "It Hurts"—the band's greatest songs—are found on this album. It was evident that Tom was experimenting with his love of U2 with a big band sound, but it still felt like classic him...Blink-182 him.
Box Car Racer almost feels like a blip on Tom's radar. Blink-182 was still going strong in 2003, but DeLonge wanted to pursue new angst-y, aggressive territory. He took Travis Barker with him and wrote songs that would remain iconic a decade later. In the right crowd, "There Is" and "I Feel So" will invoke an immediate sing-a-long.
Like all bands who've been at it for over a decade, there comes a time where you need to experiment. If you don't switch it up, if you keep making the same record over and over with the same sound, you're going to bore not even your fans, but yourself. Blink's untitled record was just that. I mean, hell, there's even a song with The Cure's Robert Smith on this guy. It's also the album with "I Miss You," so we have the band's grown-up phase to thank for years of celebrating Halloween on Christmas.
Take Off Your Pants and Jacket might have the silliest name of all the Blink-182 records combined (say it slowly, then fast, you'll get it.) The album itself exists as an extension of Enema of the State but also opens the band to moments of vulnerability in a way the previous album didn't—here the band talk openly about divorce, depression...all the big D's.
The album that made Blink-182! The trio burst into the mainstream, dick jokes and all, with "All the Small Things" and the record that housed the single, Enema of the State. The cover is now iconic, the songs oddly timeless. While Green Day might be the first band that comes to mind when someone shouts "pop-punk," it's only a matter of time 'til Blink-182 get the same sort of critical acclaim (lord knows millions already adore the band.)
This might be a controversial opinion but hear us out: Dude Ranch was the album where Blink-182 finally "got" what they were doing. Messy power punk tracks were polished into perfect pop-punk jams. Possibly most importantly, this album holds their first mega single, "Dammit," a song that's three-chord structure is still one of the first songs kids learn how to play on guitar. The sweetly self-deprecating sentiment of the tune holds a lot of weight, but when it's your first step in becoming a musician? That shit is priceless.
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