‘One More Time’, Blink-182‘s ninth studio album marks the return of long-time co-frontman and UFO enthusiast Tom DeLonge, his first outing with the band in 12 years – restoring the pop-punk power trio’s classic line-up of Barker/DeLonge/Hoppus. And while the band have no doubt grown up, they haven’t lost the exuberance of their youth, despite the trials and tribulations that have befallen them over the years; be it the fallouts or Mark Hoppus’ cancer diagnosis.
The album treads familiar water, harkening back to the sounds of their most popular albums 1999’s ‘Enema Of The State’ and 2000’s ‘Take Off Your Pants And Jacket’, but with a different lyrical focus, tackling mortality, midlife crises and the reunion itself. Opening with ‘Anthem Part 3’, the band go straight for nostalgia, with DeLonge’s bright guitar arpeggios underpinned by a reliably superhuman drum performance.
The band tug at heartstrings throughout ‘One More Time’. The album’s title-track sees DeLonge pose the question “Do I have to die to hear you miss me?” which could be directed at the band’s longtime fans and bandmates alike, considering his period of exile. Meanwhile, on teaser track ‘You Don’t Know What You Got’, Hoppus admits in earnest “I took you all for granted / You can write my epilogue”.
The album works best, however, when the band lean on the skate-punk energy of their early days. ‘Turpentine’ tackles Hoppus’ state of malaise during his cancer treatment over angular riffs and blistering drums. However, while this is a welcome change of pace, the song descends into the toilet humour that the band should really have left behind by now. ‘Terrified’, however, calls to mind DeLonge’s underrated side-project Box Car Racer, with it’s soaring guitar riffs, while ‘More Than You Know’ is a highlight, with DeLonge taking the lead over an impassioned chorus.
There are other questionable moments here, too. ‘Dance With Me’, while ultimately harmless fun, relies on a chorus of olés and little to no substance, while ‘Fell In Love’ boasts the most simplistic and predictable lyrics across the album’s 14 tracks.
It’s a bit of a mixed bag. There’s a lot to enjoy, and hardcore fans will no doubt be glad the boys are back together for one more go-round but for all the hype, the album feels over-ambitious in its length. Some killer, some filler. Though there are highlights, the album in a way feels like it doesn’t know what it wants to be. While heavy subjects are tackled head on, there’s no real sense of perspective or growth.
Maybe there doesn’t need to be. Between spats, illnesses and near-fatal accidents, the trio have had enough to contend with over the years. It’s great that they still have their sense of humour, childish though it may be. If you’re expecting a masterpiece, you’re likely to be disappointed. As a Blink-182 album, it’s fine.