Blink-182 have returned with their first album in four years. For a band whose legacy was concrete by the 1999 release of their fourth album (the iconic, ‘All The Small Things’ and ‘What’s My Age Again’-featuring Enema of the State), they’ve dished out reliably few records per decade since then. The records are usually accompanied by the main event; a mega global tour so that fans can leap at the chance to relive a big chunk of teen angst nostalgia. Fresh off the UK iteration of such a tour, ‘One More Time…’ hits our ears today, and it is nothing short of a victory lap, of course.
That’s really what ‘One More Time…’ feels like, in a delightfully lighthearted way, for what is actually a victory lap in quite a serious sense. In the intervening years since 2019’s ‘NINE’, Mark Hoppus was diagnosed with cancer, underwent treatment, and was subsequently declared cancer free – a tremendous personal journey, and one that spurred founding member Tom Delonge’s return to the band. It’s poignant and heart-wrenching that ‘ONE MORE TIME’, the track the band chose to give the album its title, reflects on all the battles that preceded the victory lap the band are on: “strangers, from strangers into brothers, from brothers into strangers once again,” goes the sobering first line, above an acoustic guitar and piano backdrop.
The lyrics go on to reference “a sickness or airplanes falling out the sky…do I have to die to hear you miss me?” Travis Barker’s injury in a plane crash that killed four others was the fuel that brought Blink-182 back together after their 2005 split. There’s a lot of history between these three people, and on ‘One More Time…’, we’re given a reminder of the lives they’ve led in between being Blink, in between the playful energy of the pop-punk bangers they’re best known for. They’re not high school kids any more, and while it’s inviting and glorious to go to their show and sing along to The Rock Show et al, listening to ‘One More Time…’ is a very human continuation of the journey that definitely didn’t end in 2005.
When you dig into it, past the mosh-pit bops and scream along ‘olé olé olé’s (‘DANCE WITH ME’ is stupidly fun!) there’s a serious tone creeping in all the way through ‘One More Time…’. Reflection on youth and growing up abounds, but with a newfound complexity. ‘WHEN WE WERE YOUNG’ borrows it’s title from the Vegas festival that successfully monetized the sensation of nostalgia – that Blink will headline this weekend – and turns out an interesting reflection on the changing sensation of aging and perspective, set to whirling riffs. ‘TURPENTINE’ disguises quite harrowing musings on personhood behind hand claps and AA rhyme schemes packed with prods about sleeping with your mom. Blink remain true to form, even throwing in a few sub-1 minute swearword screamers, but with the band back together and continuing to go through life, it seems their form is grounded in something firmer.
Words: Ims Taylor