Today marks the release of the new Blink-182 album, California. It’s a new era for the band, with long-time guitarist Tom DeLonge departing and being replaced by Alkaline Trio guitarist Matt Skiba. The singles have been moving up the charts – Bored to Death just hit number 1 on Billboard’s Alternative Songs chart, their first song to do that in 12 years. Over 20 years after their debut album, Blink-182 can still crank out hits.
But there are a lot of songs in those 20+ years of being a band, as they journeyed from SoCal mainstays to alternative darlings to household names topping Billboard charts. So to celebrate the release of the new album, as well as the career of a band that has managed to last this long, here are 10 songs from the entirety of the band’s tenure that show why the band developed such a large, rabid fanbase.
2011’s Neighborhoods was Blink-182’s first comeback, after a lengthy hiatus. The album received generally positive reviews but a somewhat mixed reaction from fans. Kaleidoscope, however, was a real highlight off the album. Buoyed by rare solid guitar work from late-era Tom, Hoppus and DeLonge trade off on vocals during a solid mid-tempo jam.
Dumpweed opens 1999’s Enema of the State with roaring energy, letting you know that you’re in for a fun pop-punk ride. Short and sweet, it’s amazing to contrast older DeLonge singing on Kaleidoscope with the youthful, excited DeLonge that greets fans on this track. It’s arguably the quintessential Blink-182 song: super fast, super catchy, and about a girl.
8. What’s My Age Again
Blink-182 were already a known entity in 1999, making waves on rock and alternative stations. But that year sent them into another stratosphere of popularity, and this was the first single off Enema of the State. Their first breakthrough hit may be more remembered for its famous video, where the Hoppus, DeLonge, and Travis Barker all run naked through the streets. But the song itself holds up to this day, a fun, simple song about not quite being able to grow up.
Blink-182 is pop punk. But this song sounds fairly true to its title. Released in 1997, the song is perfectly emblematic of the late 90s emo sound. The popular bands in the scene were less post-hardcore, and more fuzzy, poppy punk bands singing angsty songs about girls they liked and the bad boyfriends they had. If that sound and lyrical content is up your alley, look no further.
6. Feeling This
The story to this track is that Hoppus and DeLonge wrote their parts of the song separately without knowing what the other was doing – and both ended up writing about sex. Both frontmen bring out the best in each other as they trade off between verse and chorus, creating a fantastic leadoff single to their 2003 self-titled album that quickly became a fan favorite.
It’s not often a song from before a band blows up becomes a staple in their live set years after they’ve become a band that can sell out arenas. But Carousel, the first track off 1994’s Cheshire Cat, never stopped being a fan favorite. The excellent bassline in the first minute of the song is iconic to long-time fans, and builds to one of the catchiest songs they ever wrote.
4. Roller Coaster
2001’s Take Off Your Pants and Jacket had deliriously catchy singles like The Rock Show and First Date, but Rollercoaster is the true gem on the album. It showed a real improvement in Mark Hoppus’s ability to create a melodic song while still retaining a classic Blink style, a big reason they’ve been able to sustain popularity for so long.
3. Adam’s Song
A silly pop punk band that wore cargo shorts, wrote songs about genitals and parodied boy bands in their music videos was maybe not the ideal candidate to create a touching, relatable song about depression and suicide. But with Adam’s Song, Blink-182 successfully showed that they could make a serious song if need be. Treating the content with empathy and depth, Blink did an excellent job of tapping into how a person feels at their lowest. The big picture thoughts and the little random thoughts that trickle in as well.
2. What Went Wrong
Most of Blink-182’s bonus tracks for albums tend to be about lewd sexual acts, but very occasionally they also offered a softer look into the minds of the songwriters. What Went Wrong was only on some copies of Take Off Your Pants and Jacket, but is perhaps Tom DeLonge’s best song, strumming an acoustic guitar and singing simply about the aftermath of a break-up, feeling alone, not wanting to hear happy songs, and wondering what went wrong.
The song you think of when you think of Blink-182 tends to depend on age. For a lot of older fans, Dammit is that song. Arguably, it’s the song that put them on the map, the first single of theirs to make waves on the charts. And in classic Blink fashion, it’s one of the catchiest songs you’ll ever hear.