Written by Julie Vega
Three years since Blink-182 released California, the trio came back with their thrilling eighth record, NINE. So ready to release it, they released five singles off the record. Blink-182 left their fans with less excitement for NINE as almost half of the album released. However, Blink did surprise us with this record as its filled with bops, but still lacked in areas of evolving their sound.
The First Time starts NINE with a great introduction. The beginning reminds me a lot of Feeling This, which gave me the impression of what this album would sound like. I can definitely state that Matt Skiba has finally found his place in Blink-182 as his voice is more passionate and loud compared to in California. I wished Blink released The First Time as the first single than Blame It On The Youth. When Blink first released Blame It On The Youth, fans had mixed reactions. It sounded so generic and didn’t make me excited for NINE. Listening to the song now in NINE, I feel somewhat the same about it. It’s an okay song, but the song doesn’t stand out nor does it make the album any better.
Again, there isn’t a constant trend in NINE. From Blame It On The Youth, a slow, soft paced beat, to Generational Divide, a fast, heavy beat. Generational Divide is the shortest song on the record being only 49 seconds, it’s definitely a filler song. I don’t understand why Blink released this as a single, but it gave the fans ( and me ) some hope that NINE would sound somewhat like this. Following Generational Divide came Run Away, another slow melody. Mark Hoppus’ idleness vocals felt as if the song was boring him. Skiba, however, really saved the song with his dynamic, loud vocals. Likewise in I Really Wish I Hated You, Hoppus’ vocals still were slow and had no effort whatsoever to make the song a bit more pleasing. Blink had some hit or misses in NINE like Pin The Grenade. The song had a lot of potential as Travis Barker’s drumming invested me into the chorus. However, lyrically, the song isn’t unique. It’s a generic love song. The same can go towards Ransom, but I still have mixed feelings about the song. Hoppus’ auto tuned vocals in the beginning set me off for a moment, yet again, Skiba’s vocals appearing did make the song a bit more pleasurable. Additionally, Hungover You reminded me a lot of Ransom in terms of different vocal ranges. However, I felt Hoppus’ and Skiba’s vocals were perfectly fitting in this song. But the bass towards the end of the song felt so unnecessarily loud.
I cannot lie and say I didn’t leave this album without enjoying some songs. Darkside was released as a single and I truly enjoyed it. The music video for the song didn’t make sense and I still feel Blink could’ve had a different approach. I was honestly taken aback when I first listened to No Heart To Speak Of. Skiba’s powerful vocals gave No Heart To Speak Of a deeper and impactful meaning. Towards the end of the song, Skiba’s driving voice reminded me so much of Alkaline Trio. Like I said before, Skiba was still trying to find his voice in Blink-182 and in No Heart To Speak Of, I believe he found his voice. I’m definitely torn between Black Rain and On Some Emo Shit as my third favorite on the album. They both stand out as completely different songs, but they connect to me on the same emotional level. In Black Rain, Skiba’s mournful vocals gave me the impression that this song will be sad. However, the change in chorus and rhythm changed that. While On Some Emo Shit, I was really expecting an emo song! Instead, I got a pop punk ballad which isn’t bad. I enjoyed both songs, but they were both lacking lyrically which conflicted me.
NINE closes with the somber, yet haunting Remember To Forget Me. The chorus fills with Hoppus’ and Skiba’s broken vocals, as this is the end of their troubles. Out of all the songs in NINE, this one feels the most personal. The rest of the album felt a mix of break up and cheesy love songs.While Remember To Forget Me leaves us with remembering all the times we messed up and want to fix our troubles. The piano closing out of the song really solidified the ending of the album. All in all, the trio realized what they lacked in California and incorporated that into NINE. Skiba was able to break his shell and put full effort into this record. Without Skiba in this record, I felt NINE would’ve have been as great. NINE had a lot of potential to grow and I’m happy to see that. However, a lot of the songs felt out of place compared to the tune of the album. I highly suggest listening to NINE whenever or not you’re a Blink-182 fan, I strongly believe this album is great for new listeners.