I wrote this for my creative writing class a couple of years ago. I was still dazed and giddy from the Blink reunion (which was announced that night), so I decided to write about them.
To Mark, Tom, and Travis
I’ve known you for almost half my life so far And I want to thank you for the past ten years A decade you’ve filled with shock and awe And almost two hundred songs to grace my ears
One verse and one chorus was all that I needed From my musical rut, you set me free If you meant to inspire, then you succeeded You struck your chords, and they struck me
You stayed carefree and shameless even at twenty-three Stuck it to the man with sticks and guitars in hand Set curse words aflame and streaked down the streets This attitude, this sound launched a thousand bands
Two records later, you were invincible, it seemed Then came the news I refused to comprehend Forever, my eyes were locked on that screen That cold February morning when you announced your end
From then on, I sang along with a thorn in my side Knowing we could never again sing these songs together It’s felt like plus forty-four years since the music died Your angels and airwaves vowed to never surrender
You never unplugged the amps, you continued to play Except now there were new names and two friends against one Separate tours, separate stages, these new bands—here to stay But neither could top what you had promised was done
Soon messages spread, cryptic and viral Constant hints and rumors of your triumphant return My hopeful mind began to spin and spiral Four years to my loss, the truth I’d learn
My heart swelled as you three took the stage once more I prayed that this moment wouldn’t be the last Then came the news I had been wishing for It was official – Blink was back!
1. Somewhere At The Bottom Of The River Between Vega And Altair - La Dispute
This record is fucking life-changing. It completely raised the bar for what I consider to be quality writing and musicianship. I can feel every word, every note. The way Jordan delivers each line is very deliberate and absolutely unreal; one second, he’s frantically screaming, and the next, he’s calmly reflecting, almost at a whisper. The frailty in his voice is so unique and just intensifies the passion in these songs. The music is intricate and composed so well that I can actually hear Poe’s heart drop in “Fall Down, Never Get Back Up Again”. I can feel the room spinning in “Andria”. And oh God, the lyrics. The lyrics! They read like a novel, and I have never been so absorbed in analyzing a record in my life. They’re riddled with literary references and alliteration and rhyming that would give my AP Lit teacher a heart attack from pure joy. Certain songs are connected as responses to each other, and the entire album comes full circle as the drums that trailed off during the opening song return as the closer begins. There isn’t a single dull moment, not even in “The Last Lost Continent”, which lasts for 12 minutes. Seriously, this is my favorite record of ALL TIME, and I highly recommend that you listen to it now if you haven’t already. You will be inspired. I swear I could go on forever about this band, haha.
2. Commit This To Memory - Motion City Soundtrack
Another record that I consider to be perfect. I’ve been listening to this band since I was fourteen, and I still firmly believe that this is the best album they’ve ever released. Justin Pierre’s lyrics are always a trip to read. I feel like he writes in a way so that we’ll grasp what he’s saying 95% at the most. The last 5% is for him. Only he will ever know the true meaning behind certain lines, and it’s intended to be theraputic for him rather than entertaining or relatable for us. I hope that made sense to someone, haha. I’m sure this is the case for a lot of lyricists, but I feel like Justin stands out because there are always a few lines in every song that abruptly reference memories or people, but he never really elaborates on them. And the 95% of the lyrics that I try to understand are totally beautiful. This record was produced by Mark Hoppus, and I’m eternally grateful for that. I will always remember the interview where Matt Taylor said, “There were a couple parts where he recommended dropping the vocals and only having them instrumental. Basically, as he puts it, letting our music breathe a little.” There are so many perfect examples of this throughout the record, especially the bridge of “Time Turned Fragile”. It’s one of those moments in music where you have to just sit back and take it all in. (That’s what she said.) Again, not a single dull moment. No filler. Just damn incredible songs.
3. Untitled - Blink-182
I’ll be honest. The reason this isn’t number 2 is because I’m not a fan of The Fallen Interlude. I am a horrible person. But aside from that, this record is my favorite out of Blink’s entire catalog. If you haven’t read the liner notes, definitely get on that. They describe the recording process for each song, and I admire the lengths they went to to capture certain moods and effects. Also, it’s interesting to hear the songs, then read what the band intended to convey: “The lyrics I wrote in Down are about a picture I had in my head of a boy and girl inside of a car while it’s raining outside. So I pictured over and over rain falling on the windshield while this guy is saying and thinking these things about wanting to kiss her and make her stay.” Untitled is definitely darker (both in tone and subject matter) than their previous albums, but their hooks are effortless as always. They took their usual power chord formula to a new level. It’s the record that people didn’t know Blink was capable of making. I hope they can top this.
4. The Upsides - The Wonder Years
I will never forget the first time I listened to this record. It was a rainy afternoon in January. January 21st, to be exact. I had just gotten home from school, and the preorder package was waiting for me in the mailbox. I ran into the house, ripped the package open, and immediately changed out of my rain-soaked hoodie and into my warm, brand new TWY hoodie. My friend Beverly called a few minutes later, and we decided to head out to Greenbrier Mall and listen to the record on the way. By the time we got out on the road, it was nightfall, and along with the street lights and the pouring rain, hearing Soupy sing “I’m not sad anymore, I’m just tired of this place…” nearly brought me to tears. The wait was so absolutely worth it. Soupy is one of my favorite writers. The way he writes is very conversational, but so honest and biting that his words can shake you or inspire you. The hooks in every song are fluid and natural, which is something that many bands can’t seem to pull off. You don’t need to pump your fist to look sweet, but god dammit, I can’t help but do so everytime I listen to The Upsides.
5. Mutiny! - Set Your Goals
Set Your Goals changed everything I thought about pop/punk. It was really the first time I was introduced to the concept of gang vocals at this…frequency. It brought a sense of community and protest that I’d never really experienced with a band before. Lyrically, the whole record is pretty straight-forward, but the messages struck me so hard because they were able to say everything I’ve always wanted to say. In “This Song Is Definitely Not About A Girl”, they emphasize that people don’t know or even bother understanding what they’re singing along to sometimes: “Yeah, a catchy tune to you / But I am glad you’re enjoying yourselves / You sing it like you know it so well / So tell me what this song is about.” I think most people of this generation can relate to the religious issues in “An Old Book Misread”: “Organized crime comes in more forms than one / And your God is no exception.” Mutiny! promotes positivity, appreciating everything around you, and living for yourself.