Blink 182 – Greatest Hits (2005)

Posted: March 1, 2011 in Music

First rule of greatest-hits albums: start things off with a bang, not a song that takes about a minute to get off the ground, and about 80 seconds before the vocals kick in. “Carousel” may be a chronologically accurate way to begin Blink-182’s Greatest Hits, yet it gets things off to a slow start — but then again, Blink-182 hardly sped out of the gate themselves. It took them a long time to get up to speed — it wasn’t until their third album, 1997’s Dude Ranch, that they developed a flair for sugary pop hooks, as evidenced by that album’s “Dammit,” not just their first big hit, but their first memorable song. It was enough to buy them a ticket to the big leagues and their next album, 1999’s Enema of the State, turned into a blockbuster, thanks to the crossover Top Ten hit “All the Small Things,” an incessantly catchy, irresistible slice of bubblegum-pop that sounded at ease sandwiched between *NSYNC and Britney Spears on Y2K radio.

This, as Greatest Hits proves, was both Blink-182’s blessing and curse: they had the ability to turn out some great pop singles, but when they missed the mark, they sounded lightweight and disposable. This wasn’t just true of their defiantly stupid party songs, of which there were many; even such brooding, angst-ridden teenage melodramas as “Adam’s Song” seem a little lightweight and transient. Of course, the band was helped neither by its crystal-clear, super-slick production — which was the antithesis of punk — or by the thin, whiny edge of vocalists Mark Hoppus and Tom Delonge — which tended to make even serious themes seem like frivolous adolescent concerns.

Over the long run, these two factors tend to undercut whatever snotty charms Blink-182 may have had, particularly because their writing tended to be hit or miss, to the extent that even this Greatest Hits is uneven. It may have all their best songs — “Dammit” and “All the Small Things” in particular, plus “Josie,” “What’s My Age Again?,” “The Rock Show,” and “Stay Together for the Kids” — but at 17 songs, including the previously unreleased “Not Now” and a cover of the Only Ones’ “Another Girl Another Planet” taken from the MTV reality series starring drummer Travis Barker and Shanna Moakler, his Playmate wife, this runs a little long.

The collection may have all their charting singles, but its generous length tends to highlight Blink-182’s weaknesses instead of their strengths. That said, the group did set the standard for pop-punk’s commercialization at the turn of the millennium, and not only were they better than the sound-alikes that followed, they did have some good tunes, all of which are best heard on this intermittently entertaining collection.

Blink-182 has put all their side projects on hold (including Angels and Airwaves, a favorite of this author). After a successful reunion tour in 2009/2010, the band promises a new release with all three original members sometime in 2011. Will they return to their punk roots, or put out an album filled with over-produced schmaltzy radio songs? Stay tuned to the nutwork, and we’ll let you know first…

Track List:
1. Carousel
2. M+M’s
3. Dammit
4. Josie
5. What’s My Age Again
6. All The Small Things
7. Adam’s Song
8. Man Overboard
9. The Rock Show
10. First Date
11. Stay Together For The Kids
12. Feeling This
13. I Miss You
14. Down
15. Always
16. Not Now
17. Another Girl Another Planet
18. Alien exist (live in LA)

MySpace: Link | Wiki: Link | Download (256kbps): Link

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