Sound — 8
"Neighborhoods" is definitely an album for fans of Blink-182's self-titled album from 8 years ago. Only the faintest traces of their pop-punk sound remain and they're now better classified as an alternative pop rock band. Still, that's not a bad thing, and their more polished sound seems like a natural progression for the band. This album sounds less like "Enema Of The State" and more like a combination of Angels And Airwaves and +44, the bands Mark, Tom and Travis filled while blink was on hiatus. All of them completely embrace the styles that they've carved out for themselves over their career and, clearly, this is the best musicianship Blink has ever had. This record isn't as experimental as their previous album and there doesn't really seem to be much filler, so for the most part, the album turned out quite well.
Lyrics — 7
Both Tom and Mark's voices have changed over the past eight years. Tom's singing is more stylistic than ever, really setting himself apart from any other singer in rock, and Mark almost seems to be struggling a little more than he did in classics like "What's My Age Again?" and "Adam's Song". The album's best songs are the ones on which they share several lead vocal parts, like "Up All Night" and "After Midnight". While their sound has taken on a very different vibe from their older material, their lyrics have as well. The subject matter is no longer teen angst and girls, but rather life's hardship ("Do you want me here? As I struggle through each and every year") and death, which is to be expected, seeing as it was tragedy that brought the band back together. Let's put it this way - none of the songs on this album start with the words, "I wanna f--k a dog in the a-s". The lyrics surely aren't bad and the common thread throughout each song kind of connects the album nicely, but it also lacks the trademark wit and humor that Blink's lyrics used to be chock-full of. That kind of style wouldn't really fit anymore, however, so although I'm sad to see them almost lose their sense of humor, they're new style works.
Overall Impression — 8
Much to most peoples' chagrins, blink has matured, even more so than they did in their 2003 album. They're sensitive, deep and have said good bye to their punk years, but they still know how to put together a decent album. The upbeat tunes on the record are vastly superior to the downbeat, almost mournful ones, but their sadder songs are still by no means bad. If you don't buy the whole thing, check out "Up All Night", "Heart's All Gone", and "After Midnight". They're worth a download.