Sound — 7
I am a Blink-182 fan, they are one of my favourite bands.I find them appealing for they're songs with catchy guitar riffs. This album is the bands first after they returmed from a 4 year hiatus. It incorporates much of the style that guitarist/vocalist Tom DeLonge pursued in his band Angels And Airwaves (AVA) and some of bassist/vocalist Mark Hoppus and drummer Travis Barker's style in their own project +44. I believe they took a huge risk in getting back together and self-producing an album that would not be considered "classic Blink" by hardcore fans. Their previous pop-punk influences of Screeching Weasel and Green Day have been replaced by the mature stylings of The Cure and U2 (with small trinkets of Coldplay and The Killers). The band recorded this album split between two studios as DeLonge and Hoppus were not fully cooperating. As a result many of the songs sound mashed together however in my opinion this has somehow worked out in "Neighbourhoods". This album will again, like their self titled 2003 album force the listener to say "that's Blink!?" but has jumped back at critics who described their old pop-punk style as too easy on the ear or childish. As a Blink fan who has all their albums when I first heard the first single "Up All Night" I was silently disappointed. Before hearing the song I was adamant I would buy the album the first day it came out. But I then waited and after first listening to it, I left it alone. However after a second listen it grew on me and now its on replay every day!
Lyrics — 8
Dark... Not Blink. Not even their 2003 album. There's no longing after the 'girl who got away'. Its been replaced by death and visions of bleak landscapes. This is evident in the songs "Ghosts On The Dance Floor" and "Hearts All Gone". Obvious signs of the sigh* maturity of the band. However is this a bad thing? Come on! Who wants to see Blink-182 in ten years with wrinkles on viagra talking about going into her room and taking of her clothes. They've taken time to mature but pulled it off gracefully. But wait! Songs such as "MH 4.18.2011" with its catchy pre-chorus sounding similar to early Green Day or even Bowling For Soup, and also "Natives" (or Anthem Pt. Three as I now call it) both restore confidence to the Blink fan that they can still write lyrics about teenage rebellion and their feeling of hopelessness. Tunes like "This Is Home" and "After Midnight" contain the lofty visions of space that AVA could relate to more that +44 and its called into question whether Tom's obvious dominance throughout the whole album lyrically is Marks desire to reform the bond within Blink. The Singing, you can expect Tom's new style of ornamenting his vocals which takes getting used to and Mark's typical powerful voice to lift spirits. I was disappointed to hear Mark doesn't have any catchy choruses such as in "Feeling This" but "MH 4.18.2011" is close. "Love Is Dangerous" is probably the best example of the bands (AVA and +44) collaboration lyrically and the chorus shows where I think should continue in the direction of.
Overall Impression — 6
It took my two listens to get into this album. Unfortunately this is one too many to be considered "popular music". I was actually sickened at their direction and couldn't bring myself to listen to it, but when "Kaleidoscope" found its way into "shuffle" on my iPod the Pandoras box that us "Neighborhoods" was opened. Its not an album for new listeners to pop-punk and may only appeal to Blink fans. But it does show promise of the punk scene today. Most impressive songs? "MH.4.18.2011". It's the only song that even resembles the Blink-182 sound many fans first were first attracted to, catchy and fast. I can hear samples of everything from The Wombats to Green Day and U2, but your own musical interests will determine who you think this album sounds like. As I said, this album was recorded in two different studios and by two different minds. I love how Tom's new style of guitar and singing has pulled off harmony with Marks rhythmic voice and Travis' super drum technique. But this is also what I hate about the album. Too much influence from Tom and not enough Mark, and what we got from Mark is not as strong as it once was. If this album was stolen I would not buy it again, I would get it off a friend. In fact that is what I would recommend to anyone going to buy this album, to get a sample and if you like it go ahead and help the band by buying the CD. It's not for everyone though it hurts to say it, the big question is... Where will they go from here?