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Monday, December 24, 2012

Album Review - Blink-182 - Dogs Eating Dogs (EP)

After splitting with their record label and becoming an independent music group, the first thing Tom DeLonge, Mark Hoppus, and Travis Barker did was go into the studio and record....together. I say this because the band really hasn't been through this process since the self-titled release in 2003. "Neighborhoods" from 2011 was put together via emails/meet-ups and Blink-182 never really got into a studio and recorded with each other. I think the fact that they were able to do so gave this EP a certain personality that neighborhoods simply was devoid of. The intimacy of making music TOGETHER is one that can never be matched creatively by any type of writing process.

The EP starts off a bit ominously to all hardcore Blink fans. The beginning of "When I Was Young" utilizes the rather mellow, synthetic vibe that Tom Delonge seemingly fell in love with during his time with Angel and Airwaves. About a minute in, the song immediately picks up and turns into a really fast paced anthem with heavy hi-hat sixteenth notes. Tom Delonge has some great lyrics here, and it once again shows how he has evolved through his career as a songwriter. The chorus then bursts into an emotional release. Delonge screams "It's the worst damn day. (Doesn't hurt that much)." This song is a stand-out on the EP for sure.

"Dogs Eating Dogs", with its frantic drum parts, passionate vocals, and high energy is Blink-182's salute to the fans who have stayed since "Cheshire Cat" or "Dude Ranch". It is pop-punk to the very root of the word. All the parts to this song work very well. As I said before, Travis is all over the place with his fills in the pre-chorus and especially the bridge. Anytime Mark Hoppus sings a Blink song, I always love it. Partially because of his voice but because the music of this band is just so suited for his voice. As per almost all of the songs here, Tom and Mark alternate between verse and chorus. When the chorus rolls around, it sort of suppresses the high energy that the verse establishes. Sure enough it picks up again each verse, but it still takes something away from this song that it really needed.

The third track, "Disaster", is in my opinion the weakest track on this album. It isn't bad, it's just boring. It starts with some low-tempo syths, effected drums, and Mark Hoppus simply uttering "Disaster... Disaster". It then picks ups the pace a little bit, but it just sounds like an Angels and Airwaves song at a higher tempo. I kind of enjoyed it, but there was simply no quirk or feature that made me love it.

Next is the single, "Boxing Day". This one of those songs that you can really only enjoy as you listen to it more. I hated this song when Blink-182 released it, but I have come around. Maybe it's the holiday spirit in me, I don't fucking know. Obviously, this acoustic, yuletide carol is nothing that we have ever seen from these pop-punk delinquents before, but I am always a fan of experimentation. This song is very catchy, very mellow, and very appropriate for the Holiday theme. Simply compare this to "Happy Holidays, You Bastard" from 2001. Wow. What a fucking change.

"Pretty Little Girl" will have the most people talking for sure. People are going to get really angry that the rapper, Yelawolf, has one verse on this song but I don't think that they really have a right to. First of all, this song was absolutely wonderful even before Yelawolf's part hit. The drums were really playful around muted guitar picking, and steady rhythm. Also, the chorus once again is really emotional and Tom DeLonge sings very well. Then comes Yelawolf. I will be honest, as I have thought about this more and more, I am now almost okay with the idea of bringing a rapper onto this EP. I mean it's only an EP and he only has one verse. So it isn't like the band has totally embraced this type of idea. I will say that this idea would have worked better if Yelawolf could actually rap. Because he cannot. His lyrics so unbelievably cheesy and meaningless. Plus, his voice is just irritating to me. Seriously? "When your words are like more than just sticks and stones. Kinda like a bullet". What the fuck does that mean, and why would you rap about that in the first place. Before Yelawolf came in, this was my favorite song on the EP and although I didn't hate the idea of bringing a rapper on a Blink-182 song, I hated the execution of it. A LOT.

Overall, Blink 182's 2012 EP,  "Dogs Eating Dogs" was pretty good. It had the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. My favorite song was "When I Was Young" and my least favorite was "Disaster". Overall, I like most of the EP but there were parts that I didn't enjoy very much. But, that's the thing about blink-182. They tend to take so many different directions that it is natural not to enjoy some parts of what they do. The beautiful thing about this band is that there is always SOMETHING worth listening to. I'm so glad they are still around and making music because. People can say whatever the fuck they want but I will never stop enjoying their music.

Final Score - 7.5 / 10  Solid EP.