Alt Rock Classic: Untitled (2003) by blink-182
American rock band blink-182’s eponymous “Blink-182
” (claimed to be Untitled by contradicting sources) was their fifth album. Released on 18 November 2003 by Geffen Records, it was preceded by a long break and regroup that allowed the band to have a new sound that would metamorphose in the album’s chart-peaking hits “Feeling This” and “I Miss You.” It was blink-182’s final recording with longtime producer Jerry Finn and their last work before another long break.
Ever since the band’s introduction to stardom due to the success of their 2001 album “Take Off Your Pants and Jacket,” guitarist Tom DeLonge struggled with label limitations, and formed “Box Car Racer” to explore a new sound, which resulted in the main band stagnating. It seemed as if Blink-182 had broken up due to every member pursuing different projects. However, this period proved useful as it inspired them to create a new album. They rented a luxurious house in San Diego in January 2003 to record the album, and were eventually kicked out. This led them to continue recording at Rolling Thunder studios until they left to perform summer shows in Canada and Japan.
The recording process lasted from August 2003 to October, which allowed the band to experiment with many different tools and instruments. Thus, Untitled (or blink-182’s) fresh sound was born.
The album starts out with “Feeling This,” whose flanged drums recorded by using two tape machines already hints at blink-182’s new and revised punk rock sound. Led Zeppelinesque eight-note triplets combined with DeLonge’s loud off-key vocals truly give that angsty yet mature rock feel that this album is going for. Other songs combine elements of grunge, alt rock hip hop and punk and create a beautiful album that portrays a more mature blink-182 with songs that express relationship issues, sadness and anxiety. Bursting guitars, creative drum fills and surging background instruments create profound emotions that are reminiscent of emo punk. In addition, the band’s usage of different tools such as bells, organs, turntables, tape machines etc. are utilized throughout the album to achieve its pensive mood. This diversity doesn’t affect continuity, as each song adds onto each other lyrically and musically. The themes of deep sorrow and longing are present in each song, yet every piece is still original.
A recurring feeling in the album is its darkness, which might have something to do with the Iraq War. DeLonge’s brother was in the Navy, and he described his experience of being surrounded with news of war and having a brother in peril in an MTV interview stating, "it was so weird because we'd all be glued to the TV, watching these bombs explode over another country. So I'd see all this and wonder where he was at, and then we'd have to go into the next room and sing or finish writing lyrics. I think it affected our moods throughout the day."
Whatever the reason may be, fact remains that Untitled brings us a more mature blink-182, and each song is a worthy listen.