22 July, 2011

It's Friday: Let's Piss Off Blink 182!

Despite my mother's two entries this week for "chicken lips" and "hat size", my brother has won this week's piss off with "Blink 182".
Where to begin, where to begin? This ought to be like shooting fish in a barrel...
I remember when I first became aware of Blink: It was the "Dammit" single which, according to the infallible bastion of knowledge that is Wikipedia, came out in '97, so basically the same year I bought my first car.

'85 Caprice, baby.
"Dammit", gotta tell you, is actually pretty strong. Just a lean pop-punk sound that was kind of the norm for '97. And let me tell you, in '97, if you wanted to radio you had to pick between molested-rock like Korn (which featured seven string guitars to play one chord) or cheeky pop-punk like Blink 182. Considering that Korn sounded like a flat tire on the highway and all the lyrics were about some existential agony from being molested, I naturally favored Blink becuase, fuck, "Dammit" had a tune to it at least. I could sort of relate to those lyrics. The narrator was flawed and sympathetic. And, so, yeah, "Dammit" was my jam for a while.
And then Blink 182 had to fuck that up for me in 1999. They were not by any stretch on their way to becoming a favorite band of mine, no. They were just better than the half the shit that was better than the other half of shit that was on the radio (my car didn't have a cassette deck, understand). But, still, they had to fuck that up for me and put out "What's my Age Again?"
Now, really. What a clumsily constructed sentence. "What's my age?" "What's my age?" Not "how old am I?" Nobody asks "what's my age?" It's "how old am I?"
And if you think I'm just nitpicking a song for the semantics (I'm not entirely sure that's the word I need; Dave, look that up), try listening to the song. Just to make it palatable, try this version:
What a stupid jerk off song on account of stupid jerk off lyrics. They had me going for a minute: I thought I found a band who, while I may never buy any of their records or sport their t-shirts, was decent enough to unashamedly crank the volume a little higher for in the car but now? Now? No. Now I was going to look like a class-A jerk off if I did anything other than flip over to the classic rock block lunch hour of power on some dick off classic rock station when Blink 182 came on.
I get that a band has only so much responsibility to their fans; that they have to please themselves first and foremost but, really, this was abominable. So when "All the Small Things" came out in 2000, it was hardly a worthwhile apology for slinging bullshit into the airwaves. Beside that, I was nineteen by then and my punk diet was a strict one of Big Black, Jesus Lizard, and Scratch Acid. I knew what the fuck real punk was (because we all know what "real" punk is at nineteen) and it sure as fuck wasn't Blink. Imagine a cage. Imagine putting two bands in said cage. In one corner, you have a band that won a Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Award and put out a record with a bull's balls on the cover:
In the other corner you have a band that no one in their right minds would let a child hear and put out a record with a cover that looks like this:

And you should seriously listen to it if you haven't already.
NOW... which band seems like it would win a punk rock cage match? Bear in mind that I'm completely aware of how juvenile and cheesy it is to play the "Who's more punk?" game. But really. Really.
Blink 182 couldn't compete for my attention anymore and for the most part, I just listened to the classic rock station in the car anymore. I was aware of "Adam's Song", though, and it slowly dragged me back into Blink's world. To this day, I'll defend that song as being a great piece of music. But it wasn't enough. It didn't make up for the fact "What's my Age Again?" essentially turned them into a hokey-jokey band. There was no coming back from it. And the lame duck that was the "Rock Show" single didn't help. "First Date" was a sugary sweet bit of power pop but it was in no way punk. Not even close to being recognizable as a punk tune.
Now I know it's a tried and tired argument about bands being on major labels not being punk and we can argue about that some other time (you know, since the Ramones were on Sire; the Sex Pistols were on Virgin and Warner Bros after getting booted from EMI; Television was on Elektra before going to Capitol; the Clash were on CBS; Talking Heads were on Sire, Warner, and EMI; the New York Dolls were on Mercury, Roadrunner, and Atco; the Stooges were on Elektra and Columbia; and so on and so forth), it wasn't for me so much that Blink was on a major, it was that Blink was playing so damnably aware of being on a major. They weren't playing skate-friendly pop-punk so much as they were playing radio-friendly power pop. It just was not punk music anymore. It was about as punk as that time Green Day did that schmaltzy, horrible, rectal prolapse inducing "time of your life" or whatever bullshit.
The pop punk bands were dying, they were turning into dinosaurs and buying mansions and Mazeratis and shit. Mark fucking Hoppus is on Home and Garden TV ferfucksake:

OK, admittedly, that's a nice place.
I felt like I was witnessing the nadir of a scene I was never a part of and didn't know what to think of it. Then along came Sum 41 (read "Blink 182 v2.0") and I was sure of it: Pop-punk and all of its songs about high school and kissing girls and poo-poo humor was dead, killed by word-number name bands. I would never know the joy of pop-punk but my brother was fairly into it, though he was coming into it at a point where things had reached their lowest depression, at least the way I saw it, and I happily went about my way thinking of what a joke the whole MTV corporate punk scene was while listening to Scratch Acid.
I guess what I'm getting at is
This has to be on a t-shirt.

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