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Blink-182 is back with reunion record 'One More Time'

SCOTT DETROW, HOST:

The year is 2023. Blink-182 has a new album out. And I find myself asking, what is my age again?

(SOUNDBITE OF BLINK-182 SONG, "ANTHEM PART 3")

DETROW: The record is called "One More Time...," and it is the first from their classic lineup in 12 years - the same three members who landed those pop-punk hits in the late '90s and early 2000s. So we need to know. How is it? Do they try too hard? Do they get all the small things right? Stephen Thompson from NPR Music and NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour had a listen and joins us now. Hey, Stephen.

STEPHEN THOMPSON, BYLINE: Hey. How's it going?

DETROW: When I think Blink-182, I think me in 1999. And to really set the late '90s motif, I had, that summer, dyed my hair an Eminem marmalade...

THOMPSON: Wow.

DETROW: ...Which - yeah, listening to "Enema Of The State" on my Discman and, at that point in my life, knowing every single lyric to that album. And I will say, though, as big as they were in my brain at that point in time, I have not been listening to much since. What have they been up to since the early 2000s, when they were such a big deal?

THOMPSON: They've been kind of breaking up and getting back together and reforming with different lineups. And so what really stands out about this record is that it's that core lineup that fans of the band kind of know and love the best - Mark Hoppus, Tom DeLonge and Travis Barker. And, you know, they've been through an extraordinary amount of kind of major life experiences. Travis Barker was almost killed in a plane crash. Mark Hoppus survived cancer. You know, they've gone through a lot of big, sweeping changes, and they don't shy away from addressing that on this record.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ONE MORE TIME")

BLINK-182: (Singing) I wish they told us it shouldn't take a sickness or airplanes falling out the sky. Do I have to die to hear you miss me? Do I have to die to hear you say goodbye?

DETROW: Is this a more mature album? Are there songs that aren't about kind of the, you know, cringy lyrics of their past lives?

THOMPSON: I think one of the core messages of Blink-182 has been that you never really 100% fully outgrow adolescence. You can feel romantically awkward. You can be sexually frustrated. You can laugh at stupid jokes, you know? And just because you're 30, 40, 50 years old, you're not immune to teenage feelings.

DETROW: Anything surprising on this album?

THOMPSON: I think one thing that jumps out is the fact that once you get through this barrage of early singles, it settles into a second half that is a little bit more subdued and kind of playing around with Blink-182's sound a little bit.

(SOUNDBITE OF BLINK-182 SONG, "BLINK WAVE")

THOMPSON: There's a song called "Blink Wave." The title's sort of a play on new wave. And the song kind of kicks off with these chilly keyboards that give you just a different sense of the kind of music these guys have been listening to in the last few years.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BLINK WAVE")

BLINK-182: (Singing) And on and on, we're torn apart and strung along. Yeah, we tried but never could escape the long goodbye.

DETROW: There was a time when this pop-punk music dominated the charts. It was all you saw on MTV. That moment feels long gone. Like, how do you think Blink fits into the really genre-defining music, the pop culture-defining music of right now?

THOMPSON: Well, I think it's worth noting that Blink-182 was a pretty major influence on a lot of the rock bands that are currently popular. I hear echoes of Blink-182 in the sounds of Fall Out Boy, and Fall Out Boy is still all over the radio. There is still a healthy audience for music with big, crunchy guitars and big hooks and riffs. It's whether it kind of crosses over into pop or not, I guess, is the question.

DETROW: That is Stephen Thompson from NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour. The new Blink-182 album is "One More Time..." Stephen, I hope you don't think less of me now that you know that I once had blond hair.

THOMPSON: If anything, Scott, I think more of you.

DETROW: (Laughter).

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ANTHEM PART 3")

BLINK-182: (Singing) Everything that we've tried - we'll keep waking up to that light. We'll see rising of a new tide. We are starting up a new life. When your head is hanging too low, when your heart is about to explode, you can make it anywhere. Go. There's no fear when you get here. Give up that ghost. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Stephen Thompson
Stephen Thompson is a host, writer and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist and guest host on All Songs Considered. Thompson also co-hosts the daily NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created with NPR's Linda Holmes in 2010. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)