Or, The Five Stages of Grief, Accepting Tom DeLonge’s Blink-182 Departure, and Reluctantly Liking California
When I heard the news of Tom Delonge’s departure from Blink-182, I went through the five stages of grief: the denial, anger, bargaining, and finally, depression. Why should I even bother listening to a Blink-182 album that Tom Delonge isn’t a part of? Then I reached step five–acceptance.
This phase began on an unexpected morning, when a coworker announced a trending topic on Facebook: “Tom DeLonge Left Blink-182 to Study Aliens.” I’ve deemed this the ONLY acceptable reason for him to leave the band. He’s off to find evidence of something he’s believed in for ages and prove us earthlings wrong. We should have seen this coming. On the Greatest Hits album, there is a live recording of “Aliens Exist.” Before the song kicks off, Tom states, “I’ve been abducted. And probed in the anus. On purpose.” Then he goes on to sing about his certainty of alien existence, and how he wishes people would believe him.
Despite my newfound acceptance of the idea of the new band, I still had a feeling that I was going to resent California. I chuckled to myself when “Bored to Death” was released as a single, because I had a hunch that I’d be bored to death listening to it. Then came the second single, “No Future.” Ha! This was almost too easy of a set up. BLINK-182 HAS NO FUTURE! I was prepared to utterly hate the album and leave behind a trail of angry tweets.
“Old Blink-182” fucked around on stage before they performed. They playing seemingly impromptu songs like “The Blowjob Song.” Tom introduced it by saying “This is an ode, a tribute, to oral sex for guys and for girls. Even if you don’t wanna hear it you might as well act enthusiastic ‘cause you don’t really have a choice.” The song went something like, “It would be nice to have a blowjob, it would be nice to have a blowjob” repeated about 20 times.
I’m scared. Is Blink going to lose this sense of silliness? In case you’re a Blink fan who’s been living under a rock, I should explain that Matt Skiba, formerly of Alkaline Trio, has replaced DeLonge as a co-vocalist alongside Mark Hoppus. Honestly, I can’t really picture Skiba singing such a silly song, am I right? However, it’d be ignorant to dismiss the fact that Skiba is actually a very talented vocalist and guitarist. He’s much more than just a newbie who came out of nowhere to join legendary Hoppus and Travis Barker.
You see, much of the charm of the “Old Blink-182” was their weird, random lyrics that sounded like they were the first things that came to mind and they sort of rhymed. Then they were written down and it just worked. Underrated 1994 jam “M&Ms” goes: “Buy some candy and cigarettes and we’ll get in my car / We’ll blast the stereo and we’ll drive to Madagascar.” A Real Music Critic would bash these lyrics for being silly and amateur—but they capture a feeling of carefree youth, bliss, and puppy love. This is what music is supposed to do: make us feel something, remember something, connect to something.
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