Ruminations on TV Shows, Comics, And Music
Reimagined Blink-182 Discography In Seven Varied Albums & Two EPs, 4 & 5: Angels And Airwaves & The Heart's All Gone EP
When I started down the Blink-182 rabbit hole, I didn't expect much. The band started out heavily problematic but ages into boring. I knew this. Sure, they had some tracks here and there that I liked but seven albums and an ep worth? Well...no.
I knew the first two Angels & Airwaves albums pretty well, and assumed I would get two full albums out of their entire discography. It turned out to be one and a half. We'll do their first reimagined album, which is almost long enough to be a double album in this post. In the next post, they get a split album, something Angels And Airwaves never did during their career but Blink-182 did twice. It's when an album is shared by two related bands. They'll split the next one with Simple Creatures.
I hadn't even heard of Simple Creatures until a few hours ago. This was my loss. Much like Box Car Racer, they don't have a full album worth of awesome but they have enough material for an EP. In their case, though, I'm giving them the second half of the split album since Angel And Airwaves has one of Blink's lead singers and Simple Creatures has the other.
I also hadn't given a fair listen to Blink 182's output during the years that Tom DeLonge left the band for Angels And Airwaves. It's a solid, if short, album that's also coming up in the next post.
Basically, my ignorance was of the side projects and the alternate frontman, Matt Skiba from Alkaline Trio...no, I'm not including Alkaline Trio in this discography nor am I likely to get to their own discography anytime soon.
For this post, I present you with the grandoise double albumy Angel And Airwaves, and the EP length Heart's All Gone which showcases how exhausted the band was when they parted ways for a bit. It's a great EP but it's culled from some lifeless music that was neither very poppy nor very punky. I'm glad the members refreshed, got some side projects done, and were able to come back for their impending One More Time album.
IV. Angels And Airwaves
1. I was in a friend's car, on the way back from a poetry show when I heard a song on the radio that I thought might be a new U2 song until the vocals came in. "Is that the guy from Blink-182?" I asked, incredulously.
"Yea," my friend Brian said, "he's all classic rock now."
Sure enough, in the interviews at the time he's constantly comparing himself to Pink Floyd, Nirvana, U2, and other bands that Angels And Airwaves is clearly influenced by. I, uh, I like Angels And Airwaves but I don't think they'll ever be in my top fifty favorite bands. They are, however, a very interesting evolution of Blink-182's sound.
There's a military and space motif to this album, so a Call To Arms is a great place to start. It's got some Edge-like (the U2 guitarist) effect but the band doesn't sound at all derivative here, they sound like they're earnestly trying to sound epic, and they have the talent potential to maybe make it there.
2. Sirens muddies the sound a bit before some sharp guitar riffs cut through, and DeLonge's nose (that's mostly what he sings through) lets you know that the impending war metaphors are really about loving a girl and life being hard, which tracks with most of his songwriting.
3. & 4. DeLonge clearly has a narrative to the Angels And Airwaves albums. And while I can follow their themes, they're a bit repetetive for me to invest the time to research. Basically, though, there is a war...which is love...which is war, and the moon is somehow involved. The Moon Atomic apologizes for whatever it is that happened during the war that it somehow impacted the damned moon. The War lets us know that it wasn't just the moon and the tides that we destroyed, the ocean is on fire and lots of soliders are dead. DeLonge offers them no apologies, though. (Psst...don't worry, though, this is still a metaphorical war about someone who doesn't love him enough anymore.)
5. & 6. The thing about love is It Hurts. And since Sherri (oh, she gets a name!) cheated on our erstwhile narrative with her best friend. But the singer saw through it! Now he offers a Distraction to ... Sherri? Someone else he loves? It's unclear. But the song is very bouncy with more Edge guitar loops ringing beneath the surface.
7. & 8. Oh, oh oh, oh oh, oh oh, yo-oh. We've moved on to a new love interest who won him over in no time at all. The Gift of her love temporarily erases the whole war motif. But the gift is brief, soon we're back to being sad about war and the previous relationship during the messy but lyrics of the spacily catchy The Flight Of The Apollo.
9. Everything's Magic is our halfway point in this album, and it does something I enjoy. It asks more questions than it answers. To be fair, it mainly asks the same questions repeatedly. But I still enjoy it.
10. Inertia pushes us into the back half of the album. This track sounds like a B-side to one of U2's Unforgettable Fire b-sides. Right up until the climbing metal guitar riffs and nu-metal background effects. It's a distinct combo that pleasantly surprised me when I first heard it.
11. & 12. A little toy piano brings us back to apologizing for the war metaphor in Start The Machine. It drops us into some 80s drum tracks and synth loops in Breathe, which is a more overt love song tha anything we've encountered so far. The narrator not only says I love you he also entreats his love interest to come lay with me...until the end of time.
13. & 14. Wait...is the narrator a literal ghost? Is that why time seems to be shifting and he's constantly in love but also in war? Soul Survivor doesn't give any answers but I enjoy that it asks more questions. It's also very got a lovely bleep percussion, as does Lifeline, where DeLonge briefly drops his voice down an octave.
15. & 16. I'm sticking to the ghost narrator theory, since it makes it a little less creepy that he's been watching his love interest all her life in Clever Love. As the track's drum line fades out, we get more space effects and Edge-riffs for The Adventure but the lyrics about dreams and being willing to do anything to be with his love interest continue on.
17. & 18. Moon As My Witness, we're nearing the end here. We began with a call to arms, and we close out the album with a Surrender. It will shock you to learn that the surrender is to love. Oh oh oh oh oh / Yea ah oh oh oh oh oh / Yea ah oh oh oh oh oh / Yea ah oh oh oh oh oh (this time I feel it now)
V. Heart's All Gone
1. The Angels And Airwaves was all about love and solitude and dealing with relationships as though they were a war, and comparing isolation to being in space. Well Blink-182's Heart's All Gone is about being exhausted by fame and your bandmates. Which DeLonge seems better qualified to write about. We open with After Midnight, which references falling to Earth (after being in space for the end of the last album?) and then coming home after a show arm in arm with the person you love. It's sweet and, while certainly more serious than anything after Enema Of The State, it would fit thematically with All Grown Up And no Place To Go.
2. There's a long instrumental lead-up to Heart's All Gone which oozes with what DeLonge was trying to do with Angels & Airwaves. It's a spare buildup and then we actually get a bit of a return to punk for what feels like the first time in aeons. It's one of those songs where a famous rock star accused of selling out sings about how a different rock star has sold out for fame. It's absolutely a logical song choice for this band that's definitely on the edge of breaking up.
3. DeLonge doesn't have a monopoly on anxiety and feelings of loneliness in the band. Mark Hoppus gives us his perspective in When I Was Young.
4. Another Girl Another Planet is the oldest song on this album by far. It's from one of their Greatest Hits albums. It's got that turn of the millenium Blink energy. It's fun and poppy.
5. Hoppus's bass line drags us into Disaster. It also has some Angels & Airwaves vibes right down to the guitar effects and vocal distortion. But it has Hoppus on vocals as well as DeLonge. It's probably the best melding of their voices both creatively and melodically on this album.
6. Kaleidoscope also has Hoppus on vocals. The bass and guitar reflect the sadness of Hoppus's vocals but Travis Barker's perfect pop punk drums just refuse to let the listener be mopey.
7. Given their origin, and the lecherous nature of many rock stars, you wouldn't be wrong to be worried about a song called Pretty Little Girls by a band in their forties. But it's a song about being nineteen and in love with another nineteen year old and having one of those tumultuous relationships one has at nineteen when they're rock stars. Both of them age over the course of the song but he still refers to as a pretty little girl, which I'm going to just chalk up to habit and not creepiness. This is yet another track that has major Angels And Airwaves vibes right up until the rap verse out of nowhere by Yelawolf.
8. Snake Charmer climbs naturally out of the previous track. It's heavier and brings back some of that Nu-Metal synth loop influence that crept into the previous album. Plus a Cure-influenced guitar riff. See, it's not ALWAYS about The Edge.
9. We're barely a half hour into this album and we're done. Fighting Gravity is a lovely mess of noise about leaving someone behind. And that's about to happen, as Blink-182 and DeLonge go their separate ways between this track and my next post.