Last year saw the return of Blink-182 with the release of “California.” Despite what you thought of the album, it was a different on a lot of levels at the same time trying to be the same as some of the band’s old works. While that may be impossible with Tom DeLonge being replaced by Matt Skiba, and three 40-year-old men singing about being 16 again, “California” was a bit of a mixed bag when it comes down to it, and it wasn’t exactly what fans wanted in the end. Trying to bring back “Enema of the State” to the modern age, the deluxe version of “California” was just released and it is what should have been released before.
The deluxe version of “California” adds 11 new tracks, plus an acoustic version of “Bored to Death.” From the get go from the second disc you get a much more mature and deeper Blink than from the original “California.” There are still plenty of tracks filled with the classic “Na na na” sound we are so used to from Blink-182. There is no escaping that sound. The original version of Blink-182 had an identity crisis. The album couldn’t decide if it was a halfway decent Alkaline Trio album or a halfway decent +44 album. The deluxe version sells you the overall new Blink-182 sound. There is a lot rawer emotion and feeling within the deluxe version.
“Parking Lot” is a good start to the new tracks. Mark Hoppus and Skiba on vocals have great harmonies and even Travis Barker stands out on the drums. But shortly after that it is followed by “Misery” and “Good Old Days,” which are a couple of tracks that steal the show. Especially “Good Old Days” that reflects on the past and relationships in a way that is not as cliché as some might think. With catchy melodies and memorable riffs, these are tracks that get you amped up while listening to them. Things get a bit darker when you dive into “Don’t Mean Anything,” which serves more as an apology track from Hoppus and Skiba to their parents. It is touching and a lot more meaningful than anything from the original album.
“Hey I’m Sorry” is a track that steals the show; this is one of the few tracks that will stick with you long after listening to it. Reminiscent of older tracks like “Drown” or “Adam’s Song,” this is one of the few ballads that Blink-182 can pull off well. This is a track when the vocals from Hoppus and Skiba come together and produce a great harmony. It isn’t as jarring or abrupt as some other tracks. The tone for a lot of these new tracks are much more darker and that is a great thing. It is new and shows growth, whereas the original album was more as a throwback to older Blink-182.
The deluxe version of “California” is everything you would expect from a modern-day Blink-182. Having a grand total of 28 tracks and a run time of almost an hour and a half, this is what should have been released originally. With tracks like “6/8” and “Wildfire,” which have Skiba have a rougher edge in his vocals and melodies, are bound to get you moving along to the beat. Blink-182 are proving why they have been a powerhouse act since the turn of the millennium. In case you were wondering, there is a joke track in the deluxe tracks, since you know it is Blink-182. Overall, the deluxe version sells you on the new version of Blink-182 way more than the original release did.
Should you listen to it?: Yes!
“California” was an OK album when it came out. It had its flaws and was rough around the edges for sure, but the deluxe version will make you forget all about that. The deluxe version of “California” takes an OK album and makes it great. You will remember why you fell in love with Blink-182 in the first place. Even if the band no longer contains DeLonge and his unique vocals, Hoppus and Skiba do a solid job at making this an album worth picking up. This is one of the few deluxe releases that was done right. This is a must have for any Blink-182 fan.