As the number of members in a given band decreases, the worries of a “Ship of Theseus” transformation increase if band members join on or drop out. As such, Blink-182’s decision to slot in Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba in place of former vocalist and guitarist Tom DeLonge 14 years into their career must have elicited trepidation amongst many long-time fans.
In “Bored To Death,” the first single off of Blink-182’s California, which is slated for a July 1 release, fans get a glimpse of Skiba’s contributions to the trio. The new collaborators have seemingly decided to pass on delving into radically new material in their first public debut, instead offering up a song that could easily slot into any of Blink-182’s most middle-of-the-road, polished releases (Enema of the State, Take Off Your Pants and Jacket).
“Bored To Death,” however, evidences the darker, more mature tone that Blink-182 has started moving towards as its band members near their mid-40s. In his signature remarkably even tone, Skiba declares, “Back on Earth, I’m broken/Lost and cold and fading fast.”
Musically, “Bored To Death” works around many of Blink-182’s long-standing motifs: Travis Barker’s hyperactive drumming, clean-channel, minimal guitar lines and a drawn-out instrumental bridge that has grown to characterize many of Angels & Airwaves’ releases. Still, while many of Blink-182’s younger contemporaries have moved towards a gimmick-heavy, stadium pop approach, Skiba, Hoppus and Barker’s devotion to unadorned power punk-pop is a welcome statement.
Blink-182 long suffered from fan sentiment that their sound had grown homogenous and uncreative. “Bored To Death,” does not affirmatively break from such an approach, but the addition of Skiba will hopefully set California off from past releases.
Shay Collins is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.