Nine, the new album from Blink-182, a band forever associated with adolescence even though the members’ mean age is now 44, arrives haloed in that great teenage emotion: embarrassment.
This summer they kicked off a tour with Lil Wayne, and the hope that it would hit upon a yummy PB&J combo of potty-mouthed-and-past-their-prime performers from different genres was immediately dashed by the horrifying mash-up track they released. Ticket sales flagged, and the late-breaking announcement that the band would, rather than focus on new songs, play all of Blink’s 1999 dumb-ass classic Enema of the State seemed like a bid to lure the masses. It didn’t work well enough: Wayne threatened to quit once he saw how empty their arenas were. “The crowd was among the small things,” went the excellent subhead on the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s review of the tour.
One other thing: In this, the week of the band’s new album release, if you Google Blink-182, the top news results are about the U.S. Navy “confirming” the ex-member Tom DeLonge’s claims about the existence of UFOs. Dammit.
Maybe it’s fundamentally awkward for Blink to soldier on at all in 2019. These are the perma-horny bros who streaked the L.A. streets and vowed to never act their age. Yet they’ve faced down the seeming ridiculousness of their dadly decades already with 2016’s California, which sold well and earned some positive press. The New Yorker’s Kelefa Sanneh in 2016 noted that they’d spawned “more imitators than any American rock band since Nirvana.” In the years since California, Blink’s influence has only grown more inescapable, with breakout rappers like Juice WRLD and Lil Uzi Vert copping their nauseated inflections and wavy, candied melodies.