Blink-182 rolled out their song song “Bored to Death” earlier this week along with dates for a massive summer tour. It will be most people’s first chance to see them with Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba, who has replaced Tom DeLonge on guitar and vocals. The group hasn’t played with DeLonge since October of 2014, though he still insists he’s somehow even in the band. That’s a little confusing since he isn’t on the album, won’t be on the tour and has been replaced. Anyway, we asked our readers to select their favorite Blink-182 songs. Here are the results.
Blink-182’s 2003 song “Down” was their last single to hit radio in a big way before the group completely melted down. The punk trio was still incredibly popular by this point and playing big shows, but they weren’t getting along offstage and Tom DeLonge yearned to create music outside the confines of a three-man punk band. He supposedly wrote “Down” about a bad breakup with a girlfriend, but it’s easy to read the lyrics as his take on the band, too. “Your vows of silence fall all over,” he sings. “The look in your eyes makes me crazy/I feel the darkness break upon her/I’ll take you over if you let me.” It became one of the very few Blink-182 songs he sang with Angels and Airwaves.
The 1999 Enema of the State track “Mutt” played a huge role in the band’s breakthrough. They first cut it in 1998 with original drummer Scott Raynor for the American Pie soundtrack, which is where they met producer Jerry Finn. Mark Hoppus and Tom DeLonge were extremely impressed with Finn, and they brought him on to work on Enema of the State. By the time sessions began, Raynor had been replaced by Travis Barker. This new four-mean team had amazing chemistry in the studio, and without every one of them Enema of the State would have been a very different album.
“Going Away to College”
On Valentine’s Day of 1999, Mark Hoppus was home watching the teen comedy Can’t Hardly Wait when he felt the sudden need to write a song. It’s a movie about a group of teens ending high school and facing an uncertain future, and the lyrics for “Going Away to College” that he scribbled down on a napkin reflect that anxiety. “She kissed me after class,” Hoppus sings. “And she put up with my friends/I acted like an ass/I’d ditch my lecture to watch the girls play soccer/Is my picture still hanging in her locker?”
The “Big Bang” of Blink-182 took place in the summer of 1992 when Tom DeLonge met Mark Hoppus and began jamming in a garage. The very first song they worked on was DeLonge’s “Carousel,” and they realized almost immediately they had strong chemistry. “Carousel” appeared on their 1994 demo Buddha and has been a key part of their live show for the past two decades. “I always feel I wish I wrote better lyrics, yet at the time it was so different for pop-punk,” DeLonge told Rolling Stone in 2013. “It was, like, so fast. But how we play it now so many different years and so many people like it or whatever… I had a really interesting moment with that song last night trying to figure out why it’s still around.”
“All the Small Things”
“All the Small Things” hit MTV in late 1999, right as the boy band craze was at its absolute zenith, and the video parodied recent videos by the Backstreet Boys, 98 Degrees and ‘N Sync. Soon enough, it was in heavy rotation on Total Request Live right alongside the very videos it was mocking. It helped bring the song to Number Six on the Billboard Hot 100, by far the biggest of Blink-182’s career. This was the song that took the band from theaters and clubs into arenas.
Blink-182’s 2003 self-titled LP came out just two years after their goofy 2001 album Take Off Your Pants and Jacket, but it seemed like a lot more at the time. The three members were quickly moving away from sophomoric humor, and after 9/11 were anxious to delve into weightier matters. “Stockholm Syndrome” features English actress Joanne Whalley reading a letter that Mark’s grandfather wrote to his grandmother during World War II. The song itself reflects the rampant paranoia in the air during the buildup to the war in Iraq.
“The Rock Show”
One reason many teenagers connected to Blink-182 so strongly in the late 1990s and early 2000s is the simple fact they were singing about things directly related to their own lives. The Take Off Your Pants and Jacket single, “The Rock Show,” tells the tale of a teenager that fell in love with a punk girl he met at a rock show. “I remember the look her mother gave us,” Mark Hoppus sings. “Seventeen without a purpose or direction/We don’t owe anyone a fucking explanation.” It’s easy to understand why Tom DeLonge had some reservations about singing songs like this into his forties and beyond, but somehow the band still makes them work.
“I Miss You”
Had Blink-182 not broken up in 2005, “I Miss You” is a good look at where they might have gone. The heartfelt love song was written by Tom DeLonge and Marks Hoppus, showcasing just how far they’d come as songwriters since the days of “All the Small Things.” The days of teenage flings are over and now they’re dealing with legit, adult relationships, and all the complications they bring. It’s a stripped-down song that found a lot of love on the radio and remains a crowd sing-along favorite at their shows.
Even at the peak of their popularity, Blink-182 wrote more than just silly songs about sex and goofing around. In fact, they get about as serious as possible on “Adam’s Song” for Enema of the State. It’s basically a teenage suicide note in the form of a song. Mark Hoppus wrote it after reading about a kid that killed himself and left a note for his family. “Give all my things to all my friends,” Hoppus sings. “You’ll never step foot in my room again/You’ll close it off, board it up.” Controversy erupted when a Columbine student who lost a friend in the massacre hung himself after playing the song on repeat. The group stressed that the song was anti-suicide, but it still left them extremely rattled.
Can’t Hardly Wait plays a big role in the world of Blink-182. Not only did the Jennifer Love Hewitt movie inspire Mark Hoppus to write “Going Away to College” but it’s also the first place where many people heard their 1997 classic “Dammit.” Hoppus wrote the song about the pain of seeing a girl you loved out with a new guy. It got them a lot of airplay and helped pave the way for Enema of the State. It remains their traditional concert closer to this day, and the opening guitar part never fails to send the audience into absolute hysteria. For many of them, it is the sound of their teenage years in guitar form.