Album Reviews

Blink-182 – Dogs Eating Dogs EP

on January 08, 2013, 12:02am
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Synthesizers don’t mean maturity. They don’t mean intelligence and they certainly don’t mean better music. The same goes for drum loops, guest rappers, and anything else not seen in the typical repertoire of a pop punk band. All of these musical elements can enhance the strong stuff that’s already there, but at the end of the day, a good song is a good song, regardless of how much the artist has matured in their own mind.

Blink-182′s been on a quest for adulthood since their 2003 self-titled album. The newfound atmospherics — hip-hop tinged interludes, NASA transmissions, and Robert Smith — were effective because the meat and potatoes of what made the SoCal legends great remained intact: boredom-bucking energy, believable turmoil, and big, catchy choruses. Their last release, 2011’s Neighborhoods, had its moments, but many of the dramatic points felt forced in their aggression, despite the band having experienced real-life tragedy. The stakes somehow felt higher when Mark Hoppus and Tom DeLonge sang about pranks and unrequited love rather than death and addiction. Even more alarming, DeLonge’s hook-finder seemed to be fading fast.

On Dogs Eating Dogs, it’s completely burned out, and none of the EP’s experimental flourishes — not a pipe organ intro to album opener “When I Was Young”, and definitely not an awkward appearance by Yelawolf on closer “Pretty Little Girl” — can bring it back. This wouldn’t be so much of a problem if the vocal and lyrical duties were split between the two singers. But, as with Neighborhoods, the eternally nasal DeLonge takes the lead on all five tracks, with Hoppus usually tackling the chorus and, on one song, half of the verses. Whether it’s a result of a shift in writing responsibilities or DeLonge wanting to bring the band to the laughably melodramatic heights of Angels & Airwaves remains to be seen. Either way, DeLonge’s forgettable chord progressions feel like an afterthought to lyrics that try too hard to fit into Blink’s more morbid adult persona of late: “It’s the worst damn day”; “I’m scared of the dark, my friends”; “It’s sad how far you ran.” You get the idea.

Unsurprisingly, Dogs Eating Dogs‘ sole bright spot is the title track. Aside from a large portion of it being sung by Hoppus, whose fuller voice has always been better suited for despair, it’s also the least fussy song of the batch, relying solely on tightened momentum, sugary harmonies, and Travis Barker’s plummeting fills. On their next full length, hopefully Blink-182 will realize that being mature often means being simple.

Essential Tracks: “Dogs Eating Dogs”

13 comments

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CalebAnthony
February 12, 2013 at 3:02 am

Dude, this may be the worst review that I have ever read. If you really knew enough about blink 182 and about music to write a solid review, you’d know that every musician progresses in their own way. What makes blink 182 brilliant is the fact that it is composed of 3 completely different people who all bring different tastes and talents to the table. Tom’s “hook finder” hasn’t gone anywhere, in fact it’s twice as prominent on this EP as it was on Neighborhoods. The chorus of “Dogs Eating Dogs” is brilliant, along with the chorus of “Disaster” and the pre chorus of “Pretty Little Girl.” His writing style has improved dramatically, and quite frankly some credit for that goes to AvA. All 3 members have matured and grown musically and it shines through on this EP. It signifies a new beginning for this band, one that isn’t defined by their past success; a stage that you’re clearly stuck in. Try writing a less biased review, but get your facts straight first fool.

Cody Wimmer
February 6, 2013 at 9:07 pm

my last comment must have really set ya back. Too bad you deleted it. But it does show that you aren’t much of a bink-182 fan; and that’s fine, but to criticize a band for growing up is stupid. And change is inevitable, so let them do their thing and quite writting reviews in such a negative aspect.

Sunta
January 31, 2013 at 12:42 pm

This review sucks & this person has NO idea what they’re talking about . They obviously do not know good music .

Jay W.
January 18, 2013 at 9:49 am

I don’t think Blink 182 cares about impressing critics. Blink 182 has always been an evolution. I started listening to the band in 1994 and have watched them grow. I always viewed Blink 182 as experimental, even back in 1994 they were very different than the actual punk music that filled the airwaves. Blink has always I feel tried to keep a new wave feel to their music. I feel the EP isn’t bad, and to Blink fans that have followed the band, the side projects, the break up, the reunion, should not be surprised that Blink is now on an entirely different sound. This excites me actually! If you look at the bands discography you can know to expect that at any album drop, the sound can be radically different and unlike anything you expected. That is why I am a Blink fan, and enjoy all of their music.

Mark
January 17, 2013 at 1:58 am

Why is the issue of maturity still an issue at all? The members of this band are in their mid to late 30’s, they are mature, and have been releasing “mature” music for quite a while now. Their self-titled was (from what this reviewer seems to think is mature), mature. Delonges hook finder as you put it, has done more for the kids of my generation than any other, and these release is no different. Maturity is a completely ridiculous term to use for music. Blink-182 has continued to make music that correlates to the people who listen to it…. The people who have grown up with them.

Mark
January 8, 2013 at 11:08 pm

This guy must be an idiot. For him good music is this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpSjZi1azLY He plays in that shitty band and makes reviews like this. hahaha What a loser! Better listen to Tom Delonge

H. Willie
January 9, 2013 at 3:17 am

Thanks for posting. I didn’t even know someone had filmed that show on their phone. Here’s our EP if you care to give it a spin: http://libraryghost.bandcamp.com/

Chew Bacca
January 8, 2013 at 7:00 pm

It’s weird. It’s weird because I totally agree with you despite the fact that I love this EP. Yes, Blink broke up at the height of their career and now, when I hear songs like “Feeling This” (that makes me crazy when I see their clip video or just hear on my iPod !!) or “Always”, which has syntheszers too but well done, I’m right with you : this was the fucking good way to their adulthood. I hope thath Hoppus will sing on more tracks on the next full album they plan too. I fell in love with Tom’s voice but with Neighborhoods I noticed that an album of Blink with only Tom’s voice doesn’t sound like Blink. Blink is Tom & Mark project… even if Travis is doubtless the only guy who really makes their sound awesome now.
So I don’t konw what to say. It seems that this EP is far better than Neighborhoods, it contains more energy, it’s more catchy and we can feel that the three guys were in the same room at the same time for this EP. But maybe we’ll always have this nostalgia for what they were before they broke up, for what they could have been if they have continued to the same way that their Self Titled. Which was such a genius work.

Ryan Post
January 21, 2013 at 1:52 am

One name is the reason for Blink’s seemingly inability to further create standout albums: Jerry Finn. Finn took the reigns for Blink’s 1999 release, “Enema of the State”, and produced all of their albums up until the release of their self-titled in 2003, which was his last because of his death in 2008. Granted he did produce Blink’s Greatest Hits album (2005) and co-produced and mixed Hoppus and Barker’s side project, +44 (2006), his last contribution to Blink was, coincidentally, their last album that had that “sound” we fans learned to adore.

As a result, Mark and Tom have avoided working with producers and instead have relied on their own skills. Assumingly, they believed their skills were on par with Finn’s, however, their albums subsequent to Finn’s death have demonstrated to the contrary. Blink has been one of my major musical influences and I hope they find their “sound” again. Whether it turns out to be a reversion back to their old “sound” of the Jerry Finn days or something new, I sincerely hope they get their unique “sound” that is genuine and influential as it once was.

Here’s a link to Jerry Finn’s Wikipedia page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerry_Finn

JacenEnda
January 8, 2013 at 4:32 pm

This is the best Dogs Eating Dogs review I’ve read so far. You really pointed out all the flaws of the EP. I completely agree, the experimentation didn’t work out, especially Yelawolf’s part and those weird one minute intros. Most songs sound like AVA b-sides and those that don’t sound like +44 mixed with what blink should sound like. Overall, I am very displeased with the fact that Mark Hoppus sings only on two songs and doesn’t even sing entire songs. It’s weird because I always thought he was the better vocalist, especially on darker, more mature songs, what they tend to write these days. Hopefully he’ll sing a lot more on the next full-length.

bluewolf
January 8, 2013 at 12:05 pm

I wish they’d release Pretty Little Girl with just the instrumental and no Yellawolf at the end. I would buy that.

Greg Leach
January 8, 2013 at 8:50 am

This review made me crack up, it’s so bad! You’re one of those people that think just because you don’t like it, it means it’s bad, despite the amazing reception the band has received. And yeah, synthesizers don’t mean they’ve matured, but they’re not saying they’ve matured just because of synthesizers Haha, it’s because of there lyrics and song writing, you gotta be thick to think this isn’t a more mature sound than All The Small Things and all there old stuff. Terrible review.

conditionals
January 8, 2013 at 1:15 am

Yeah, I don’t know what happened to DeLonge’s songwriting (other than the obvious swallowing into his own asshole). Hoppus is the only viable hookwriter anymore, and yet as his public profile grows, his involvement in the band’s direction seems to get more subsumed to the church of DeLonge.

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