Album review: blink-182 – ONE MORE TIME…

The Mark, Tom and Travis show returns for good – and they’re armed with one of the best, most consistent records of their whole career.

Album review: blink-182 – ONE MORE TIME…
Emily Carter

This time,’ sings Mark Hoppus, ‘I won’t be complacent.’ It’s an early promise made by the blink-182 bassist in the opening song to the band’s long-awaited (second) reunion album with frontman Tom DeLonge, referring not only to the 2022 reformation of their ‘classic’ line-up – completed by drummer Travis Barker – but also Mark’s new chance at life itself, after beating diffuse large B-cell lymphoma stage 4-A cancer just over two years ago.

Unsurprisingly, both of these themes make up much of the San Diego pop-punk legends’ ninth album ONE MORE TIME…, adding a newfound emotional weight and existential maturity to a back-catalogue that’s often mostly associated with juvenile fun and toilet humour.

Indeed, on the record’s aforementioned opener, ANTHEM PART 3 (the sequel to 2001’s Anthem Part Two, which in turn followed 1999’s Anthem), they show just what this iteration of blink-182 is all about. Bursting into life with glistening guitars and thundering punk drums, the trio sound fired-up, tackling topics of dreams, death, and defying the odds. And as Tom concludes with the emphatic line that, ‘I won’t fail,’ you sure as hell believe him.

Then, what follows across the next 16 tracks – including a couple of jokey interludes, because this is still blink, after all – is the band dipping into everything they’ve done so well in the past, with more experience and appreciation than before. Genuinely, that’s something you can hear. From catchy pop-punk anthems like BAD NEWS, OTHER SIDE and rambunctious single DANCE WITH ME, to the soaring WHEN WE WERE YOUNG and Motörhead-inspired rager MORE THAN YOU KNOW it’s a total joy, meticulously produced and lovingly pieced together by Travis himself.

And there’s also plenty of Easter eggs for their veteran fans. The poppy FELL IN LOVE features an interpolation of Close To Me by The Cure – whose frontman Robert Smith collaborated with them on 2003’s All Of This. There’s also the epic, Angels & Airwaves-esque HURT, while elsewhere Tim Armstrong shows up on 27-second hardcore punk interlude FUCK FACE (again, we reiterate: this is still blink, and they haven’t lost their sense of humour). Best of all, though, is the explosive TERRIFIED: a song that had been “laying around” from Tom and Travis’ Box Car Racer side-project that has finally seen the light of day.

Naturally, the title-track may continue to get most of the love here, given its poignant, head-on approach to addressing blink’s unique history as a band (‘I wish they told us it shouldn’t take a sickness / Or airplanes falling out the sky’), not to mention the fact it beautifully closed the setlist on their recent UK arena tour. But there’s more to it than that. While the name might be confused for being a final go-around, this is really anything but.

“We talked about it as a band,” Tom explained in The Zane Lowe Interview this week. “Coming out with these words ‘one more time’, from us it’s like, ‘This is the last time we’re gonna fuck this up.’ We’re gonna cherish this, and we’re gonna nurture it, and we’re gonna take care of it, and we’re gonna be thankful for it, and we’re gonna try and be the best we can be within it.’”

Tom’s not wrong. This is an excellent album in its own right, but ONE MORE TIME… also points to an even more exciting future for blink-182. What a time to be alive.

Verdict: 4/5

For fans of: Sum 41, Angels & Airwaves, Neck Deep

ONE MORE TIME… is out now via Columbia. blink-182 will return to the UK and Ireland in August 2024.

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