By Cole Parkinson
Since 1992, blink-182 has been one of the founding members of the pop-punk scene. Modeled after Descendents and Screeching Weasel before them, blink has since influenced nearly every pop-punk band since.
And while many of the new bands feel like unoriginal and cheap rip-offs, there’s no denying blink has been incredibly entertaining for the past several decades. So, let’s take a look at each album and I’ll give you my ranking of all nine blink-182 albums released up to this point.
9. Buddha (1994)
While Buddha is more of a demo album than anything, the band officially lists it as their debut record.
And while there are tons of great songs on here, I don’t think it sounds particularly good. The band wasn’t exactly using great equipment to record it and Mark Hoppus was sick throughout the two days of recording.
It sounds like blink alright, but this was well before they got to use the best equipment and before they fully refined their songwriting skills. The remastered version available today isnt’s bad at all, but it’s still rough.
It’s got tons of jokes and Tom DeLonge’s riffs are superb, but I think it would be hard to rank this above any albums that came after it. Plenty of the tracklist can also be found on the next record, and most sound better on that recording.
Favourite songs: “Carousel”, “Fentoozler”, and “21 Days”
8. California (2016)
The first record without Tom DeLonge was always destined to be criticized. And with California, blink saw them throw it back to the early 2000s with mixed results. While I think it’s a decent effort, I don’t find myself going back and listening to the whole thing from front to back.
There’s plenty of catchy songs, but overall it feels like a step back from 2011’s Neighborhoods. The band did release a deluxe version of the record that saw basically another album attached, and I think that disc is much better than the original version. That being said, “San Diego”, which was written about DeLonge and his departure, is easily the best song on the album and still one of the better songs post-Tom.
Favourite songs: “Cynical”, “Left Along”, “San Diego”
7. Cheshire Cat (1995)
After Buddha, the band returned to the studio armed with a couple of new songs, some old songs, and a hankering to get as many joke songs on the record as possible. Cheshire Cat is mid-90s skate punk from front to back and it’s still an incredibly fun listen today.
Like Buddha, the record doesn’t sound particularly great, but it’s not necessarily meant to. It’s supposed to be fast, in your face, and a little rough. Tom’s guitar work is fantastic from front to back and I still think it’s his best work as a guitar player. Mark and Scott Raynor hold down the rhythm section perfectly and while it’s not my favourite blink-192 album, it’s still a must listen to record if you like the band.
Favourite songs: “M+M’s”, “Toast and Bananas”, “Wasting Time”
6. Nine (2019)
While California saw blink move back to 2000s pop-punk, Nine saw the band update that sound with a more modern approach. While production-wise there are still some problems, I think overall the record is a success. Despite featuring “Blame it on My Youth”, which is arguably my least favourite blink song, the rest of the record is fantastic. There aren’t many dips in the record and I think beyond the previously mentioned song, it’s a great record.
The only complaint I have with it is the lack of Matt Skiba only songs. He’s a full member of the band and he should have songs that don’t have Mark singing, too. “No Heart to Speak Of” is probably a top-five favourite blink song that has come out since they reunited, but why it isn’t a Matt only song still makes me scratch my head.
Favourite songs: “Heaven”, “No Heart To Speak Of”, and “On Some Emo Sh*t”
5. Neighborhoods (2011)
After over five years of being apart, blink reunited in 2009 and announced their run-on tour. But, fans waiting for new music had to wait several years after that. And what they got was an album that may be a little disjointed due to the band all recording in separate areas of the world, but it’s still a very good comeback album.
It sounds like a mix of blink-182, Angels and Airwaves (Tom’s band after the break up of blink), and +44 (Mark and Travis Barker’s band after the break of blink). It sounds like a natural evolution of their untitled record and it features plenty of great songs. “After Midnight” and “Even If She Falls” are some of the best blink songs of all time, and while this album gets forgotten by the fair-weather fan, it truly features some gems.
Favourite songs: “After Midnight”, “Hearts All Gone”, and “Even If She Falls”
4. Take Off Your Pants and Jacket (2001)
Following the breakout success of Enema of the State, record executives wanted a follow-up album that sounded exactly the same. On the other hand, blink wanted to take that sound and turn it on its head a bit. What we get with this record is a bit of both, which results in a mighty fine album that is made for the summer.
Like every other record, Tom’s guitar work is incredibly good, Mark continues to hammer out fantastic song after fantastic song, and Travis’ drumming continued to take blink to that upper level. While the album is known for “The Rock Show” and “First Date”, the deeper cuts are truly worth discovering as they’re vastly superior to those two songs.
Favourite songs: “Online Songs”, Reckless Abandon”, and “Every Time I Look For You”
3. Enema of the State (1999)
The record that truly saw blink-182 rise to being a band everyone knew about. While Green Day’s Dookie catapulted punk back into the mainstream, Enema of the State reinforced the idea that catchy punk music could be a force within the industry.
After Raynor was booted from the band, Mark and Tom brought in Travis which completely changed their way of making music. Trav’s drumming was completely revolutionary for blink’s music and it was another big reason the album did so well. On top of the drumming, Mark and Tom’s songwriting was top-notch and people could resonate with any given song on the album.
Favourite songs: “Dumpweed”, “Going Away to College”, “Dysentery Gary”
2. Untitled (2003)
After the shimmery pop-punk sounds of Enema and TOYPAJ, blink brought something completely new to the table with their untitled record. Tom and Travis forayed into a more post-punk/hardcore nature with Boxcar Racer, which was obviously hugely influential with this record.
While it still sounds like blink to some degree, there’s also way more variety compared to their previous records. The songs sound different and you could tell the guys wanted to try something new while also still staying true to their roots. And while I have it ranked two, it could easily be my number one on any given day. “Stockholm Syndrome” is tied for number one on my favourite blink songs.
Favourite songs: “Feeling This”, “Stockholm Syndrome”, and “Asthenia”
1. Dude Ranch (1997)
It may not be their most popular record, but Dude Ranch is peak blink-182 to me. It’s fast and has catchy songs with plenty of humour. There’s no bad song on it and it’s easy to see why they were able to make it big with their next record. All of the ingredients were there on Dude Ranch and it features its fair share of songs that should be more widely known.
Tom and Mark were firing on all cylinders well before Enema of the State, but due to it being on a smaller label, it didn’t breakthrough as much as it probably could have. Of course, “Dammit” was their first big hit, but this album features way more songs that could have been just as big, if you ask me. And while I think Travis is a much more interesting drummer than Scott, Raynor’s drumming here fits the bill. A dream of mine is to hear Travis re-record the drums to all of the songs, just to see what he’d do with them, but as it is, it’s a record more than worth your time. Also, “Apple Shampoo” is the other song tied for my favourite blink songs.
Favourite songs: “Enthused”, “Apple Shampoo”, and “Lemmings”