TRACK REVIEW: Wildfire by Blink 182

By Oliver Butler (@notoliverbutler)

It’d be awfully rude not to review a new track from one of the bands that lends its name to this website, which is exactly why Blink 182 are back again with their new single, Wildfire.

As part of the California album cycle, Wildfire is another track that ended up on the cutting room floor, along with 6/8Can’t Get You More Pregnant (Well, when you’re already pregnant it’s biologically impossible to be more pregnant so 10 points to Blinkindor, also, it was about thirty seconds long. Maybe that’s a joke about premature ejaculation which we’re all too stupid to get)Misery and Parking Lot as part of the unofficially titled Blimey! Bloody Brilliant Blink 182 B-Sides collection.

The song is a textbook Blink 182 track, the one where you can shut your eyes and imagine that you’re sat in a sunny Californian skate park, or one where you instinctively know the words to when you’re pissed, the sort of song that could tie communities together by getting them all to belt out What’s My Age Again?, as we would be unified by Blink 182’s inoffensive brand of pop punk.

Despite following the formula that made them megastars, this track fails to start a Wildfire in your heart (I knew you couldn’t resist a pun – Ed). In this track, familiarity breeds contempt and does little to make a lasting impact on the brain. By no means is this a bad track, and is certainly one of the better b-sides to come off the back of the enjoyable California, but it doesn’t do enough to get you excited. It’s got everything; some classic bouncy Hoppus bass work, trading vocals between himself and new boy Matt Skiba-boodly-bop-bop and light airy guitar chords that always transport you to that fictitious sunny skate park.

There’s nothing wrong with the classics, but sometimes, you don’t want a glass of Coca-Cola, you want something that’ll make your brain pour out of your ears because of what you’ve just heard. This track toes the Blink 182 party line, and makes sense why it’s nothing more than a b-side that will appear on the deluxe edition of California.

6.5/10


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Top 50 Songs of 2016

 

 

 

 

By Liam Menzies (@blinkclyro)

It’s here! Chuck those negative opinions aside as for the next week we’ll be counting down my musical highlights of the year. While 2016 was full of many negative events (US election, multiple celebrity death, suicide squad, damn daniel etc.), on the other side of the coin music was as entertaining and fascinating as ever. Hip-hop continued to demonstrate its creative power while rock and other genres revitalised themselves to provide us with some of the best singles of their respective artist’s careers.

As always we have the staple “this is my opinion” placeholder to insert before we get cracking on so if there are any songs you think are missing or should be placed higher/lower then keep in mind that this is my list. Since there are 50 tracks to go through, I’ll speed through the first 25 or so and go into a bit more detail as we reach the top 20 picks. With that being said, let’s get the ball rolling…

50. Glue 70 – Casin

49. Crywank – Love

48. Vistas – Sign Language

47. Brand New – I Am A Nightmare

46. Boston Manor -Lead Feet

45. Kevin Devine – Instigator

44. SBTRKT – Let Them In

43. Run The Jewels – Talk To Me

42. Fake Boyfriend – Bumtown

41. Parquet Courts – Dust

40. Pale Kids – Not Listening

39. Blink-182 – Cynical

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tC97caHUgKk

38. Weezer – Jacked Up

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJOsRoY-na0

37. Frightened Rabbit – Die Like A Rich Boy

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=es8wQcKrrhA

36. Jamie T- Tescoland

35. Hovvdy – Try Hard

34. Honeyblood – Love Is A Disease

33. Skepta – Man

32. Metallica – Spit Out The Bone

31. Young Thug – RiRi

30. Enter Shikari – Hoodwinker

29. Touche Amore – Displacement

28. Kendrick Lamar – untitled 03

27. Biffy Clyro – In The Name Of The Wee Man

26. Sweet White – Genine

https://soundcloud.com/sweet-white/genine-1

25. Joyce Manor – Eighteen

24. Death Grips – 3 Bedrooms In A Good Neighborhood 

23. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Dark Necessities 

22. Twin Atlantic – Gold Elephant, Cherry Alligator

21. Mean Jeans – Michael Jackson Was Tight

20. The 1975 – Somebody Else

Trust me, I’m just as surprised as you that The 1975 are making an appearance on this list. Whilst their latest album was a double-edged sword, only just managing to provide more killer than filler, when the band delivered something good it was really fucking good. See Somebody Else for example, a song that dabbles into the topic of modern day romance that frontman, with the hand of some vocal manipulation, executes brilliantly.

19. Charli XCX – Trophy

The ultimate pump up song of 2016, Charli XCX continues her reign as one of the most likeable female vocalists in music right now with a fantastic combination of 00’s club music and peculiar beats.

18. Radiohead – Daydreaming

Beautifully minimalistic and driven solely by piano alongside some glitzy chimes with a Jamie XX flare to them, Daydreaming was the standout track on Radiohead’s triumphant return A Moon Shaped Pool: a calm, borderline lullaby that dips its toes in fearsome waters before diving head first into them during the climax.

17. Bon Iver – 33 “GOD”

Showing off the majority of 22, A Million’s religious subtext, 33 “GOD” is a showcase of Bon Iver’s experimental take on their latest record packaged alongside the delicate rock they’ve mastered since their debut For Emma, Forever Ago.

16. Blood Orange – Best To You

Providing some of the best R&B in recent memory, Blood Orange’s Freetown Sound hit its peak four tracks in with Best To You. Featuring a stunning vocal performance from Empress Of, Dev Hynes showed off just how good he is at mixing production and songwriting together.

15. Real Friends – Mess

A pop punk song that has lyrics that manage to be fresh for the act due to being about something other than a break up?! Revolutionary! All jokes aside, the crisp production value along with a catchy as all hell chorus makes the track feel like Real Friends have been working hard on their songwriting capabilities since their debut record and, despite what they’re saying in the public eye, are making efforts to progress as a band.

14. Codist – Puddle

Glasgow band Codist came out with their debut record all the way back in January and continued to be one of my favourites throughout 2016. My personal favourite track off of Nuclear Family had to be Puddle that harks back to Blackened Sky era Biffy with some equally beautiful lyrics about “why you can feel your insides glow”.

13. Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein – Stranger Things

The shortest track by far on this list, Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein’s titular theme tune to Netflix’s surprise hit series Stranger Things is, much like the show itself, a total love letter to 80’s electronica with ominous synths lulling you into a sense of dread.

12. American Football – My Instincts Are The Enemy

Showing that the band still had what it takes to retain relevance in a genre that has long since evolved since their one and only record, American Football showed they deserve all the praise they get with their second LP. My Instincts Are The Enemy is a testament to the intricacy this band can provide with just three instruments, pulling off smooth and satisfying tempo changes and delivering beautiful lyrics as if they had never been away.

11. Schoolboy Q – Groovy Tony 

Schoolboy Q may have given us a pretty lacklustre LP in 2016 but he made sure we weren’t left empty handed with Groovy Tony, drenched in eerie production and driven by one of the most aggressive sounding flows in hip-hop.

10. Frank Ocean – Nikes

WE IN THE TOP 10 NOW BABY! The musical Where’s Waldo Mr Frank Ocean returned this year with his long awaited Blonde that kicks off with one of the strongest tracks of his career. Nikes modifies Ocean’s vocals into unrecognisable territory, delivering lines about lost ones and consumerism with a minimalistic background which needs to be listened to for it to be fully experienced.

9. Danny Brown – When It Rain

Not only did Detroit’s prodigal son Danny Brown deliver the best record of his career, arguably one of the greatest hip-hop albums in the past decade, but he managed to shake up his tried and tested sound on top of that. Much like Groovy Tony, When It Rain cranks up that ominous notch up to 11 and packs the visceral imagery to back it up.

8. Moose Blood – Knuckles

Arguably the best track Mooseblood have delivered thus far, Knuckles embodies everything the band have been great at since their debut: providing a killer hook with beautiful lyrics and vocals. While the majority of the band’s sophomore effort is far more grounded in pessimism, Knuckles seems to hit a major realist chord and wonderfully so.

7. PUP – DVP

Unlike other acts of the genre who do a lot of rocking but very little growing up, PUP manage to nail the topic of maturity on DVP which flows seamlessly on from the aforementioned If This Tour… into an even more anthemic style on record The Dream Is Over. Addressing how they handle issues, in this case getting “so drunk that I can’t speak”, as well as others telling them to grow up, the track manages to keep a positive vibe going in its instrumentals whilst juggling some of the darker lyrics on here.

6. James Blake ft Bon Iver – I Need A Forest Fire

While James Blake’s latest record was sub par at best, there was a diamond in the rough in the form of I Need A Forest Fire. Combining Bon Iver’s beautiful vocals alongside Blake’s versatile singing is a genius concept and is wonderfully executed, managing to explore the .topic of new beginnings with total ease.

5. Chance The Rapper – Blessings

It’s hard to argue that 2016 belonged to anyone but if I had to place a bet on it, my money would be on Chance The Rapper. Colouring Book was one of the most enjoyable listens of the year with bucketloads of optimism and hope in a year that very much needed it. Blessings pretty much embodies the album’s core message better than any other track does. A gospel influence is felt not only in its sound but its lyrical content: lines about redemption, fatherhood and faith are subtle with the main hook from Jamila Woods being infectiously catchy.

4. Childish Gambino – Redbone

No artist this year transformed quite like Childish Gambino. Swapping out hip-hop for funk/soul/R&B music is an impossible risk but Gambino somehow survived the transition, quality intact. Redbone shows this perfectly, displaying a wonderful use of vocoder and the aforementioned funk element that made Awaken My Love one of the most refreshing listens of 2016.

3. David Bowie – Lazarus

The loss of David Bowie was one of many celebrity deaths to occur in 2016 but was the one that no doubt hit the hardest. Lazarus pretty much acts as a foreshadowing to it all with lyrics such as “look up here, I’m in heaven” managing to evoke a tear or two out of even the most casual Bowie fan. While it may be a difficult listen considering the context, Lazarus stood out well before the passing of Bowie, providing the perfect balance of instrumentals and Bowie’s unique vocals.

2. The Weeknd – Starboy

Before we get into the top pick of this list, we have but one more track to praise, that being The Weeknd’s Starboy which features on the RnB superstar’s eponymously titled record. Featuring a backing beat that sounds like a less feisty but equally enjoyable Yeezus feature, the partnership with Daft Punk means it’s no real surprise that Starboy finds itself so high up on a best tracks of 2016 list.

1. Kanye West – Real Friends

While The Life of Pablo was an enjoyable albeit messy release, it undoubtedly features the best song Kanye West has released since Runaway. Real Friends puts Mr West in his most vulnerable position since My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy as he voices his guilt regarding friends and family over a beautifully tragic sounding beat. Think Aphex Twin entwined with heartbreak. The song ends with a poignant howl that evokes the same sadness and, in a way, isolation that we have become accustomed to with Kanye’s more personal tracks. Sources say that when the track was first released, the title was missing the word “friends”. In a twisted way, it’s both a relief to hear Kanye sounding the most real he has in years whilst it’s also uncomfortable to witness the inner turmoil he’s experiencing that has only since got worse with his recent inauguration into a psychiatric ward.

 

 

 

 

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10 Worst Songs of 2016

By Liam Menzies (@blinkclyro)

As we bid farewell to 2016, arguably the shittest year in terms of right wing racists and celebrity deaths this century, and reminisce on all the high-quality albums and singles the year has provided. Of course, there are plenty that I’ve missed out and it goes without saying that these are personal choices and that if you genuinely like any of these songs then good for you and I am glad that you see something in these that I do not: too bad you’re not writing this.

In addition to that, if there are any songs that you think are missing or don’t deserve to be here then don’t forget to drop a comment in the section below. With that being said, in no particular order, let’s get on with it…

10.Blink-182 – Rabbit Hole

Oh blink-182. One of my favourite acts (can you not tell from the URL?)  you managed to put me at ease after the departure of founding member Tom Delonge with the delightfully solid track Bored To Death off your upcoming album California only to deliver this….thing. Rabbit Hole oddly enough falls into the same pitfall that Bored To Death barely skipped over with the lyrics and sound being too stuck in the past. Every line uttered just sounds like the ramblings off some 17-year old’s Tumblr page and not that of a forty odd-year-old who has shown his songwriting ability by managing to tackle some interesting subject matter. Thankfully the rest of the album wasn’t as abysmal as Rabbit Hole though it seems like the “triumphant return” of one of pop punk’s biggest bands was more than a little underwhelming.

9. Drake – One Dance

I can tell that I’m going to get a lot of slack for featuring Drake on this list but bare with me. Firstly, I’m not huge on Views: it’s somehow more of a mess than The Life Of Pablo with lifeless tracks devoid of any emotion and sometimes effort with One Dance being the epitome of that. Managing to stay at number one for weeks on end, the track is no doubt catchy but overall unambitious despite the afrobeat influences and influencers that appear on it. That’s not to say I don’t like Drake, shown by his appearance of last year’s best album list and the fact I’m willing paying £80 to see him next year.

As the year has gone on, and more intolerable tracks have made an appearance, it seems like the biggest problem with One Dance isn’t that it is objectively bad, it’s just wasted potential. Some may see it as the perfect club track but with Drake’s vocals being almost as drab as the piano mash that kicks off the song, I’m finding it harder and harder to get down with One Dance.

8. Mike Posner – I Took A Pill In Ibiza

If I took a pill everytime I had to listen to this song while working at my summer job, I’d OD which would be far more enjoyable than enduring Posner’s pish attempt at retaining his long lost relevance. Cooler Than Me was a product of its time and while you could mistake it for any late noughties pop song, it was at least tolerable. At one point during I Took A Pill, Posner mentions that he knows a sad song and due to how close to tears you’ll probably be if you have to listen to it for a second longer, it might be the most meta thing to come out of a year that included a fucking Deadpool movie.

7. Jacob Satorious – Sweatshirt

Considering the massive like to dislike ratio on the music video for this song, it’s not an unpopular decision to have Sweatshirt on this list. The second coming of annoying prepubescent teen pop, Jacob Satorious is harmless but that doesn’t make his music any less frutratingly generic and cringey. The reason why it’s not any higher is that, thanks to multiple remixes and satirical takes on the song, Sweatshirt has potential to make you laugh though that probably wasn’t Satorious’ intention. Despite that though, listen to this at your own risk. (Sorry Teagan Ner)

6. Jake Bugg – Ain’t No Rhyme

Credit where credit is due here: Jake Bugg’s new album isn’t the worst thing I’ve heard this year. While most of his recent LP On My One is sub-par at best, nothing that appears on the album is overly offensive to the ears like some of his discography. However, as soon as I came across Ain’t No Rhyme I felt revolted by Bugg trying to seem somewhat politically involved though it all comes off as impressive as Slaves going on about how we need to “take control” for the millionth time. More on that next week though. Bugg’s attempt at rapping or some variant of it is enough to have you reaching for the nearest bin.

5. The Stone Roses – All For One

If you’re going to return from a long-spanning hiatus, during which your debut album has accumulated a large amount of critical acclaim and a cult status, it’s probably best not to hit out with this as your comeback song. Back in the 80’s The Stone Roses were constantly hailed as one of the pioneering acts of music at the time and whether you disagree with that or not, there’s no doubt that I’d rather listen to anything else they’ve made than this generic BNQ advert drivel.

4. Fall Out Boy ft. Missy Elliott – Ghostbusters

While my affiliation with the Ghostbusters franchise isn’t as strong as the MRA’s who lost their shit with this year’s reboot, I, much like everyone else, found this remix of the classic theme tune very sacrilicious. The Missy Elliott verse is so out of place, not to mention plain as vanilla, Patrick Stump’s vocals seems overdone when the instrumentals are as uninteresting as they are and only when the song finally ends will you find some degree of enjoyment. They might not be afraid of no ghost but they’re definitely feart of making decent music at their current rate.

3. Lukas Graham – 7 Years

I have reason to believe that this track is the cause for many of those working in retail to be in such a sour mood. Having peaked at Number One in February and seemingly managing to stay “relevant” since 7 Years is a song that goes out of its way to try and evoke nostalgia and tranquillity yet only manages to enrage with its bland instrumentals and mind-numbing lyrics. Message to Lukas Graham: if you’re going to sing about being seven years old, something that plenty have managed, at least tell us something interesting that isn’t about how you had no pals.

2. The Chainsmokers – Closer

Call me an over-reacting little waine but The Chainsmokers may be the worst thing to happen to the charts since Calvin Harris sold his soul to make souless, formulaic chart hits. The duo have been very prominent this year and, if I’m being honest, I wouldn’t expect to have had to ever write about them again after just how dated and forgetful their first hit Selfie was all the way back in 2014. Closer manages to be somehow worse than all of the other “hits” Chainsmokers have shown off by featuring another artist who is equally as devoid of any entertainment, that person being Halsey. Both artists come together to create a song that, while having a great deal of meme potential, is enough to send you into a generic electro induced coma.

1. Catfish And The Bottlemen – Glasgow

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And to finish things off,  here we have our old friends Catfish And The Bottlemen. The band, being the saints that they are, decided to find it in their hearts to sing a heartfelt song about Scotland’s favourite music thriving city by doing it the only way they can: putting no effort in and consuming far too much alcohol to realise what a mistake they had made. Whether it be just how dire the song is, acoustic does not give you the excuse to be boring, or the blood curling way Van pronounces Sauchiehall Street, there’s plenty to love here! Wait, scratch that, I meant hate. Hate.

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TRACK REVIEW: Blink-182 – Bored To Death

How much of what makes blink-182 is still there? Just like the transhumanism question, many wonder if the band can still be what many fans fell in love with after the departure of founding member Tom DeLonge and subsequent addition of Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba.

Now that we’ve got our first taste of the new and improved(?) blink-182 on Bored To Death, set to appear on the band’s seventh LP California on July 1st, can all qualms be laid to rest?

The answer is a shaky but still firm ‘yes’. Opening up with what can only be described as the lovechild of Feeling This flanged drums and Adam’s Song broody bass, the track’s verses reek of the atmosphere that the band’s eponymously titled album wore on its sleeves.

The chorus is where things get a bit tremulous and the achilles heel of Bored To Death is on full show: the lyrics. While blink have always had a love of the slightly cheesy, “life is too short to last long” comes off as something Chad Kroeger would come up with and be full of pride with. Maybe it’s because of previous subject matter that Hoppus has managed to convey well but there’s a sense of disappointment when it comes to what the lyrics are trying to do here though thankfully this doesn’t derail the enjoyment in store here.

While it’s still early days, the addition of Matt Skiba seems to be working well as the band haven’t lost what makes them so enjoyable to listen to. While it may not be the best music they’ve released since their reunion, that title goes to the Dog’s Eating Dogs EP, fans should be exhilarated for California.

blink_182_Matt_Skiba

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Top 10 Anticipated Albums of 2016

With my first video telling you all about my favourite albums of 2015, here’s a list of all the albums I’m excited to listen to this year!

 

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blink-182 – Greatest Hits

The term “pop punk” is thrown around quite a lot nowadays, usually assigned to bands such as All Time Low, Paramore and Fall Out Boy and is successful for presenting punk rock with a whole new twist on it. Even though now nearly any new bands nowadays can be classified as being pop punk, one pop punk that have been around since the start and celebrated their 21st anniversary on Friday are blink 182.

Now blink-182 aren’t unheard of as they’ve had success both commercially and critically, being well known for the energy and charisma that thrives in their albums as well as their live performances. Greatest Hits was released during the hiatus of blink-182, a hiatus many fans and critics thought would never end and who could blame them. Tom DeLonge was already having mild success with his band Angels and Airwaves and Mark Hoppus was also working on various musical projects such as +44 with fellow bandmate Travis Barker who, in my opinion, is one of the most talented drummers in music right now, expanding his talents to different genres outside of the genre he had conquered with blink-182. Enough with the reminiscing now, with blink-182 back with an altered style which is fresh and still as great as ever, it’s time to look back at their greatest hits. I couldn’t have picked a better track list if I’m being honest, as the selection on this album contains tracks from the early days with Scott Raynor on albums such as Buddha and obviously ones from Enema Of The State where he was replaced with Barker and blink began to experience major commercial success. Of course there is the obvious choices such as All The Small Things that’ll have you chanting “nananananananananana” over and over again and Carousel that lets you reminisce on the early days of blink and back on a younger Tom DeLonge’s odd vocals. As well as that, there’s also the dark Adam’s Song which is chilling even now and Stay Together For The Kids, two songs that show that blink weren’t only about dick and mum jokes but about the hard times of adolescence and life itself. I Miss You and First Date are both good choices as they show another well known problem of adolescence, romance. The latter represents more of the awkward guy’s version of a date with the paranoia of screwing it up and so makes it a very relatable song with a very cheesy, romantic chorus.

Negatives? The only problem I have with this album is the absence of certain tracks that shows the humorous side of blink which would make for a slightly better compilation album but the tracks that are on the episode can’t be argued with. After listening to it more than I’m glad to admit, I still have no issues with any of the tracks on this album.

At the end of the day, blink-182 will be many things to many people, not all of these things positive as is the case with every band. Ignoring that fact though, every fan of the punk genre, no matter what their preference is should listen to this album. For fans of the pop punk genre, it’s a must buy as it not only shows why blink-182 are successful but how the genre as a whole was born. Plug in your headphones, turn up the volume, play and enjoy.