Unless you’re Patrick Star from SpongeBob SquarePants, and therefore excused because you're living under a frickin' rock, you've heard that Blink-182 is back in its original and purest form. (Sorry, Matt Skiba — we still love you.) Founding singer/guitarist Tom DeLonge has been welcomed back into the fold after a seven-year absence, during which time he focused his energy on other projects including his other successful pop-punk band, Angels & Airwaves, and perhaps more famously, his lifelong mission to prove the existence of third-encounter life beyond Earth through his company To The Stars … Academy of Arts and Sciences.
With DeLonge officially back with Blink-182, joining drummer Travis Barker and bassist/singer Mark Hoppus, the original trio released a new song called “Edging” and will be heading out on a world tour that stops through Dallas on July 5, 2023, at the American Airlines Center. The reunion tour also made headlines for its pricey tickets, starting at $600 — maybe now that Travis is a Kardashian he's forgotten the price of a gallon of milk, dunno, but you better start saving. And in preparation for what’s sure to be an incredible reunion show, let’s also take a deep dive into the bowels of Blink-182’s discography with some of the band's lesser known songs featuring man of the hour Tom DeLonge.
“Dysentery Gary,” Enema of the State (1999)
Sandwiched between two of Blink’s greatest hits, “What’s My Age Again?” and “Adam’s Song,” it’s safe to say that “Dysentery Gary” might be one of the most-skipped songs ever. And that’s a shame, because it’s a real gem. The lyrics depict a typical, infuriating fuckboy (presumably named Gary) who is a “diarrhea giver.” DeLonge goes on to lament the fact that he, nice guy that he is, has been passed over by countless girls in favor of this guy who clearly does not deserve their attention. Hoppus makes an appearance with a quiet bridge driving home the point, “Ease away the problems and the pain/the girl chose the guy that makes you wanna kick and scream.” In other words, “girls are such a drag.” “Anthem,” Enema of the State (1999)
The final song on Enema of the State gives us DeLonge at his finest, showcasing his signature nasal vocals in all the best ways. “Anthem” is about the battle between angsty teenagers and parents who just don’t understand them. DeLonge takes us through the aftermath of a rowdy house party with lines like, “White lies, bloodshot eyes/breath of alcohol, stole it from the mall ... ”
Notably, the song features the classic refrain “I time bomb.” We’re still not entirely sure what that means, Tom, to be honest. The story of the house party continues with the better-known “Anthem Part 2,” which is the opening track on Blink’s subsequent album, Take Off Your Pants and Jacket.
“Reckless Abandon,” Take Off Your Pants and Jacket (2001)
The pop-punk group's 2001 release Take Off Your Pants and Jacket spawned three megahits: “First Date,” “The Rock Show" and “Stay Together for the Kids,” and the album seemed to be an instant mainstream success. Unlike those three songs, your local radio station probably didn’t play “Reckless Abandon” on repeat, but it’s worth another listen. This song is all about living your best — and most reckless — life after school lets out for the summer. But just beneath the surface, there’s a bittersweetness to all the fun, which you can feel in lyrics like “We left a scar size extra large.” Summer, like all good things, does inevitably come to an end.
“Give Me One Good Reason,” Take Off Your Pants and Jacket (2001)
Why do we need to be like them? This is the fundamental question that DeLonge wants us to think about in “Give Me One Good Reason.” Of course, one can’t possibly ponder that question without roasting all the types of people we don’t want to be like, including the “hippie fucking scumbags” and the girls who “wanna pierce their nose.” This song reassures listeners that it’s cool to be different, and you don’t have to fit in. Teen angst, clashing with your parents and generally coming of age were major themes throughout Take Off Your Pants and Jacket, which is a little strange when you think about the fact that DeLonge was in his mid-20s when this album was released. Um, what's his age again? Let’s just all agree not to think about that.
“Violence,” blink-182 (2003)
Blink’s self-titled album is much darker in nature than their previous work and is undoubtedly their most “emo,” at least as we knew it in the early aughts. “Violence” immediately conjures images of DeLonge’s shaggy side-swept bangs, his ever-present lip ring and his general devil-may-care aesthetic. According to DeLonge himself, this is a song about obsession, and maybe a touch of alcoholism. In the original CD liner, he explains, “I thought of one thing in my head, a scenario of a bar, late at night when a pretty female walks into the building during a fast-paced hardcore dance song. I thought of every guy in that room looking at her and lusting after her. Each one not paying attention to any detail present except her.” “Asthenia,” blink-182 (2003)
We know DeLonge is into all things space and extraterrestrial, so it’s no surprise that he looked to the final frontier for inspiration in this chilling, otherworldly track. “Asthenia” generally means weakness or a “lack of strength” in the medical world, but in terms of this song, DeLonge notes in the CD liner that asthenia is “the breakdown of life in space.” The intro includes authentic NASA transmissions, which set the scene perfectly for a track about an astronaut considering whether to return to Earth and, more importantly, whether his return would even matter. It’s about the complete and total isolation the astronaut feels as he’s floating through space. “This place is void of all passion, if you can imagine,” he says.
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