Blink-182 is often regarded as a band to jest about – a source of amusement, indeed. However, beneath surface lies an enigmatic quality that metamorphoses their juvenile, in-your-face lyrics and predictable songcraft. In their latest opus, “One More Time,” a most unexpected release following a schism between Tom DeLonge and his compatriots Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker, the veterans of pop-punk encapsulate the essence of youth, perplexities of aging, and the ever-present prospect of self-indulgence.
The catalyst for their reunion transpired when Hoppus was beset by a cancer diagnosis in 2021. On eponymous track, Hoppus and DeLonge exchange verses, pondering, “Must I meet my demise to hear your longing for my presence?” It resonates as a spiritual counterpart to their 2004 megahit “I Miss You,” replete with brushed percussions and DeLonge’s quivering, nasal vocal delivery reminiscent of an emo rendition of Kermit the Frog.
Amidst allusions to mortality, Blink-182 retains their knack for forging resounding refrains before plunging listener into an eerie, entrancing bridge, a stark reminder that life is ephemeral, and one might as well revel in a fervent throng, chanting “olé olé olé” (as they do in “Dance With Me”). While the gimmickry becomes a trifle tiresome, sporadically, the album is punctuate by moments that emanate genuine spontaneity and liberation. The “One More Time!” interlude, in particular, appears as if it were pluck directly from a 1997 Epitaph sampler.
Once driven by the aspiration to shock and vex as many adults as possible, Blink-182 now fixates on feeble fragility of human bonds and omnipresent specter of mortality. Naturally, jests about self-gratification, trysts within sacred sanctuaries, and phonetic puzzles persist, but an existential nuance permeates entire narrative. In the words of their younger selves in 1997, it is the realization that, indeed, “I suppose this signifies maturation process.”