blink-182’s been doing it since the mid-90’s, and whether you’re a fan of their entire repertoire since Cheshire Cat, just sing “All The Small Things” at Karaoke, or get into debates over Tom DeLonge vs Matt Skiba, it’s hard to deny that they were instrumental in the pop-punk boom of hook-laden high-energy tunes. While the trend might have faded, blink-182 has come out strong on the other side with the longevity of their lyrical humor, tongue-in cheek videos, and pure energy of members like Travis Barker on stage. Let’s look back at some of the essential tunes, chronologically, from blink-182.
Sometimes referred to as “Growing Up” because of its repeated theme “Well, I guess this is growing up” is an apt song to start our trip down blink-182 memory lane. It was their first hit single from their second record Dude Ranch built around a signature riff that was only written because the acoustic guitar in the room was missing two strings. Scott Heisel of Alternative Press called “Dammit” the “perfect punk song, everyone knows it, and it’s probably being covered in someone’s basement right now.”
“What’s My Age Again”
Continuing the theme of growing up, “What’s My Age Again” is a pivotal song for blink-182, and another tune about staying young at heart. Released in 1999, it was the lead single from their third record Enema of the State, which has sold 15 million copies to date, and the first track to feature Travis Barker on drums. Just like the ethos of the song, the tune itself and its video of the band running naked through the streets of LA haven’t aged at all.
“All The Small Things” Another from Enema of the State that remains collectively engrained into pop memory, “All The Small Things” was originally described by the band as a “catchy and basic” single to be shipped to radio. They got one thing right, it was catchy as hell, with hooks for days.
For the band’s fourth record, Take Off Your Pants and Jacket, DeLonge wrote “First Date” about his first date with wife Jennifer Jenkins’ at SeaWorld San Diego when he was 21. It’s rumored that when the band’s manager said the record needed a “feel good song” Mark Hoppus came back in 10 minutes with “Rock Show” and DeLonge came back to him with “First Date” which became one of their biggest singles. Besides, who could forget the band’s iconic looks in the music video as hippie versions of themselves?
“I Miss You”.
One of the best examples of the interplay between Mark Hoppus and Tom DeLonge on record is the contrast between the two on this tune. When the band dropped their self-titled record in 2003, it was described as a more mature sound, as exemplified on this track. Mature or not, it will never not be the best to sing Tom’s “WHERE ARE YOU” opening line that is just as impactful now as the first time you hear the song.
Another from the self-titled, it’s the perfect end to this list as the song ends with a harmonized duet between DeLonge and Hoppus. It was the first single from the record, inspired by Led Zeppelin and The Beach Boys. The lyrics were written by Hoppus and DeLonge in separate rooms, having not discussed the thematic for the song, and when they came together it had turned out they were writing about the same subject. In the chorus, Barker plays a cowbell which he initially added in because he thought DeLonge would hate.