Eighth Grade Revisited

    You are now free to let out that sigh of relief you’ve been holding since junior high.

    After a prolonged hiatus, Blink-182 returns to reclaim the pop-punk throne with Neighborhoods, the band’s first studio release in over eight years. From the tinny, excessive drumming and open-chord strums (not to mention, the title) of opener “Ghost on the Dance Floor,” it is clear that Blink has not matured a bit.

    Tom DeLonge, Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker are as they’ve always been: full of dorky teen angst and infectious pop hooks. And though Neighborhoods’ first single “Up All Night” half-assedly attempts to interject mean-ingful lyrics about raising children and finding one’s place in the world, the intended theme, as is the case with any good Blink song, quickly gives way to fist-pumping verses and one relentlessly catchy chorus.

    Closer “Even If She Falls” employs all the schmaltzy winners in Blink’s bag of tricks: some ear-worm lyricism, Barker’s patented ADHD percussion and the kind of bubbly tween-age chord progression that seems scientifically calcu-lated for radio play. The track easily stands alongside past Blink superhits such as “First Date” and “What’s My Age Again?”It’s formulaic, sure. But it’s a formula that made the darkest days of junior high just a little bit brighter.After almost a decade off the map and a slew of failed side projects, Blink-182 has nobly managed to cling des-perately to that inner child, even though we’ve long since grown up.

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