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Fuck Guilty Pleasures

It's Time For Critics to Reevaluate Blink-182

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Tue, Jun 19, 2012 at 4:00 AM

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[Editor's Note: Fuck Guilty Pleasures celebrates the over-produced, commercial, artless, lowbrow music that we believe is genuinely worthwhile. Like, among the best music ever.]

Critics do their best to ignore Blink-182. After all, it's not easy to get scrunched up with deep opinions about lip-ringed, occasionally naked SoCal troublemakers hawking pre-YouTube music-video softcore on early-morning MTV rotation. Pitchfork didn't even bother publishing a flogging (a la 21st Century Breakdown) of Blink's 2011 comeback album Neighborhoods, much less a review.

In fact, to fans of previous musical generations, Blink-182 might be two notches above nursery rhymes in terms of the grand musical canon. Rolling Stone would call their 1999 album Enema of the State "harmless," which is profoundly wrong. Simply because there's a huge demographic of college kids thinking hard about music who consider Blink-182 one of the most important bands of all time, in about a decade, the band's best songs will achieve the respectable ubiquity of classic-rock radio. Blink-182 is anything but harmless, and they absolutely deserve their forthcoming revisionism.

Blink-182 aren't brainless pop; they made it onto far too many bitter mixtapes for that. Beyond all the dick jokes and debauchery, Barker, DeLonge and Hoppus managed to write tunes that feel honest, true and resolute. Sure, it takes a certain level of teenybopper ignorance to let "I Miss You" get scratched into your soul, but nobody's ever articulated those pathetic vibes better.

The band has ascended into a certain cultural immortality where dozens of other pop-punk vagabonds have been neutralized by their own bullshit. That's not just because Blink has about 90-minutes of stadium-ready, nonstop car jams. It's because "Nobody likes you when you're 23" is actually a genius thing to say in a rock song. Blink-182 was secretly very good at telling a reflective story in two minutes. To this day these so-called cartoon-character pop songs reflect a beguiling amount of gravitas, and that's why they'll remain unavoidable.

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