It’s not often that a deluxe edition of an album will include 11 brand new songs, and it’s definitely not often that a deluxe edition will be so superior to the original that it makes listeners’ heads explode.
Welcome to California (Deluxe Edition) by blink-182.
When blink announced Tom DeLonge’s departure (and his replacement, Matt Skiba) in 2015, it tore apart the fandom. How could a band continue without 1/3 of their members, especially considering how iconic DeLonge’s voice and songwriting style were? And to be outright replaced with the guitarist/singer from Alkaline Trio? (Although, to be fair, Skiba was the right choice for this role, but fans can be nearsighted.)
No one knew what to think of an album without DeLonge. When California was released, many ruthlessly hated it, which I had a hard time understanding. I think it was the absence, the feeling of betrayal, that caused bitterness from the start. California wasn’t blink’s best by any means, but there were memorable songs that came from it. Single “Bored To Death” was good, “Cynical” and “Kings of the Weekend” were nice to hear, and “San Diego” was a personal favorite of mine. As a pretty diehard fan of blink and Mark Hoppus in general, I liked the rest of the album, but it was missing that special ingredient to take it to the next level.
Hoppus, Skiba and Travis Barker must have realized this and added the missing ingredient, along with a few extra scoops, to their deluxe edition of California, because every single additional song is phenomenal.
California (Deluxe Edition) is dark, maybe their darkest effort to date. Dealing with issues from depression to estranged parents, blink tackles a lot in these 11 new songs. That’s not to say they’re all sad or down, though. There are some upbeat, fun ones, too, like “Wildfire,” which sounds the most like the old blink you may be used to.
Three things I absolutely love about California (Deluxe Edition):
Harmonies everywhere. Hoppus and Skiba’s voices blend together so well. And when they’re singing close harmonies, like in “6/8?” It’s magical. Which leads me to my next point:
2.) The fact that Skiba sings on this record
California barely included Skiba’s vocals at all, but the deluxe is littered with him, which is amazing. He’s got a great voice. It also seems that he may have contributed more to the songwriting this time around. Either way, A+.
3.) Lyrical content that hits hard
I’m very into lyrics. From a very young age, I’ve penned lyrics to songs that no one in this world will ever read or hear. I’m not saying that because “no one pays attention to me” and now “my dream is dead.” I really don’t want anyone to read them. However, I wanted to be a lyricist for a long time. My love for these strings of words meant I wrote down my favorite song lyrics all over everything I owned. I still do. However, not many of them came from blink-182.
California (Deluxe Edition) provided me with plenty of new lines to jot down. Some favorites so far:
“The only time I feel alive is when I find something I would die for.”
– “Last Train Home”
“Learn to swim in rushing rivers breaking on the shore/Make your peace with broken streets/Your face turned towards the storm.”
“Everything you ever hoped for/Waiting there outside your front door/Bleeding to death/Everything you never wanted/Here to stay just like that haunted/Place they save for everyone’s dying breath.”
– “Hey I’m Sorry”
Had this website existed when California was released, I would probably have given it a 7/10. The deluxe edition, however —
Featured image courtesy of Wikimedia.