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Was John Feldmann necessary to push blink back into the mainstream?

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Here's the piece: https://loudernow.online/2018/04/10/john-feldmann-a-necessary-force-to-propel-blink-182-back-into-mainstream-relevancy/

The main argument is that while Feldmann did change blink's sound up in a way that has annoyed some veteran fans, it did appeal to casual fans more. And hopefully, this puts blink in a position where they can comfortably experiment in the next album.

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Honestly, I do understand that blink wanted to play it safe in order to get themselves relevant in the mainstream again. But I don't think it was necessary. You can be experimental and be mainstream. The single doesn't have to be something like BTD. Just look at I Miss You. Blink themselves didn't expect that to be popular but it was. Green Day weren't relevant in the early 2000s until they experimented with the American Idiot album.

All blink needed was a hit or two. Doesn't matter if the song is experimental or not, it can still be a hit. As for Matt Skiba coming in, I doubt casual fans would even know the difference between Matt Skiba and Tom. Really, I think of it as a no win situation when it comes to the hardcore blink fans. It was either two options for blink. One was to have the gothic punk rock sound that Matt would bring to blink, alongside his new wave elements and Mark's +44 vibes. Two was to try go the more mainstream sounding route, which is what they did.

Doesn't matter which option they'd choose, the hardcore fans would be split. Some blink fans just don't want that Alkaline Trio gothic punk sound with blink, but there's also some who'd love it, me being one of them. So they went the more poppy route, but again, some blink fans just don't wanna hear that anymore, especially after hearing BCR, +44 and the 2003 album. Me personally, I don't actually mind that they went the more poppy route. It was the fact they went so overboard with it. There was just no need for every damn song to have a fucking woah or nana or whatever crap it was. One or two songs is enough. Gang vocals also do not work in a blink song either IMO. They could've done pop punk in a more blink way, not a crappy ATL way. That's just my personal opnion though. Everything they did just wasn't necessary at all IMO. Yeah, it worked, but it could've worked other ways too.

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16 minutes ago, Nosferatu said:

It was either two options for blink. One was to have the gothic punk rock sound that Matt would bring to blink, alongside his new wave elements and Mark's +44 vibes. Two was to try go the more mainstream sounding route, which is what they did.

I'm worried that +44 was, lyrically speaking, just an album in a vacuum. It basically captured Mark at (one can only speculate) the most trying time of his musical career, and he probably never had so much anger, disdain and general feelings built up for Tom. 

Maybe, without Tom as the dynamic force challenging Mark to stray away from songwriting that's sonically like California, this is the most probable outcome. And the main point of the article is that the guys always had Jerry Finn as the "fourth unofficial member" of blink, and Feldmann's influence on this album was potentially not contrasting enough. When referencing this work in interviews he sounds like it was the most unbelievable thing to ever happen to him, which I can't blame him. But he sounded like a fan who was lucky to be there, and it's hard to tell how many times he actually said "no" to certain ideas as opposed to, "Definitely! This sounds like 'classic' blink." Just my .02. 

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lol dumb article. i hate when writers do a bunch of citing stuff and add barely anything of their own... and when they do, it's wasted your time and it's incredibly stupid. this is opinion, but this statement:

Quote

it does open the door for further opportunities to safely experiment without fear of dropping off the map once again. 2017’s California (part 2/deluxe edition) was the beginning of the experimentation

how in god's name was cali deluxe "experimental" in any sense? it's a bunch of even worse feldmann factory schlock, with even more uninspired lyrics and copy-paste guitar riffs. if this is how this author views things, he's got a lot more catching up to do before he's any authority on what direction this band should go

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I think in comparison to California, the deluxe could be considered more experimental. It's all about expectations. And I think without Tom in the band, I don't expect anything close to untitled or really anything as inspired as WYHSB. 

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59 minutes ago, DudeRanch182 said:

I think in comparison to California, the deluxe could be considered more experimental. It's all about expectations. And I think without Tom in the band, I don't expect anything close to untitled or really anything as inspired as WYHSB. 

but exactly WHAT, in comparison to cali, makes the deluxe edition “experimental”? i just don’t see it. it’s more sing songy bland filler...

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- Deluxe had three songs that were in minor keys (6/8, Don't Mean Anything and Bottom of the Ocean)

- Deluxe had a song with a different time signature (6/8)

- California had many songs in the key of C (Cynical, Bored to Death, SOOHM, No Future, San Diego, Brohemian Rhapsody (if you want to include it))

- Deluxe had a version of Bored to Death that was actually in Mark's comfortable singing range (wish they would take this approach and tune down for some older songs as well). Eb major seems to be a good fit for them (like in Long Lost Feeling) and I think this would be cool to see more of going forward. 

None of these alone are reasons why it's more experimental. But, it shows they are making an effort to not just release a song in the key of C, in 4/4 and using the chords C Am F and G. 

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None of the songs are experimental to me. Experimental to me is a sound I've never really heard before, or a sound I've never heard in pop punk before at least, since it'll be harder and harder to be more original these days. Don't Mean Anything still sounds like a generic pop punk Simple Plan styled song despite the minor key. 6/8 is different for blink but it sounds no different to what Sum 41 did on Chuck or Screaming Bloody Murder IMO. Bottom of the Ocean is slightly different for blink but I've got no idea if the song is trying to sound like Fall Out Boy or +44.

Still, I love this song even if I do hear FOB resemblances. And it would fit in with blink's darker +44ish sound from the past 10 years I think so to me it sounds honest. I hope blink do more of this sound. I'm a big fan of blink when they're being kinda electronic. Los Angeles, Bottom of the Ocean and Fighting the Gravity. That kinda sound. Still, I don't want a full album of that though. 2-3 songs is enough.

Don't think anyone should be calling the deluxe experimental though. all of it sounds like modern generic pop punk stuff almost. It suffers from the same stuff as the main California album and it's also no different to the main album. Blink had more experimenting on Cheshire Cat with Cacophany.

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Exactly, that's not experimental at all. It can be a little bit more diverse in comparison of Cali1, but, I mean...

 

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The issue with the argument isn't that deluxe is more or less experimental, it's that they wrote it the same time as California anyway so it wasn't them experimenting because they could, it's them releasing songs from the cutting room floor to make an extra buck. 

I do not think Feldmann was necessary. to bring them back into the mainstream they needed some catchy songs and a hell of a lot of effective marketing - both could have been achieved without Feldmann. blink know how to write catchy music and don't need a ghost writer to do it, and with the right amount of marketing (which they had the money to do) they could have 'exploded' back into the mainstream easily. The mistake they made with Neighborhoods wasn't completely down to the production/lack of a producer (although that certainly didn't help) but it was down to allowing a label who clearly weren't too bothered being in charge of marketing it (or not, as the case turned out to be) and the lack of an actually catchy single. 

It takes five minutes to write a catchy hook. go to any competent producer to make it sound half good and with enough money you can slam it anywhere and get a hit. it isn't rocket science, and John Feldmann is not the be all and end all of cookie cutter music.

Literally any other producer with them and the same marketing tools they used would have had the same result. I'd argue better, if the songs were better. 

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In all honesty, I don't think they'd have been anything resemblant of mainstream or whatever they were following bored to death and the grammy nom.

That was a lot of marketing push I don't think they'd have done without Feldmann's help.

Blink wasn't that relevant anymore.  Yes, people were interested in hearing a return, but most still don't even know Skiba replaced Tom.. and it's not like they were mainstream after the first return album and DED.. 

Feldmann always wanted and always wants to be mainstream, and he knows what he's doing there and got Blink's name to play with.

 

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It was the full package: gettin THE GUY, the man who's now like the big God in the industry, the one who leaks his influence in almost any range of the alternative radio friendly music, and getting it pushed as hell via marketing and what not.

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8 hours ago, DudeRanch182 said:

- Deluxe had three songs that were in minor keys (6/8, Don't Mean Anything and Bottom of the Ocean)

- Deluxe had a song with a different time signature (6/8)

- California had many songs in the key of C (Cynical, Bored to Death, SOOHM, No Future, San Diego, Brohemian Rhapsody (if you want to include it))

- Deluxe had a version of Bored to Death that was actually in Mark's comfortable singing range (wish they would take this approach and tune down for some older songs as well). Eb major seems to be a good fit for them (like in Long Lost Feeling) and I think this would be cool to see more of going forward. 

None of these alone are reasons why it's more experimental. But, it shows they are making an effort to not just release a song in the key of C, in 4/4 and using the chords C Am F and G. 

I've said it before and I'll say it again.

You know you're a pretty non experimental band when you do a song in a different time signature and feel the need to name the song after it. 

And wow, three whole songs in minor keys!

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24 minutes ago, Ghost said:

It was the full package: gettin THE GUY, the man who's now like the big God in the industry, the one who leaks his influence in almost any range of the alternative radio friendly music, and getting it pushed as hell via marketing and what not.

there's a very small percentage of average listeners who would know who 'the guy' is, and he isn't the only one who can badly produce a glossy sounding record. He himself has nothing to do with marketing, it's an entirely different area. replace him as producer with any other rock producer but use the same marketing and the result would have been the same or better.

Blinks relevance in the mainstream now is down to marketing, not the music. Fall Out Boy is still huge and their music is dog shite now. they just have lots of money and marketing, it's all it is. 

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Not saying Deluxe is experimental. It's more experimental than California, though. 

It's easy to say in retrospect, but it all comes down to your expectations of what type of music they will put out. I think California was a predictable sonic outcome with Feldmann producing and without Tom in the band.

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This should be interesting. I'm not sure the whole John Feldmann topic has ever been debated here.. I will keep my eyes on this thread with great anticipation to read everyone's opinions on the matter!

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That article is interesting because they paint a picture of Blink 182 losing their popularity, but when you look at the fact, they were selling better than majority of acts (Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, Nick Jonas, etc) around that time. They were doing relatively well considering. California selling better (by what, 100k?) is basically just marketing and promotion pushes that Interscope never was able to give the Neighborhoods era.

All the California album cycle did was make Blink 182 a nostalgia act in my eyes. It solidified it. The band is more or less in their middle age crisis at the moment.

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4 hours ago, Kay said:

The issue with the argument isn't that deluxe is more or less experimental, it's that they wrote it the same time as California anyway so it wasn't them experimenting because they could, it's them releasing songs from the cutting room floor to make an extra buck. 

I do not think Feldmann was necessary. to bring them back into the mainstream they needed some catchy songs and a hell of a lot of effective marketing - both could have been achieved without Feldmann. blink know how to write catchy music and don't need a ghost writer to do it, and with the right amount of marketing (which they had the money to do) they could have 'exploded' back into the mainstream easily. The mistake they made with Neighborhoods wasn't completely down to the production/lack of a producer (although that certainly didn't help) but it was down to allowing a label who clearly weren't too bothered being in charge of marketing it (or not, as the case turned out to be) and the lack of an actually catchy single. 

It takes five minutes to write a catchy hook. go to any competent producer to make it sound half good and with enough money you can slam it anywhere and get a hit. it isn't rocket science, and John Feldmann is not the be all and end all of cookie cutter music.

Literally any other producer with them and the same marketing tools they used would have had the same result. I'd argue better, if the songs were better. 

I think you make a great point with the marketing. That really wasn't as prevelant with Neighborhoods in comparison to their previous work. 

It's tough with the different producer thing. You just never know what the result would've been.  It feels like it's kind of a crapshoot. 

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