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Kay

Nine Criticisms.

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Alright so,

I would like to discuss some of the issues on this record, but most of the board are super enjoying it and I don't particularly want to piss on anyones chips or have fights or whatever like we would've had in the California days. 

So consider this a safe 'hate' space, for lack of a better phrase. Somewhere to discuss and critique the weaknesses on the album without upsetting those who are super stoked on it. Let's contain it here.

I'll start -

I'm not a fan. I think the lyrics are weak, the songs are very samey (especially the choruses), the over-the-top, over effected drums are splattered over every song to overcompensate for the lack of actual instrumentation, and you can 100% tell that a lot of the writing is hired in. Truthfully you could replace Mark and Matts voices with TayTay or Katy Perry on some of these and not blink an eye. It's very shallow songwriting with some electronic bells and whistles. Smoke and mirrors. (and too much autotune). 

I don't think there's anything wrong with people being into it, I like some pop music so I can understand the appeal, but I know blink as being the band to pioneer and perfect pop punk, and if I wanted luke warm electronic pop rock music there's a lot of other places I'd probably go to first. 

But as much as my overall perspective isn't positive I think I'm finally coming around to a few home truths. Namely, that I don't like blink anymore. I love the old stuff but they've had 3 albums worth of material since Tom left and I just don't like any of it (although I still love 6/8 and Last Train Home) and I didn't even like DED much when that came out. something I've also learned from this is that I don't even like Mark's voice anymore. I can't really see how it's "different" but a lot of his vocal delivery just irritates me these days. It never used to. Does he actually sound different or is this solely me? 

I don't really feel like raining on everyones parade and causing fights, I think it's great that those who hated Cali are loving this, it's good for blink fans to be happy about blink again, I'm legit chuffed for everyone. but it's not for me. 

but I don't want to leave the forum, I like it here, I just might have to learn some self control regarding posting in the blink section. So until I learn that self control, this topic exists.

 

Whilst I'm very much in the minority, I know I'm not totally alone in not loving this, so if others want to weigh in that'd be great. Even if it's "well, I like it, but...." that'd be fab. 

 

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The last track is bad, and even though I like the instrumental of Black Rain there's something about the vocal melody that sort of annoys the shit out of me. Also not a fan of the first half of ransom, but the fast second half is something I wish there was a lot more of on the record.

I was actually very lukewarm on the album after my first listen. It kind of felt like blink was trying to be a discount Linkin Park or something. The album grew on me pretty fast though.

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2 minutes ago, Cheerios4u98 said:

The last track is bad, and even though I like the instrumental of Black Rain there's something about the vocal melody that sort of annoys the shit out of me. Also not a fan of the first half of ransom, but the fast second half is something I wish there was a lot more of on the record.

I was actually very lukewarm on the album after my first listen. It kind of felt like blink was trying to be a discount Linkin Park or something. The album grew on me pretty fast though.

Yeah I actually love the verses in Black Rain, probably my favourite part of the whole record really but the chorus kind of kills it for me. With you on Ransom as well. 

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15 minutes ago, Kay said:

Yeah I actually love the verses in Black Rain, probably my favourite part of the whole record really but the chorus kind of kills it for me. With you on Ransom as well. 

Yeah, it's the chorus specifically that gets me on Black Rain, and I hate how that's how the song starts, too. I agree with you, the verses are probably some of the best parts of the record, but something about that chorus annoys me.

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i was very surprised on the first listen because it all sounded really fresh after california. the second listen was a bit less euphoric. i didn't make it through a third listen.

I think it's a very clever produced and written pop-record whit tons of bells and whistles and little production gimmicks that keep your attention but behind that curtain there isn't that many interesting things.

I said it somewhere else before but there are always some good parts on songs but also always some parts that feel out of place an cheap. Black rain verses are fucking superb because the production is so over the top. but i don't like the chorus.

IRWIHY has a great pop chorus, but the verses are just bland and lame. other pop artists are much superior in that regard. same goes with a lot of other songs...

On some Emo shit is the only song they did by themselves? not so interested in the pre feldy demos anymore, that song is a real stinker.

 

Compared to california i think it's a much better album overall and i totally get the praise for it and if a song from it comes on on the radio or on shuffle i won't skip/change station like i did with california tracks.

I'm totally fine with blink trying to get back in the top 40 charts territory and i think they're on the right track and I'll be interested in following that.

But i won't go see them live if they play in my hometown.

Call me a tombot but blink died for me when tom left. I enjoy Rebel Girl and Kiss And Tell so much more than anything blink has released. Mind the cringey lyrics, wierd vocal deliveries and other scammy shenanigans tom is up to, the guy still can write melodies that grab my heartstrings.

 

I'm very glad that a lot of people love the new record, i think it has brought the community together 

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I really like it. Some of the lyrics aren't great, but they're much better than Cali. I guess the beauty of lyrics and song writing is that they can mean something different to everyone. 

My only real criticism(s) is the TPain opening to Ransom and BIOMY is still one of the worst songs I have ever heard.  

Overall, I'm happy, because Long Lost Feeling was one of my favourite Blink songs of recent years and there are more songs of that ilk.

 

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Like:

- Darkside

- Black Rain

-No Heart To speak of

- Hungover you

 

Don't Mind:

- Heaven

- Generational Divide

- Ransom

- IRWIHY

- Pin The Grenade

- BIOMY

 

Dislike:

- Happy Days

- On Some Emo Shit

- Remember To Forget Me

- Run Away

 

I constantly had to check the tracklist because a lot of the songs are so similar

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I'm still on the process of listening to it more and in different moments to see how it grows. I don't want to be californiated again. That record was a blast on the first listens, but then it showed critical flaws (IMO). I just tryed and tryed to listen to it tons of times and I only can rescue a few songs. I still think "Bored To Death" is one of the best songs they have put out since the reunion, though. Anyway, this is not about California.

Nine feels different. On this first listens shows how bad Feldmann kidnapped blink (and I'm sure they know it). I think the main difference between Feldy cupping all California production and shared songwritting compared to the songwriters they have hired for Nine, is that Fledy tryed to make blink kind of his own band... but all those producers and co-writers, this time, have been the opposite: just serving the band and the songs (it feels like that), which is pretty noticeable and different to my ear, specially because we can hear a biggest presence of Skiba all over the record (still, I don't see it as much as +44 or Alkaline Trio-esque as some of you guys do). To me feels like the White album by Weezer. Yeah, it had lots of co-authors, but it felt like Weezer. This is a very similar situation. Nine feels pretty close to what some of us expected when Skiba was announced as Tom's replacement, and that's a good signal.

Also, despite all the production paraphernalia used on this album, Nine feels much better and 'organic' that California. A little bit less compressed too, and production-wise more diverse. It's not all 'just make it loud and shit to impact the listener and the radio', it shows how they worked more time on the songs.

In terms of songwriting and all, it feels much better too. More dynamic, so to say (specially compared to California), at least on the first listens. I like the fact that Mark and Matt are singing in different ranges and not aaaaaaaaaaall screaming and out of range. Also, on the songs, as I said, you can see more Matt influence, which is good. In general, it sounds more relaxed than California, which had this kind of pressure all over it (to show off, to scream, to be oud and overproduced).

Still, I find hard to consider this new incarnation as blink. This is a very personal  opinion and impressión. It just lacks something. I like it better than California, though, and as a project between Matt and Mark, sounds good.

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My breakdown is more like this. 

 

Like (parts of) - 

(Chorus mostly) First Time

(Most of) Runaway

(half of) Black Rain

(Some of) No Heart To Speak Of

 

Can vaguely tolerate bits of but not enjoy at all -

Heaven

Pin The Grenade

Ransom (half of, the beginning is the worst part of the entire record)

IRWIHY

Darkside

Generational Divide

Hungover You (I'm assuming, genuinely don't remember this one at all and I've heard it three times)

On Some Emo Shit

 

Just straight up hate -

Happy Days

BIOMY

Remember To Forget You

 

 

 

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Like:

The First Time
Heaven
Darkside
Generational Divide
Run Away
Pin the Grenade
No Heart to Speak of

Alright:

Black Rain
Ransom
On Some Emo Shit
Hungover You
I Really Wish I Hated You

Meh:

Happy Days
Blame It On My Youth
Remember To Forget Me

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I don't get why people like the second part of Ransom, it's just the same chord progression they used on almost every Cali song (or you can say every other top 40 song) with stupid double time pop punk drums. The first part sounds like a modern take on +44 Interlude with emo arpeggio and solid electronic production, it's way more interesting, but I guess that's what people need - loud fast drums and poppy chords.

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Just now, alex_dept. said:

I don't get why people like the second part of Ransom, it's just the same chord progression they used on almost every Cali song (or you can say every other top 40 song) with stupid double time pop punk drums. The first part sounds like a modern take on +44 Interlude with emo arpeggio and solid electronic production, it's way more interesting, but I guess that's what people need - loud fast drums and poppy chords.

Wouldn't you make an argument that Blink have lived off generic chord progressions since the beginning of time? this is hardly new.

Even their most critically acclaimed work (Untitled) is littered with them...

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Great post, agree with almost all of it.

With that being said, I can respect this album over California. California was a piss take on blink's legacy and to music, other than Bored to Death and Cynical imo.

This album seems to gravitate towards what Mark probably  envisioned blink was to become post - TOYPAJ. Which is fine. I'm happy that other fans are happy with it. But to me, it isn't the blink I grew up with and loved. And it's not even the pop aspect - if we all take an honest look at the band, blink has always veered towards pop.

To me, this iteration of blink is following trends rather than being at the forefront of them. That was the blink I liked, and the musicianship I appreciated out of the boys. I haven't seen any of that in Mark for a long time. He's comfortable, he's settled in, and he wants to remain relevant. This is the result. 

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I'm saving this discussion for a couple of weeks from now. Now I think I should enjoy what I like about this album; we'll have plenty of time for criticism when the novelty wears off. 
 

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51 minutes ago, alex_dept. said:

I don't get why people like the second part of Ransom, it's just the same chord progression they used on almost every Cali song (or you can say every other top 40 song) with stupid double time pop punk drums. The first part sounds like a modern take on +44 Interlude with emo arpeggio and solid electronic production, it's way more interesting, but I guess that's what people need - loud fast drums and poppy chords.

It's probably the most energetic part of the album which is why I quite like it, especially juxtaposed to most of the other songs. the reason I despise the beginning is the autotune is abhorrent. I've never liked autotune, I especially hate it that blatant. it's... just obnoxious. 

44 minutes ago, Mau5 said:

Great post, agree with almost all of it.

With that being said, I can respect this album over California. California was a piss take on blink's legacy and to music, other than Bored to Death and Cynical imo.

This album seems to gravitate towards what Mark probably  envisioned blink was to become post - TOYPAJ. Which is fine. I'm happy that other fans are happy with it. But to me, it isn't the blink I grew up with and loved. And it's not even the pop aspect - if we all take an honest look at the band, blink has always veered towards pop.

To me, this iteration of blink is following trends rather than being at the forefront of them. That was the blink I liked, and the musicianship I appreciated out of the boys. I haven't seen any of that in Mark for a long time. He's comfortable, he's settled in, and he wants to remain relevant. This is the result. 

Yeah I can get with you on that. 

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Many songs could have been great but the production takes them down. I get like mentally tired of it, so much shit going on, just random sounds and filters and autotune. And some of it is mixed weird. Like the overdrive guitars in heaven hurts my ears. Its hard to listen to the album back to back, its straining. If that makes sense. 

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What an abysmal dirge this record is.
I wanted like 3 songs I could enjoy from start to finish - I only got one (not counting Generational Divide).
This angsty shit is just terrible - and I'm all for angst when it has some depth to it (Xiu Xiu, Pixies, Brand New, Desaparecidos etc.) but the lyrics on this record - oh my god! It's so obviously shit and banal. How anyone can enjoy Remember to Forget Me is beyond me - the lyrics are such god awful trash - "CAN YOU IMAGINE THAT MAGINE THAT MAGINE THAT" - fuuuuuckk me - a grown man wrote this...a grown ass man like twice my age wrote this!

California was at least stupid fun...this album is just stupid stupid.

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So far I've enjoyed most of my listens through, time will tell...but I will say it's mostly forgettable. I've listened to it 5-6 times already and singles aside I can only remember Black Rain and Pin the Grenade off the top of my head. A lot of people are saying Pin the Grenade is their favorite, me included, but I think that'll change. It has the grab of a fun, enjoyable song right off the bat but not much more than that.

I think this direction is better than California just because it's not as blatantly tryhard, but meh. Blink is pretty much gone now, this is just a side project imo.

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One of my main gripes of this album is how high Mark's vocals are. They really need to turn the songs into lower keys. Mark sounds better when he's singing lower. And I miss his deep voice that you hear on songs like STFTK, Feeling This, I Miss You, Natives & FTG. Skiba sounds way better when he's singing instead of yelling. There's still too much yelling going on in the choruses by him.

The Kanye West/T-Pain style autotune that's on some of the songs wasn't needed either. It's on the first section of Ransom and the second verse of On Some Emo Shit. Sounds like it was a creative choice, because California was heavily autotuned but I never heard any of them T-Pain style bends on the vocals. But it doesn't work in blink.

The Feldman styled harmonies that's heard on songs like Rabbit Hole, Good Old Days & Brohemian Rhapsody is on a couple of songs on this album too. I hear it on Ransom & Run Away. But at least it's not on every damn song like a lot of the California crap was. There's still way too many vocals going on at times too. Give instruments room to breathe. Guitar licks sometimes work. An instrumental bridge works too. The first verse = Mark and the second verse = Skiba or the opposite needs to stop too. Mark only songs and Skiba only songs would be good. There should be around 5 Mark songs, 5 Skiba songs and then 5 songs with both of them. It was often kinda like that with Tom in the band anyway, especially before the smiley face album.

Can't judge the lyrics because sometimes I can't make out what they say and I like to read them as I listen to the songs before I judge the lyrics. I don't feel the lyrics are still up to scratch from what I hear considering that Mark & Skiba are geniuses when it comes to lyrics but whilst they have co-writers helping them out, I'll probably always feel the lyrics aren't as good as they'd be with just Mark & Skiba writing them. I still feel like they don't need co-writers but at least it seems they weren't as up front with the songs the way Feldman was on California.

Also Happy Days was a terrible choice for a single. Very boring song now I've heard the rest of the album. BIOMY is a song I like but it has no place on this album. Doesn't fit and doesn't fit in with the darker vibes. Generational Divide & Darkside represent the album a little bit more. IRWIHY is very poppy but I don't mind it. I can get by with that being one of the singles. Just wish they weren't singing the same damn melody throughout nearly the whole song.

Not a perfect album by any means but as Kay said, this is a safe space for the flaws of the album. This is a better album than California, TOYPAJ, Cheshire Cat and possibly Neighborhoods but I'll have to give it time. There's so much more positives in this album than flaws.

Also don't understand people mentioning Katy Perry etc. Apart from IRWIHY there's not one song on here that has that top 40 pop style. The album is too dark & heavy for top 40. I feel a bit depressed after hearing the full album. It's a bleak sounding album. There's too much loud guitars. It's not like FOB, ATL or Panic. Not a pop album at all. It has slight elements of modern pop. That's all I can say but to say the likes of Katy Perry or whatever would fit on these songs is ridiculous IMO. Maybe Rebecca Black on the verses of Emo Shit but she'd have no place on any other part of the song. Blink has always had slight elements of pop in the songs of the times anyway.

I don't think this will be a very successful album from a commercial standpoint. At least not successful for blink's standards anyway. I think it'll be closer to Neighborhoods in that sense. Not a perfect album but this is a better album than California, TOYPAJ, Cheshire Cat and possibly Neighborhoods but I'll have to give it time. There's so much more positives in this album than flaws. This album is a success from a critical standpoint IMO. I'm happy with it anyway but as Kay said, this is a safe space for the critiquing of the album. I'll talk about the positives when there's a safe space made by Ghent for this album.

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