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California - Five Years On


boxelder
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believe it or not, today marks a half-decade since the band released california -- their first album without tom and a surprising turn back to familiar territory. it's crazy to think it's already been that much time... it feels like yesterday it came out!

i would say my opinions of the record have softened with time. it's fun to have a big blockbuster comeback album in the band's discography. one may recall i was for whatever reason the one suggesting they partner with big industry player:

On 8/31/2013 at 5:27 PM, boxelder said:

i know this may be met with some resistance, but i'd also really be interested in seeing how john feldmann or butch walker would work with blink. both of those guys have worked on the last few FOB and panic! at the disco records and they really bring something to the table. 

On 3/10/2015 at 9:26 PM, boxelder said:

in this line of thinking, john feldmann (of goldfinger!) appears to be jerry finn's successor.

so, it was exciting to me when it was revealed they were indeed working together. it was obvious the band was lost on neighborhoods and DED, and that finn brought out the best in each of them. i also didn't think having a little bit of digital, pro-tools gloss to the sound would be a bad thing, either. for some reason i remember feeling like blink had another top-40 hit in them, or that it would be beneficial to their legacy in some way to have one. when the album came out though, it was evident that my instincts there were off the mark. even though i still think sober would've been a monster hit lol.

i didn't anticipate that feldmann would take so much control... that each song would be stuffed full of gang-vocals, handclaps, production tricks, and more. it was unthinkable, too, that skiba's contributions would appear to slowly be phased out. there's so many moments on california that feel deliberately unusual to hear skiba's voice on, and the lack of memorable guitar riffs suggest he was having trouble adjusting his style to fit blink. still, there's a handful of songs i think are actually among blink's best -- san diego is a hugely important tune in the grand scheme of the band's story, and cynical captures everything that made and makes blink great. the album moves at a great pace until about KOTW, where it all begins to blend together. i know when they were making the LP they'd expressed that the track list seemed a little bloated, but travis was the one suggesting they keep it 16 songs. still: brevity is underrated. cut no future, left alone, TOTTM, and a few others and you'd have a super-solid album in my view.

so much has been said about this album over the last five years here... i know this thread may get divisive, and i've already said plenty about it over the years. but it's worth re-examining: what does everyone think about the LP with the benefit of some time? how does it fit into the rest of the catalog?

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This album came out during my first year of Uni, which was probably the best year of my life (I'm in decline). I love associating the album to that time. It was much like Force Awakens which came out late 2015. It was a safe move, trying to grab at the nostalgic tropes of what made blink blink. In some areas, they really succeeded. I will never forget when Bored To Death came out, or seeing the Musink shows with Skiba (I know this was a while before Cali). It was an era of positivity after so much stalling and dysfunction from Tom. Cynical, San Diego and Left Alone - all great songs. In some areas, they wrote forgettable tunes- Teenage Satellites, Los Angeles etc. They're some of the only blink songs to which I wouldn't be able to recognise the lyrics. Well...apart from LA's chorus. Duh.

My feeling of positivity didn't last clearly, for both franchises - still love em tho.

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11 minutes ago, Depf said:

You can't disarm me with a smile Kay. I might be a poor man's Billy Corgan but this isnt a smashing pumpkins song.

Nine and cali are great and you are wrong , you hear me?

Alright, sugar. whatever you say. 

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i just finished listening to it for the first time in a few years, with Kay getting live-action reactions. Cynical is still my favorite song, i enjoy Bored to Death less now, Kings of the Weekend makes me laugh (in a bad way haha), i enjoy Sober slightly more (??????), etc.

honestly, it sounds less like blink now than it did before. Re-listening to Feldmann's production and thinking about where guitar-based music was (and still is) at the time of release in terms of sound/style has put the album in a different context for me. i'm way less pressed about it now though, mostly because i've come to believe blink is fundamentally more pop than punk so in retrospect it was only natural they'd go in this direction. also, a lot of the melodies are more enjoyable than i remembered. overall, it's still at the bottom of their discography for me (just above / maybe tied with Nine), but such is life.

i do owe California something though - it's the era in which i became a regular poster here on blink-182online. without it, i probably would've stayed a lurker. i was a freshman at university when it came out, like Bagel was, and I associate it with getting involved in online music circles / discussion more broadly, which was a positive experience for me. and on the whole, my experience here has been largely positive. :) 

now, off to listen to PUP as a palette cleanser!

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Time I gave California Deluxe another listen.  It's not a perfect release, far from it, but there is a lot in there that I genuinely do love.  I think Nine eclipses it in nearly every way, but there are some classics in there all the same, to this day, No Future and Los Angeles remain among my favorite post reunion blink songs.

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Cynical and Bored to Death are top-tier blink songs for me.

First half of the album is strong but the album takes a dive in quality after Home is Such a Lonely Place. The second half isn’t bad necessarily but it’s just blander, more boring, generic stuff that doesn’t really hold my interest.

Put The Knife Away is another standout track on the album.

… oh wait, that’s from a different album? From a different band even? Sounds the same to me.

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It's a decent album. I was pretty stoked when it first came out, and the magic wore off after a few weeks. I'm still not a fan of the production - that was the main weakness to me - it sounds too flat and not enough depth/layers to the songs, and the drums sound pretty bad compared to other releases. If you took the best songs from both California and Deluxe, you have a release comparable to Neighborhoods IMO. 

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Honestly, I thought the album was good during the first 2-3 years since it had been released. It had great songs but also had some awful songs that I didn't think blink were even capable of.

Since the release of Nine, I've realised that California is trash (for me personally anyway). I thought songs like Bored to Death, Last Train Home, Misery, Hey I'm Sorry, 6/8 and HISALP were great songs. The Only Thing That Matters I disliked at first but it grew on me kind of. Now I just find that and the other songs I mentioned generic or boring. They're not awful songs though.

The only songs that stuck by for me to this day are Los Angeles, San Diego, Long Lost Feeling & Bottom of the Ocean. Those 4 songs are fucking quality. As for the rest of the album, I just think all the songs are terrible or they have something that ruin the whole song for me (lyrics of KOTW & gang vocals of Left Alone). So basically 4 songs out of 27 were smashed out the park for me. That's a piss poor record and blink are capable of so much more, even with Feldman as the producer. Nine already proves this to me.

I'm a huge fan of Nine, so I've been way more harsh towards California than I had been previously. Still, Nine has it's awful songs but it's got way more good songs than California. I'll always stand by one opinion though; Hey I'm Sorry probably might feature my favourite ever blink verses. Such a damn shame the chorus fucked that song up.

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5 hours ago, Patient #48273 said:

I remember the day California leaked. Some kid who worked at a record store or something "borrowed" a CD from work and uploaded the songs one by one to sendspace or something like that.

i listened to the cynical .WAV on that sendspace link on my break at work and was like blown away haha

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The only songs on the album I'm not a huge fan of to this day are No Future and Hey I'm Sorry.

Cynical, BTD, Sober, HISALP, Left Alone, San Diego, TOTTM....each of those are all time fav blink songs for me.

 

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On 7/2/2021 at 3:56 AM, Patient #48273 said:

I remember the day California leaked. Some kid who worked at a record store or something "borrowed" a CD from work and uploaded the songs one by one to sendspace or something like that.

ugh that was the most annoying album leak of all time haha

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