“What if Blink 182 are The Beatles of our generation?”


Written by Oscar Henson
23 Friday 23rd June 2017

Lately, me and my mates have developed a worrying penchant for getting blind drunk on weeknights and singing entire Blink 182 albums, cover to cover.

It’s a relatively new trend, resembling something like a quarter-life crisis. We’re 24 now, and until recently had comfortably assumed that our tastes had moved on from the puerile preferences of our teenage years towards higher, more cerebral pleasures. Sure, those old bands were a laugh, but ultimately they must pale in comparison to the pioneering rock bands of the 60s, the free-jazz of the 50s, or the avant garde electronics of the 90s that we so snootily enjoyed training our tastes towards. 

But a few months ago, inexplicably, those old records crept back into circulation – first as a novelty, then with utter sincerity. Whether or not we liked to admit it, those albums brought us a feeling of pure, unselfconscious joy that our trendier tastes simply couldn’t come close to replicating.

One night, my friend turned to me – wild eyed – and joked: “Blink 182 are the Beatles of our generation. No doubt about it.”

We laughed – but then went quiet. Because he’s absolutely right. For all their dick jokes, three-chord riffs and offensive lyrics, Blink 182 might well be the definitive band of our lifetime.

But how can that be? How could you feasibly compare a group of snot-nosed pop-punkers to the Fab Four – the world’s greatest songwriters, and the forefathers of contemporary pop music?

Well, for one, The Beatles weren’t quite as revolutionary as people often say they were. Their music, particularly in the early years, was pretty much nicked verbatim from the black American rhythm and blues stars of the 1950s, which they repackaged in a way that was palatable and sellable on mass to the white market.

The same goes for Blink 182. Alongside bands like Green Day and NOFX, Blink are credited for pioneering the glossy pop-punk sound that would dominate our airwaves for decades afterwards. Really, though, their sound was just a polished, tempered take on the angsty punk rock bands that had been coming out of the Bay Area punk scene for years before them.

And this isn’t to discredit either band – because in both cases, their ability to write music with massive commercial appeal and pop sensibility is the key to their genius. Both were able to distil their influences into flawless and timeless nuggs of pop perfection, driven by sing-a-long riffs and nursery-rhyme melodies that lodge in the brain and stay there forever. Both bands spoke directly to the disaffected youth of their generation, with a universal appeal that cut across boundaries of age, race, tribe and gender.

Crucially, like The Beatles, Blink 182 make the world feel like a simpler place: like you’ll always get the girl, and like summer will never end. And I know the sentiment will last when I see my dad come home drunk on weeknights, open Spotify and load up With The Beatles. I recognise the look in his eye from a mile away. 

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