Take Off Your Pants and Jacket
If you were one of the millions of kids that loved the sophomoric poppy punk (or is that punky pop?) of Blink-182•s breakthrough album, 1999•s Enema of the State, you•ll probably be just as enamored of Take Off Your Pants and Jacket (say it out loud. Get it?). That is, unless you•ve matured or your tastes have changed in the slightest in the last two years. If they have, you may have already grown out of the Blinksters, •cause they certainly haven•t changed or matured much. While some will find the consistency comforting, I•d have liked to see just a little growth on this record. But no, it•s more junior-high-school lyrics, reveling in profanity, bodily functions, and crude sexual references, married to those irresistible hooks and thrashy guitars. Don•t get me wrong, it looks good on them — they do this kind of stuff better than just about anyone, and I don•t expect fans of the band will be disappointed.
Where Blink-182 mainly suffers is when you look at them next to the band they were probably most compared to when they started to get big: Green Day. Green Day got big doing the same kind of stuff (maybe with just a shade less pop sheen), but have grown so much since then, to the point where they•re now a mature and diverse band. Blink-182, on the other hand, do everything short of covering the seminal Descendents track •I Don•t Wanna Grow Up• to show that they revel in juvenilia. Which is more punk rock: to keep doing the same snot-nosed kid•s stuff, or to push the envelope by doing new things without being concerned about what anyone else thinks? Everyone has their own answer to this question — the mallpunks who wear their Manic Panic-ed spiked hair and piercings as a uniform eternally at odds with those that believe punk is more of an attitude than a look or a sound. And perhaps it•s not even a fair comparison — they are, after all, two very different bands, and the Green Day that followed Dookie with Nimrod is not the mature Green Day of last year•s impressive Warning — they•re much older and have had more time to develop than Blink have. I•m not saying one•s right or wrong, or that one•s better than the other.
In fact, I do like Take Off Your Pants — it•s hard not to crack a grin at this stuff. I•m just saying that the band Blink-182 may want to consider changing things up a little next time out, before their fans outgrow them. To be fair, there are inklings here: while musically, Take Off Your Pants and Enema are virtual twins, some of the lyrics on Take Off Your Pants are downright sweet (•First Date• and the lead single, •The Rock Show•) and even thoughtful (•Stay Together For the Kids,• •Online Songs•). But for every glimmer of growth, there•s a slip back into dick jokes and •shocking• depravity (for example, •Happy Holidays, You Bastard,• with its refrain •And I•ll never talk to you again/Unless your Dad will suck me off/I•ll never talk to you again/Unless your Mom will touch my cock/I•ll never talk to you again/Ejaculate into a sock•). If only Blink realized that they don•t have to •shock• us anymore, and that they•re much more interesting and clever on a track like •Rock Show•…