Pop punk has never been my genre of choice. Even as a teenager, most of it seemed all too samey and cornily sentimental – the stupidly happy guitars, the whiny vocals, the whole socially-awkward-adolescent act. Of course, I’d be lying if I said I haven’t occasionally enjoyed the odd classic, maybe even been known to sing along drunk to ‘I Miss You’ in my best DeLonge drawl. However when it comes to the bulk of the genre – the Fallout Boys and All Time Lows of this world – it all just makes me groan at how manufactured the whole American-college-kid-misfit-whose-just-discovered-girls image has become. You can’t pretend to be misfits if a thousand other bands sound just like you.
Blink certainly pioneered this image and a small part of me unrealistically hoped that Blink may be capable of bringing new life to pop punk in 2016. Alas, this couldn’t be further from the result. California might as well be mechanical. The lyrics are clunky made up of dumb hooks like ‘life’s too short to last long’, the vocals sound like they’ve been touched up with auto-tune and the guitars are overproduced to the point of being sterile. The only thing that sounds alive and human is Travis Barker’s drumming. Diehard pop-punk fans will lap it up, but to me this just sounds like Blink trying to rip off the very artists they influenced (‘Los Angeles’ could be a Fallout Boy song), whilst simultaneously sounding more wooden than Pinocchio.