Good evening to all my sexy sons of bitches on this dank ass Friday night. Instead of going awol on a rant, I’m going to do something a bit different where I compare the similarities between Blink-182’s “California” and Green Day’s “Revolution Radio”, as well as discussing the contrasts dividing the two albums. So all you Nimrods need to sit back, relax, get ready to flex those fingers before typing out a mean comment about how you hate my guts -or either band- and enjoy this little synopsis on the two greatest bands in punk rock history. Let’s get right into this shit!
I began thinking what I could do for a write-up that was different than a regular run of the mill rant, when a dear follower of mine brought it to my attention over comments and messenger how she hoped the new Green Day record - we’ll call it “Rev Rad” for short - would be similar to Blink-182’s latest effort in that she hoped her favorite band would figure out how to take their old trademark sound and turn it into something fresh, as well as inventive - much like “California” I then agreed with her and began listening to both albums on repeat. The more I did that, the more I discovered they both had things in common - obviously there are differences, but we’ll get to that later. For now let’s discover what they have in common.
Now there are a multitude of commonalities between the two records and not just because they’re the same genres of music, therefore, I thought I’d point it out. The first thing to consider is the back to form sound. After Blink and Green Day went off the deep end with their previous work, the two bands decided to return to their bare roots. While this excited a lot of fans, there were many who accused them of putting out generic and poppy albums; I honestly find those accusations ridiculous….but anyways.
Let’s dig way deep into the root of these records to discuss what makes them alike.
Perhaps you noticed it already but songs like “Youngblood” from “Rev Rad” and “Sober” from "California” share the theme of belittling themselves while praising their significant other.In “Youngblood”, Billie Joe Armstrong is serenading his wife Adrienne, while it’s not really clear who the boys in Blink are singing about; it could be anybody from their wives, ex-girlfriends, to even someone in Patrick Stump’s (Fallout Boy) life since he co-wrote the lyrics to the track.
Another song worth mentioning is “Outlaws” and what it has in common with “Teenage Satellites”. Both are about delinquents breaking the law as well as living life fast on the edge. Green Day’s “Outlaws” seems to come from the group’s past life, but Blink could be singing about young people in general. The latter band accompany the lyrics with a similarly fast instrumentation, while Green Day focus a lot on dynamics going from slow to fast throughout the song a few times. I quite like both songs, actually despite what the naysayers may be thinking right now as they read this.
The last song I want to get into is “Ordinary World” and what it has in common with “Home Is Such A Lonely Place”. I pick these two specifically because they both have an acoustic guitar as the track’s centerpiece, but both differentiate in terms of lyrics. Vocalist and bassist for Blink-182 Mark Hoppus has said it was written about his son leaving home in the future, while Armstrong’s ballad is just about the human race living their lives the best way they know how. I guess another trait they share is the folk influence, which I really enjoyed and love. Some of the best songs these two bands have ever written!
Besides focusing on music and lyrics, one huge thing they both share is a theme weaving throughout the two records. Blink-182 making it about their home state of California whereas Green Day focus with lyrics “Forever” and “Somewhere” scattered in a few songs, before meeting up in the closing 7-minute opera “Forever Now”. I like how those themes bring fans a bit closer to the songs allowing them to make those intimate connections to their own personal lives.
The last similarity I want to bring up is why the fans found the two records generic. It’s always annoyed the fuck out of me when people say they love a band with all their heart, however, they get so two-faced about the whole thing. What I mean by that is when they just always say the same thing: “Bring back your old sound”, “Why don’t you ever do your old stuff again?” So on and so forth. It’s really aggravating to me! Do you think if bands were robots constantly listening to what the fans say that they’d score chart-topping albums? Blink and Green Day certainly don’t listen to such nonsense, and so they achieve their dreams by doing what they feel is right. The result? Number one albums! Blink knocked Drake off the number one spot - their first number one since 2003. Green Day hadn’t had a hit record since “American Idiot” in 2004. Imagine that!
I could probably go on about what other things they have in common, but let’s focus on something else.
Blink-182 brought in Goldfrapp member John Feldman to handle production for “California” but Green Day did it all themselves - the trio hadn’t produced anything since 2000’s “Warning”. You already know I love both albums, so it’s hard to choose which was best or worst when it comes to this topic. I think “Rev Rad” had more of a harder edge over “California”, because Blink really went deep into the heart of the album’s theme resulting in something more polished and obviously, “pop-punk”. I’d hate to say overproduced, but it definitely felt too clean; however, it sounded beautiful regardless.
Often an artist has setbacks, and if you are a fan of both of these bands like myself, you’d know it’s been a rollercoaster ride for both. Blink had to exchange original member Tom Delonge for Alkaline Trio vocalist Matt Skiba, while Green Day were pelted with disappointment for four years - if you haven’t ready my “Ultimate ‘Uno! Dos! Tre! Rant” I suggest you do as it goes into further details as to what occurred. Fans knew Blink were going into the recording process as soon as they snagged Skiba, however, Green Day decided to keep it between themselves where not even the fans nor the record company knew they began mapping out a new album. I think the latter was quite clever, in my humble opinion. I’ve personally found that method to work best for myself as well when I want to accomplish a said goal.
The last difference between Green Day and Blink is the former tackling more current events in light of mass shooting epidemics, Black Lives Matter and those suffering through ongoing wars. Blink-182 aren’t the type of band to take on such intimidating subjects, but tend to write about life in general - many tracks deal with breaking up or being young in an unfair world. I can’t decide which of these topics I prefer, so I’ll just stick to what I’ve been saying: I love both!
Now is there kind of a greyish area? I think both bands could’ve toured together as their records came out in mid-summer and mid-autumn. Is there a possibility for the second coming of a Pop Disaster Tour? Time can only tell!
I did not do an album review for “California” but I did attend a show in Tampa for the California North American Tour 2016 and would love for you to read it. We were granted permission from Warner Bros. Records to cover “Rev Rad” earlier this month and you should check that out as well!