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blink-182

MCA

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At first listen, blink-182 may seem like rock ‘n’ roll for the Beavis and Butt-head set. Sounding like an angrier, dirtier version of a bubble-gum boy band, guitarist/vocalist Tom DeLonge, bassist/vocalist Mark Hoppus, and drummer Travis Barker write fast songs about failing out of school, crank-calling a girlfriend’s mom, and wondering if they’ll get laid during summer vacation. The group’s latest LP, Take Off Your Pants and Jacket (they said “jack it,” heh heh), doesn’t veer far from the usual school-sucks-but-chicks-are-cool theme: “The Rock Show,” the first sunny single, is pure throwaway pop celebrating the bliss of hooking up at a concert, and tracks such as “First Date” and “Reckless Abandon” will be more appreciated by high school kids than the band members’ own 20-something demographic. But the album also offers a few moments of classic “Adam’s Song”-style angst among the frenetic tales of fucking around: “Story of a Lonely Guy” shows that cooler-than-thou punks have feelings, too (“Girls possess me but they’re never mine…So read my book, with a boring ending/A short story of a lonely guy”), and the mellower “Stay Together for the Kids” zeros in on the torment of a relationship that’s falling apart (“If this is what he wants and it’s what she wants/then why’s there so much pain?”). The slower, more serious songs are a welcome relief from the rest of the album’s coked-up speed—sure, all of these similar-sounding tracks would be fun as singles, but they’re a little grating when they come at you one after the other. And if the sad stuff starts to get you down, just go back to the ADD-size “Happy Holidays, You Bastard,” think of someone who’s burned you, and start shout-singing along: “It’s Christmas Eve and I’ve only wrapped two fuckin’ presents/And I hate, hate, hate your guts/I hate, hate, hate your guts/And I’ll never talk to you again.” —Tricia Olszewski