On this day 19 years ago, Blink-182 released their fifth studio album, “Blink-182” (also known as “untitled”). Considered to be the band’s “Pet Sounds,” “untitled” is one of the band’s most experimental albums as it pivots from the band’s usual pop-punk sound to a more “emo” sound that was the catalyst for several other emo bands of that time, like Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance. Even with the change in sound, critics and fans alike find the album to be one of the most influential albums of the 2000s as it defined a new wave of music genre. To celebrate the record’s 19th birthday, we will look at its commercial success, defining tracks and overall impact on pop culture.
The commercial success of Blink-182’s untitled record ranges from Billboard success, certification status, and award-winnings. In the United States, the album is certified platinum, having sold over 2.2 million copies. Two of its main singles, “Feeling This” and “I Miss You,” are certified gold as they have each sold over 500,000 copies nationwide. “Untitled” reached number three on the US Billboard 200. “I Miss You” reached number one on US Billboard’s Alternative Airplay, and “Feeling This” peaked at number two on US Billboard’s Modern Rock Tracks. For awards, the record won Outstanding Hard Rock Album at the California Music Awards in 2004 and Best Punk Album at the San Diego Music Awards in 2004. “I Miss You” won Choice Love Song at the Teen Choice Awards in 2004. Although the band has earned several more successes with previous records, “Blink-182” is a stand-out record and deserves all the recognition.
With every successful record comes memorable singles or tracks that define the entire album. Four singles were released for “Blink-182”: “Feeling This,” “I Miss You,” “Down” and “Always.” The first two singles received the most radio play and both peaked high on the Billboard charts. “Feeling This” is the album’s opener and gives the listener a taste of the tone of the record: lust, yearning, regret and ambivalence.
“I Miss You” is arguably the most popular track of this entire record. It’s an acoustic track featuring melancholy piano, cello and soft, brush-stroked drums. In an interview with MTV, guitarist Tom DeLonge says that “the song's more about the vulnerability and kind of heart-wrenching pain you feel when you're in love and when you're a guy and you're trying to tell a girl, 'Don't waste your time coming and talking to me because, in my head at least, you probably already gave me up a long time ago.'” It’s extremely emotional, and that is why Variety ranked it as one of the best emo songs of all time.
“Down” is the seventh track on the record and further continues the album’s theme of longing for a relationship and needing someone “so bad.” The song after this track, “The Fallen Interlude” is the previous track’s outro, which features grooving drum fills, small piano trills and deep voices whispering, “down, down, down. Pick me up, I’m falling.”
The last single “Always” is the eleventh track on the record and was jokingly referred to as the “80s song” during production. It pulls from several new-wave influences, like Missing Persons and The Only Ones, in the form of its instrumentation. The track features soft synths and holds themes of love and deep devotion in its lyrics, which can be found in other popular new-wave songs of the 80s.
All in all, “Blink-182” has many iconic singles that hold together the defining themes of the record, which explores the difficulties of growing up in the form of struggling with relationships, coming face-to-face with reality and dealing with unexpected hardships.
Blink-182 is already a massive pop culture staple in the music world, and the significance of “untitled” only adds to their worldwide fame. Specifically, “I Miss You” has cultivated fans since its official release in February 2004. The song has several referential and meme-able parts, like the lines “We can live like Jack and Sally if we want… and we’ll have Halloween on Christmas,” which is in reference to Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas” (1993). The biggest part of the song fans most reference is Tom DeLonge’s dramatic, pop-punk drawl that is overbearingly hilarious throughout the verses and choruses. It is most pointed out at the beginning of the second verse when DeLonge sings “Where are you? And I’m so sorry.”
There have been several memes based solely on DeLonge’s singing style that center around “I Miss You.” It’s gone as far as the production of t-shirts that have the lyrics printed on the front that includes the dramatic drawl to create a string of misspelled words that visually look like how the words phonetically sound like on the track. TikTok and Twitter have been the breeding grounds for these memes, and they continue to circulate throughout social media as more people yearn for nostalgia of the early 2000s.
This album has become more talked about in the past few years as nostalgia for the early 2000s continues to grow. Especially in the past month with the news of Tom DeLonge returning to Blink-182 after almost a decade of departure (more on that story here). With new Blink-182 music has sparked a new wave of nostalgia for the band, it can be certain that “untitled” will be at the forefront of this movement.
Once again, happy birthday to such an influential record, and make sure to listen to this treasure chest of nostalgia today!