SINGLE REVIEW: BLINK-182 – QUARANTINE (COLUMBIA RECORDS)
As a big blink-182 fan, I was cautiously optimistic when I saw that the band had dropped a new track titled ‘Quarantine’. Sure, the band hasn’t been the same since Tom DeLonge left in 2015, and their last full-length album NINE was by far their worst, but something had me excited. Could the band that had done so well at summing up my teenage angst do the same with my negative feelings towards the current global pandemic?
The first thing to note is that the instrumentation on this track is not all that bad. There are only a few seconds of build up before a typically impressive Travis Barker drum fill throws us headfirst into the main riff. It’s simple, it’s quick, and it works. The energy of the track lends itself to skate punk more than any other genre, but the mixing just kills the whole feel. Why. Is. It. So. Compressed. This is a question I asked myself a lot after listening to NINE, on which there were similar problems. I began listening hoping to hear some feeling and emotion in Mark and Travis’ playing (guitarist and vocalist Matt Skiba is not credited on the track), and I finished wondering whether 1) my headphones had broken or 2) the record really was meant to sound like that.
The mixing is probably the worst thing about this track, but when the lyrics come in, you’ll want to turn it off quicker than you can say “the old Blink are back!”. There is nothing overtly terrible about most of them, they just aren’t very good. What with the entirety of the track being about having too much time in a state of quarantined boredom, you’d have thought that the band would find more than five minutes to write the lyrics. The worst lines come in the pre-chorus, where Mark crams in some thoughts about social distancing, the economy, ICU beds, and PPE, regardless of whether or not they fit.
All in all, ‘Quarantine’ just feels like more of the same fake punk rock that we heard on NINE. Yes, this time it’s played over a more exciting beat from Barker, but it feels far from authentic. It seems that blink-182 are continuing their pale impression of their former selves.