Blink-182 - Enema of the State
Nov 16, 2020
For everything you think, feel, and know about the pop punk outfit blink-182, there is absolutely no denying just how much influence this album has for rock music of the last two decades. Enema of the State is wide reaching not just in creating the appeal for pop punk that would then lead to other pop punk bands reaching for the brass ring, it also was an album that left a lot of ripple effects in music that are still felt today.

A great deal of the success blink-182 saw by the end of the millennium could likely be attributed to their new drummer Travis Barker. Once Scott Raynor had been effectively dumped and The Aquabats drummer stepped in things had really hit a sweet spot for the band, and both DeLonge and Hoppus were influenced by the talent Barker brought to the set.

Another part of the success is much more simple, in that blink-182 had progressively reached a higher point in production and commercial appeal. These songs are so glossy and universally listenable that they have lost almost everything about what makes them punk rock. Sure, there's some straightforward guitar chords with distortion and it resembles something like punk, but this is far more pop than it is punk. It's funny too, because many onlookers called them out for the parody video All the Small Things where they make fun of modern pop acts while simultaneously being on the same popularity level as those groups (and maybe even surpassed them). That song, making fun of pop acts, ended up their most popular song. They had crossed over but also wanted to reach across the punk isle in ways no other group had ever attempted, and largely it worked outside of the purists who would never stop scoffing at them.

blink-182 also found a very strange formula that they would continue forward with even twenty years later when it was almost gross to be doing so - singing songs about being a teenager. It's kind of a "well duh" version of songwriting where you write about songs that are easy to relate to, just like writing songs about love. A song like What's My Age Again? is only a little farther passed being a teen since they are directly singing as 23 year old's, but they're also directly singing about being immature 23 year old's. Elsewhere, Going Away to College is inspired by the idea of adolescent love and how it ends when you go to separate universities. It's about as toothless as it can get for a punk band, but it ended up being not only the theme of the rest of their career but would then become the major theme of pop punk henceforth.

Even if the group were adopting an even more appealing sound, voiding most of their punk roots and soaking in the sun of popularity, the impact of Enema of the State cannot be denied. Whether that be the influence of soon-to-be pop punk bands like Sum 41, Simple Plan and Good Charlette; or the influence that movement would have on the next wave of pop punk and emo like Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance and Panic at the Disco who THEN influenced not just the new Warped Tour scene but also what it sounded like to transition even deeper into pop, which then influenced what rock music sounds like today... Yeah, blink-182 kind of matter.

Like them or not, the album matters. The band matters. Hell, even just the members matter. The songs might be relatively straightforward, not great in songwriting, and not all that exciting outside of long-running nostalgia, but the album left its mark and we will feel its effects forever. Outside of Green Day's Dookie it may be the most important piece of pop punk ever. I guess that just reflects just how much you're bound to appreciate pop punk and its roots to at least some degree.

Favorite song: Adam's Song

Awesome review man! I have always felt that blink is a highly underrated band. I mean I can see (as you mention) their level of composition complexity is not mind-blowing, but in terms of stylistic approach, at least in my view, their influence is undeniable. Glad to see someone put these thoughts together. 
@Whynot I think the influence of the group was the most interesting thing to me. You’re right, very undeniable!
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