It’s easy to compare Blink-182’s brand-new “Heart’s All Gone” with “Up All Night ,” the first song they released off their upcoming Neighborhoods album, mostly because the similarities begin and end right there. They are both songs by the band, and they are both on the new record.
Perhaps, then, it’s best to contrast the two songs, because they’re different in just about every conceivable way. “Up All Night” premiered with much fanfare — on the band’s site and L.A. radio station KROQ — and was greeted with much the same. “Heart’s All Gone,” on the other hand, bowed without much notice: just a quick link on Mark Hoppus’ Google Plus page that took you to a new website and a simple instruction to “Command the ’A’ ” (or, if you’re on a PC, “CTRL + A”).
Doing so on the new site, of course, revealed not only lyrics but the song itself. And that’s when the differences between the two tracks really become apparent. Because while “Up All Night” synthesized all of the band’s previous endeavors (Plus-44, Angels & Airwaves, Box Car Racer) into something entirely new, “Heart’s All Gone” does the complete opposite: It is very much a blast from the past — both Blink’s and the West Coast punk scene that birthed them.
With its breakneck guitars, yelped vocals and cascading drums, it sounds like something taken from Blink’s 1997 Dude Ranch album (or ’01’s Take Off Your Pants and Jacket), but at the same time, it also recalls classic West Coast churn and burn, à la Bad Religion, Pennywise or even NOFX.
Then again, it also sort of sounds like “Stockholm Syndrome” from their self-titled 2003 album, and there’s a rather dark instrumental break that seems like the spiritual sequel to “I Miss You” (or even “Adam’s Song,” from 2000’s Enema of the State). Point being, it culls from the past … and in doing so, it gives fans of so-called “classic Blink” (i.e., everything before they “got serious”) hope. Unlike “Up All Night,” it makes no bones about being a throwback.
Of course, given its differences to “Night,” “Heart’s All Gone” also raises a rather interesting question: Just what will the remainder of the Neighborhoods album sound like? Can a band made up of three men with such dissimilar tastes even make a cohesive album? Or is that really even the point? From the sound of things, the new Blink-182 may very well be adept at everything: booming hip-hop backbeats, big, widescreen choruses, spiky, saccharine guitars … you name it, chances are it’s gonna be on the album. Sort of only makes the anticipation that much greater, doesn’t it?