LOS ANGELES -- What's their age again?
Two years older than when Blink-182 made Take Off Your Pants and Jacket, that's what.
"You can't expect a band to sound like they did two years ago," drummer Travis Barker said recently, explaining his group's somewhat experimental new album. "We're smarter, we've listened to more music. We've probably learned more on our instruments. We've probably been through more sh-- together."
"We loved playing that way before," added singer/guitarist Tom DeLonge, on the set of the "Feeling This" video (see [article id="1479587"]"Jail Cells, Whips, Sexual Energy -- Yup, It's A Blink-182 Video"[/article]). "We were young. We wanted to go out and break sh-- and we grew up in Southern California, that's just kind of who we are, but at this point in our life, with this career, we love art, and we wanna create art that's developed from what we all learned from being in a band for the past 11 years."
An art project is the way Blink-182 envisioned their fourth major-label studio album, which will be untitled, not called Use Your Erection I and II, as was once tossed around.
"That would have been an awesome title, but we didn't want to come up with a joke title just because it was expected of us," singer/bassist Mark Hoppus said. "We'd rather go the other way."
DeLonge said all you'll find on the cover is a smiley face and the band's name, "rather than seeing some phrase that's supposed to sum up what the whole record's about. I hate when bands have this one little thing and you think the whole record's about whatever that title is or something, whether it's funny or sad or deep. It's like we'd rather it be: 'This is our band, check it out.' "
If the album, due November 18, did have a title, perhaps Take Your Time and Polish It would be fitting. Ditching the typical recording process of writing and demoing several songs and recording them in a studio one instrument at a time, Blink-182 moved into a house and approached each song together.
"We would go in and whatever we felt like doing that day we could do, rather than just going in and trying to utilize our studio time quickly," Hoppus said. "We just really attacked each song. When we burned out on one song, we'd go and do something else. We'd work on maybe three or four different songs in a day, so it kept everything fresh and it took a lot more time, but I think that [effort] really ends up on the record."
Blink-182 spent about 10 months on the album, more than twice the time spent recording previous efforts.
"Travis said it best when we very first started. Travis was like, 'Don't think of this as the next Blink-182 record -- think of it as the first Blink-182 record,' " Hoppus added. "So we had this mindset that we weren't going to second-guess ourselves ... [or] worry if people are going to accept it or if it sounds like Blink-182. If it was an idea that we wanted to pursue, we were gonna pursue it. And so we tried out all these different ideas and it was like a musical laboratory."
One of the most obvious examples of Blink-182's experimentation is "Stockholm Syndrome," which begins with an elderly woman reciting a letter Hoppus' grandfather wrote his wife while fighting in World War II.
"Real sincere, genuine letters from the worst war in history," DeLonge explained. "So we created this really sad soundtrack beyond the letters. And then it goes into the most aggressive punk rock anthem you've ever heard."
Another song includes transmissions from when NASA first landed on the moon, while the closer, "I'm Lost Without You," mixes an industrial loop with piano.
"We sing over the piano and then it just takes off into this really beautiful piece about a girl that says, 'Are you afraid of being alone?/ 'Cause I am/ I'm lost without you,' " DeLonge said. "And then it just takes you on for like six or seven minutes with two different drum sets that go in your ear, and the only way that you can really appreciate it is if you have headphones and you dim the lights in your house and really sat there and listened to it."
The untitled album will feature 14 tracks, along with a bonus DVD containing six new videos -- "Feeling This" plus five by director Scandalous -- and footage from Blink-182's August performance for troops in the Middle East.
Blink-182's untitled album track list, according to Geffen Records:
- "Feeling This"
- "I Miss You"
- "Stockholm Syndrome"
- "The Fallen Interlude"
- "Easy Target"
- "All of This"
- "Here's Your Letter"
- "I'm Lost Without You"