“NINE” by Blink-182 (Album Review)

“NINE” by Blink-182 (Album Review)

Legendary pop punk band blink-182 finally released their much anticipated eighth album “NINE” this past September, and it is not what most people were expecting. After initially delaying the release during the summer because they were not happy with the album, fans were very hesitant as to whether or not it was going to be good. Mark Hoppus and company proved everyone wrong and put out what should be considered one of the best albums of 2019.

With Travis Barker and Matt Skiba off doing their own projects following the touring cycle of blink’s previous album “California” Mark Hoppus found himself in a very dark, depressing place which is shown clear as day through the lyrics on this album. The lyrical content has been roughly described as “dark in tone, frequently focusing on self-doubt and isolation.” which is quite the turn for blink, especially when comparing it to their previous album.

The opening track for the album is “The First Time” which focuses on the feeling you get when trying something for the first time whether that be flying on a plane, falling in love, or taking meds, nothing compares to the way you felt doing it the first time. I definitely feel like this is them giving us a song with a “classic” blink feel to it before we get into the deeper, darker territory of this album.

The third single released was “Happy Days” which not only features solely Mark Hoppus’ vocals for the first time since Tom DeLonge’s departure from the band, but also tackles themes of chasing your dreams throughout hard times and not giving up. When asked about the chorus of the song, Mark expressed that he was very grateful to have the life that he has and described the joy he gets out of getting to make music and tour while also being able to spend plenty of time with his family.

Next up is “Heaven”, a song that refers to a mass shooting that occurred in 2018 at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks where 12 people were killed. Initially, the idea for this song came from drummer Travis Barker, whose house was around 2 miles from where the shooting took place. In this song Mark and Matt talk about the dangers in American bars, schools, and the public in general.

“Darkside” was the fourth single and arguably one of the best tracks on this entire album. This song tells the story of a guy who falls in love with a girl who has a darker side, but nevertheless he loves her anyways and is willing to join the darkside with her. While the music video may be god awful, that doesn’t take away from how great this song is.

The lead single, and probably the worst song on the entire album “Blame It On My Youth” rubbed many fans the wrong way as it strayed very far away from the blink-182 everyone has come to love. In this track, we see Mark and Matt reminiscing on their childhoods and how the world has shaped them into the people they are today.

Clocking in at only 49 seconds, the second single “Generational Divide” features a comeback to Travis Barker’s fast drums and while most fans thought this was about the backlash they received for the previous track, but in reality it was about an argument Mark had with his son and seeing how the age gap between the two.

“Run Away” brings us back to the catchy blink-182 choruses we’ve come to expect and tells the story of a guy whose girlfriend just left him, and the thought of her won’t leave him. He tells his girlfriend not to let the idea of him go so they can maybe come back together one day.

We finally get a bigger taste of the darker tones we had been promised in the form of “Black Rain”. This track tackles the idea of organized religion and takes some inspiration from the 2015 movie “Spotlight” which is about abusive priests. Matt Skiba expressed in an interview some of his issues with organized religion and the inspirations he got while writing this song.

“I Really Wish I Hated You” takes us down yet another dark path and tells the story of someone who wants to get back together with someone else but knows they shouldn’t. A line in this song that stood out for me and many others is in the pre-chorus and that’s, “I drove by your house, but you don’t live there anymore.” which is a feeling that many people have had to deal with when going through a breakup.

“Pin the Grenade” takes us back to the upbeat side of blink with another fast upbeat pop punk song that focuses on the story of a guy who knows his relationship isn’t working out and believes his girlfriend is going to leave him. Regardless, he is begging her to stay and to just pretend she loves him. The title of this track refers to the mechanism of grenades, where people pull the pin out of them before detonating. As a metaphor, the narrator doesn’t want their relationship to explode.

The next track, “No Heart to Speak Of” is easily one of my favorites on this album from its’ soothing build up, to its’ hard hitting chorus this is a major stand out for me. The story of this song tells us about a girl leaving the narrator heartbroken with no apparent reason being given as to why she would leave showing no heart to him at all. The track also closes with some nice drums from Travis Barker.

We see some experimentation on “Ransom” with the opening auto-tuned vocals. This definitely feels like an old school punk song with elements of modern pop punk and while it’s a fairly short track, it works very well. The story of this song refers to a relationship that ultimately ends in a kidnapping. The beginning of the song leads you to believe that the guy is a threat to the girl, but after following her to Los Angeles she ends up holding him for ransom.

“On Some Emo Sh*t” brings us back to that previous dark place as we witness a man trying to cope with his loss and loneliness after being left by his girlfriend. He feels like he failed her and thinks death might be the only answer for putting these feelings to rest. The overall feeling of this song is very soothing as it slowly builds up to the chorus, and the chorus itself sounds very unpolished but perfect at the same time.

“Hungover You” is exactly what the title refers to, being hung up on someone and getting drunk because of it. We also see some more experimentation in the form of programmed beats, but the explosive chorus that hits where Mark and Matt’s voices just blend perfectly and create something awesome.

The album closes with “Remember to Forget Me” which is a track that will more than tug on your heart strings. This song is basically blink reflecting on how they became famous, toured around the world, and was away from their families over the years. The song also shares a close resemblance to the California track “Home is Such a Lonely Place” 

I was not expecting this album to be anywhere near as good as it was, but I’ve never been happier to have been proven wrong. Blink-182 has been one of the most consistent pop punk bands over the years and even when it seems like they’ve fallen off, they manage to pull it together, and make something great.


Columbia Records

Released: September 20, 2019

Rating: 4.5/5

Favorite Tracks: No Heart to Speak Of, Darkside, Run Away, I Really Wish I Hated You, On Some Emo Sh*t, Pin the Grenade, The First Time, Black Rain, Hungover You, Remember to Forget Me

Least Favorite Tracks: Blame It On My Youth

Album Tracklisting

  1. The First Time
  2. Happy Days
  3. Heaven
  4. Darkside
  5. Blame It On My Youth
  6. Generational Divide
  7. Run Away
  8. Black Rain
  9. I Really Wish I Hated You
  10. Pin the Grenade
  11. No Heart to Speak Of
  12. Ransom
  13. On Some Emo Sh*t
  14. Hungover You
  15. Remember to Forget Me