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Sunday, September 24, 2023

Life + Arts

‘Enema’ remains staple

Blink-182’s 1999 release, Enema of the State, helped usher in a new wave of punk popularity to the mainstream.

Bands such as Green Day, The Offspring and Rancid brought the punk revival in the early 1990s from the underground to the top of alternative rock, and blink-182 took its skate-punk to the masses opening up doors for bands, new and old, to reach radio.

A common misconception is that Enema of the State is the band’s major label debut. Enema of the State was blink-182’s third full length and second major label jaunt. The band previously released seminal fan-favorite Dude Ranch via MCA Records and Cheshire Cat on the small indie, Cargo Records.

The band always wanted to name an album ‘Fisher Price – Your First Punk Album’ and for many, Enema of the State was just that. While many new fans to the genre got into bands that influenced blink-182, such as Bad Religion and the Descendents, the band also experienced a new fan base. The same kids who used to make fun of the outcasts and the kids who listened to blink-182 were now blasting ‘What’s My Age Again?’ out of their speakers.

The San Diego group went from Warped tour favorites to MTV TRL-darlings with catchy singles and comedic videos. They also faced unfair criticism and backlash from the fickle punk police who judged the album by its three catchier singles and new-found popularity.’

The video for ‘All the Small Things,’ which was a brilliant jab at the boy-band craze that was polluting the industry at the time, was the band’s most commercially successful single, but also fueled more of the ‘sellout’ argument.

The album picks off where Dude Ranch left off with ‘Dumpweed,’ a Tom Delonge barn burner complete with a catchy intro guitar riff, punk-pogo chorus and fast, escalating drums by newcomer Travis Barker. ‘Dumpweed’ serves as an anthem to the album and a clear choice as the opening track.

Mark Hoppus continues the fast pace with the quick-riffed ‘Don’t Leave Me,’ another rapid, yet catchy song. Delonge’s obsession with UFOs and government conspiracies is next with ‘Alien’s Exist,’ a mid-tempo, three-chord, Ramones-style song.

‘Going Away To College’ is a prime example of the band slowing down tempos and implementing more melody, a new dimension Barker added to the band. ‘The Party Song’ is a rapidly recited, anti-party song where Hoppus sings about how ‘some girls try too hard.’

‘All the Small Things’ is a love song Delonge wrote for his girlfriend/future wife, complete with the ‘na nas.’ The third single, ‘Adam’s Song’ is a slow, serious song about suicide and fighting depression.

Enema of the State isn’t the band’s best album, but it is its most successful, influencing an influx of new school bands such as Sum 41, New Found Glory, Alkaline Trio and Fenix TX.

Enema of the State is one of the key punk records of the 90s and one that embraces the pop side of pop-punk.

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