Tell someone you’re a blink-182 fan and they’ll no doubt say they like them too. Juggernaut singles such as “All The Small Things” and “I Miss You” made blink a household name, but with nine albums and an array of EPs and singles under their belts, they have so much more to offer.
We all know “Aliens Exist,” but there are plenty of songs that exist in blink’s back catalog that haven’t gotten enough love throughout the years. Here, in chronological order, are 20 of their most underrated tracks, spanning the many years between the Flyswatter EP and NINE, from bonus tracks to songs hidden among hit singles.
“The Longest Line”
An often forgotten piece of blink history, the Flyswatter EP was their first attempt at recording music and was put to tape in then-drummer Scott Raynor’s bedroom. The EP features eight tracks, with a couple of them going on to be re-recorded for the bands’ demo album, Buddha. What didn’t get re-recorded, however, was this absolute gem of a cover of NOFX’s “The Longest Line.” There’s also a Dinosaur Jr. cover on Flyswatter, but just hearing this rough and unfiltered rendition of the NOFX hit with Mark Hoppus on vocals is an experience every blink fan needs to have.
Appearing on both Buddha and its follow-up, Cheshire Cat, “Strings” is a perfect example of the thrashy, distorted pop punk blink’s earlier years are made up of. The Cheshire Cat version is a slightly more polished sound while still maintaining the speedy kick drum, prominent bass guitar and Hoppus’ deep vocals that make this one stand out. While “Carousel” and “M+Ms” are the more well-known tracks, “Strings” is just one example of the other fine songs that deserve more love.
“Does My Breath Smell?”
“Does My Breath Smell?” is another often overlooked, snotty and brash yet self-deprecating song from Cheshire Cat, and another blink song about how not to get a date: “When it’s just your time to think you should make your move/It doesn’t work as you’re just a jerk with no excuse.” Tom DeLonge’s iconic whiny vocals add to the angsty teenage vibe, while instrumentally it’s a fast and punky anthem for the hopeless (in love).
Love songs are a vital ingredient in the recipe for pop-punk success, and there’s a reason why blink-182 have been one of the biggest bands of the genre for close to three decades. “Wasting Time” is an adorable love song, with a blink-182 twist (the lyrics mention farts and nudity). This one makes it onto blink’s setlists (ah live shows, remember those?) every so often, so you might be lucky enough to have caught them play this live, but the song doesn’t get half the recognition it’s worth.
“Dammit” may be the Dude Ranch hit everyone recognizes but did you know it’s got one hell of a strong opening track too? “Pathetic” sets the tone for the album and is blink’s humor and attitude in a nutshell, with a catchy and easy-to-remember chorus: “Don’t pull me down, this is where I belong/I think I’m different, but I’m the same and I’m wrong.”
“A New Hope”
What’s better than a catchy, sweet and romantic pop-punk song? A catchy, sweet and romantic pop-punk song about Star Wars, of course. And that’s exactly what “A New Hope” is, with genius lyrics incorporating many Star Wars references (“And even though I’m not as cool as Han/I still want to be your man/You’re exactly the kind of Alderaanian that I need,” “Drinking Colt 45s with Lando/I was hanging out in the Cantina on Mos Eisley,” etc.). Hoppus loves Star Wars, and who can blame him for having a (perhaps unhealthy) crush on the one and only Princess Leia?
“Don’t Leave Me”
While 1999’s Enema Of The State is easily blink’s most popular album and holds their biggest singles (“All The Small Things,” “What’s My Age Again?” and “Adam’s Song,” as well as “Mutt,” which appeared on the American Pie soundtrack), there are still songs that don’t get enough recognition. Enema was a little more grown up than Dude Ranch, both lyrically and instrumentally, with this being the first blink-182 record Travis Barker appeared on, while still having the immaturity the band had become known for. If Dude Ranch was about high school, Enema was all about “Going Away To College,” more complicated relationships and the end of them.
“The Rock Show” and “First Date,” the two biggest singles from 2001’s Take Off Your Pants And Jacket, tell the story of meeting someone, falling for them and plucking up the courage to go on a date with them—and hoping you don’t screw things up. “Roller Coaster” perfectly carries on that story of feeling like something is almost too perfect and will undoubtedly come to an end
TOYPAJ saw blink-182 go for a heavier and more mature sound than their previous albums while keeping the humor on tracks such as “Happy Holidays, You Bastard.” Directly following Enema’s last track, “Anthem,” with “Anthem Part Two,” the album opens with a politically charged tone, contrasting their portrayal of immature party goofs up to this point and serving as a guidebook for teen- and college-age fans. In a similar vein to “Stay Together For The Kids,” written by DeLonge about his parents’ divorce, “Shut Up” can be perceived as a breakup song as well as the story of a family breaking down because of a directionless Loserkid. (If you get that reference, you’re a true blink fan.)
“What Went Wrong”
Three separate editions of TOYPAJ were released, each with their own bonus tracks. On each record, one bonus track was a continuation of the album’s themes and sound, while the other was a short and snappy song intended, much like “Happy Holidays,” to frustrate the parents of kids listening to the album. “Mother’s Day,” “Fuck A Dog” and “When You Fucked Grandpa,” with their tongue-in-cheek lyrics, took away all of the attention from “Time To Break Up,” “What Went Wrong” and “Don’t Tell Me It’s Over,” which is a shame. Because all three, “What Went Wrong” in particular, are great tracks that would’ve fit perfectly in the thick of the album.
blink-182’s 2003 Untitled album featured singles “Feeling This” and “I Miss You,” with the latter going No. 1 on the Billboard Alternative Airplay chart. The album was the last to be released before the band’s “indefinite hiatus” in 2005 and marked a much more mature sound that impressed critics but divided fans. “Easy Target” is one of the heaviest blink tracks to date, with a prominent, marching drum beat, aggressive guitars and intense double vocals.
“All Of This”
The band have always been vocal about their influences, from Barker’s love of metal to DeLonge’s infatuation with skate punk. Hoppus has admitted he wasn’t just a fan of British new-wave band the Cure as a teenager—he wanted to be Robert Smith. The blink frontman sported black eyeliner and the occasional red lipstick during his high school years, which he revealed in “The Band Who Changed My Life” for AP #252. Anyone who knew this must’ve felt that having the Cure frontman on a blink track was epic, even if it was DeLonge who got to duet with him. Even so, “All Of This” is a hauntingly beautiful song that genuinely feels like a real collaboration between the two groups.
“Ghost On The Dance Floor”
After a four-year hiatus, following Barker’s plane crash that spawned their reunion, blink released Neighborhoods. The album received mixed reviews from critics, even worse ones from fans, and is generally swept under the rug in regards to the blink-182 discography. Which is a real shame because while it did indeed have a very different feel compared to previous releases, there are some gems on the album. Opening track “Ghost On The Dance Floor” is one of them, with an atmospheric sound that bridges the gap between blink and Angels & Airwaves—giving aural pleasure through the joyous sound of DeLonge and Hoppus’s vocals together again as well as Barker’s incredible drumming.
Another standout track on Neighborhoods, “Snake Charmer” has some of the filthiest lyrics blink-182 have ever put out: “She creeps up like a spider and wants you deep inside her/She turns you into stone, a twisted little show.” It’s pretty ironic considering it’s based on the biblical story of Adam and Eve. It’s a catchy song brought to life by DeLonge, who had written the guitar riff before the band’s reunion, shown clearly in the unmistakable Angels & Airwaves feel to it.
“Wishing Well” was DeLonge’s brainchild, and Hoppus says in the album commentary that “it’s kind of indicative as to the feel of this record as well, in that it’s very catchy, but the lyrics are really, really dark and a little depressing. But I like that about this record.” Just take the chorus: “I went to a wishing well/It sank to the ocean floor/Cut up by sharpened rocks and washed up along the shore.” Instrumentally, it’s an upbeat tune, with DeLonge’s twangy guitar complemented by Barker’s atmospheric drum beats.
“Dogs Eating Dogs”
After the mixed/poor response to Neighborhoods, the band admitted the methods they used for recording—using separate studios and communicating through email—had left the finished product feeling disjointed. They decided to reenter the studio and do things independently. The result was the Dogs Eating Dogs EP, with the title track being one of the heaviest songs in blink’s entire discography: “We need to find some middle ground/It’s always sex or suicide,” Hoppus sings on the chorus as Barker’s drums thrash away.
“Kings Of The Weekend”
2016’s California marked a new era for blink-182, with Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba stepping in as guitarist/vocalist after DeLonge left. Originally as a temporary measure for three live shows in 2015, Skiba was made an official member of blink-182 later that year, and the band got to work on a new album. California, produced by Goldfinger frontman and producer-extraordinaire John Feldmann, was the stellar culmination of their efforts. “Kings Of The Weekend,” dubbed by Feldy as the “party song,” was nearly removed from the final cut of the album but was saved by its phenomenal guitar riff. And we’re so glad it was.
“Left Alone” saw Skiba take the helm, and it works beautifully. Just listening to the epic chorus and melody, with his passionate, almost-shouting vocals, this one’s got Skiba written all over it. It’s a prime example of what happens when you mix two of the greatest pop-punk bands and their songwriting talents, creating a song that’s both Alkaline Trio and blink-182 in a 40/60 ratio. While it wasn’t used as a single, thus garnering less appreciation, it’s without a doubt an album highlight.
“The Only Thing That Matters”
One of the fastest, truest pop-punk songs on California, “The Only Thing That Matters” was hated by the band until Hoppus rewrote the bass part. Originally a Social Distortion-infused, country-esque tune, none of the band members or Feldy could connect with it, and it just didn’t work. But then Hoppus adjusted it and created the SoCal pop-punk anthem we all got to hear. The second verse contains some of the best lyrics on the album, which have Skiba’s imprint all over them: “And you’ll go racing toward the kitchen/Grab a knife, erase my vision/Take my flatscreen television/And my paintings by Marilyn Manson.”
“Pin The Grenade”
The follow-up to California, 2019’s NINE brought a much more modern sound to the forefront, employing some of Barker’s drums parts that were written for other artists but never used and adding hip-hop influences into the mix. Feldmann returned as producer, and the album also featured other producers, including Captain Cuts, the Futuristics and Sugarcult’s Tim Pagnotta. “Pin The Grenade” saw Joe Khajadourian and Alex Schwartz of the Futuristics contribute to the writing process to create a song with killer drum beats and a catchy chorus.
Did your favorite blink-182 song make this list? What do you think blink’s most underrated songs are? Let us know in the comments below!