The news of the Mark, Tom & Travis Show era of Blink-182 getting back together (!), releasing an album (!!) and touring Australia in 2024 (!!!) had me immediately jamming the band’s catalogue into my headphones this morning. So it feels right to reach back into my memories to the moment I first properly met the Californian dumbass skate punk band: 1999’s Enema Of The State.
I distinctly remember holding the seemingly-risqué CD in the local music shop in my tiny hometown on the south coast of NSW. I was around eight years old and felt like it was deeply illegal for me — a small child — to be listening to songs about frat parties and watching video clips on Rage of three dudes in their early 20s running around Los Angeles naked.
Blink-182 quickly became the soundtrack to growing up by the beach in the late ’90s and early ’00s.
Boys wore their shorts long in the leg, their socks high and their Etnies or Globe sneakers as chunky as possible. Omni and SMP caps were worn backwards, everyone tried to learn to skate with varying success and I pined over wanting to own at least one Famous Stars And Straps singlet.
The local radio station (shout out to 94.9 Power FM) flogged tracks like “What’s My Age Again” and “All The Small Things” to near death. Enema-era Blink is warm summer air, Impulse body spray, pink bubblemint Extra gum, crispy salty hair and studded belts.
The hold Blink-182 had on us in our formative years meant you were either a Mark, Tom or Travis stan. I was very proudly a Mark Hoppus girl among my friends — probably one of my first major crushes, now that I think about it.
School discos and local dance parties routinely turned into pogo-ing mosh pits and carefully memorised boy band-esque choreography whenever Blink’s big hitters blared over the speakers. It felt like everyone loved them, no matter where you sat on the playground food chain.
A particular tradition at my primary school involved the band’s first big radio hit “Dammit” (from the prior album, Dude Ranch) which was a marker for your personal playground popularity level. Each year a band would form out of Grade Six kids and perform the 1997 banger at the annual talent show.
Honestly, “band” is a pretty loose term but it generally wound up being all the popular kids at school playing an array of instruments from bass to the xylophone. I wasn’t in it but I’d accepted my lot in the schoolyard life by then.
The grade above me practised and performed it, and the one before that. I’m assuming the grades that came after upheld the school’s tradition once we’d metaphorically passed on the Blink baton. If — for whatever reason — it’s somehow gotten lost across the years, the annual Blink-182 homage should definitely come back to celebrate the band’s big news.
Enema Of The State was an album that gave Blink-182 a lot of firsts. It was their first album to go platinum (eventually triple platinum here in Australia) and the first release to have multiple singles crack into Top 40 radio play.
The album forged a path somewhat parallel to Green Day’s Dookie five years beforehand and firmly cemented ratty, poppy, foul-mouthed skate punk as the soundtrack of an entire generation.
It was the first time I experienced the bullish, sanguine energy of pop punk and all its summery tomfoolery, opening a door for me that hasn’t closed since. Every now and again (and most definitely this week) I give it a play-through cover to cover and after all this time it still stands up. “Dumpweed”! “Adam’s Song”! “Aliens Exist”! “The Party Song”! It’s one of those albums I can go for years without really listening to and still remember all the words. That’s the marker of an all-time great.
Enema Of The State turned the age the band lamented this year. Unsurprisingly, that Blink-182 album has ultimately defied its own message — people do still like it when it’s 23.
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