Following up my previous post on Angels and Airwaves, there's been something that's been kicking around in my head for the last few days. To recap, former blink-182 guitarist/vocalist Tom DeLonge starts a new band with the advance buzz (from DeLonge himself) that this band is special. ". . . it has the conceptual depth of Pink Floyd, it has the anthemic architecture of U2 but it has the energy and youthful vibrancy of Blink," as he told MTV News. In addition to the claim that their debut album, We Don't Need to Whisper, was "the best fucking album anybody has heard in 20 years," DeLonge hyped the record and band up so much that a major backlash was inevitable.
After reading several reviews on the record and hearing half of the record, I think it's safe to say this: what DeLonge aimed for resulted in something that came up very short. I can hear the traces of Pink Floyd, the Cure and U2, but Angels and Airwaves comes across as A Flock of Seagulls more than anything else. Just like how I feel about "I Ran" and "Space Age Love Song," I really dig We Don't Need to Whisper's lead-off single, "The Adventure." I'm talking echoey lead guitar over a brisk beat, thus making for a catchy song from start to finish. But for those that have the whole album, there's 45 more minutes of music that doesn't match up.
It's not like A Flock of Seagulls was a bad group, but their few big singles have lasted much longer than any album they cut. For Angels and Airwaves, I would not be surprised if they, along with Plus-44, will never be taken seriously. Why? Because these guys are known for their juvenile sense of humor; this was something that was a big part of the popularity. Not only were they cute and funny, they wrote catchy little ditties. Now that they're older and DeLonge especially has shed his intentionally goofy side, I'm not surprised by the relatively lukewarm response to Angels and Airwaves. Reading interviews with Tom DeLonge now is about on par with reading interviews about Tom Cruise; it's like the guy is pulling your leg but comes across like he's serious.
blink-182 was a goofy pop-punk band that was a major part of a transition that made pop-punk into a squeaky clean Top 40 commodity. More than new wave and Dookie-era Green Day combined, this transition brought in bands that could play on the Warped Tour and TRL without a flinch. Though blink-182 had serious songs like "Adam's Song," "Stay Together for the Kids" and a number on songs on their final, self-titled record, they were never considered a serious band by those that seek a certain timeless depth in most of the music they listen to. I'm still a fan of their stuff (especially Enema of the State), but I won't lie, I don't listen to it that often anymore.
So with DeLonge's delusions that Angels and Airwaves is way more serious and potent than blink-182, I keep waiting for when he's going to crack up and say, "I'm just kidding." Seeing as how the promotion of We Don't Need to Whisper, very much like what happened to Taking Back Sunday's Louder Now, stiffed after only a few months, a harsh reality about popular music came to a head. More younger fans were more interested in Panic! At the Disco and My Chemical Romance instead of what DeLonge had up his sleeves. I'm speculating that the people that were introduced to blink-182 via their '99 album, Enema of the State, have grown up and developed wider tastes in music. As popular and seemingly inescapable blink-182 seemed at the height of their fame, all that stuff feels like a distant memory now.