Blink-182 have been together for a staggering 28 years and throughout that time have released eight albums and gone through a number of lineup changes. After all this time they are still the kings of pop-punk and are still one of my favourite bands. This ranking was very difficult and required a few last-minute listens, but I have now settled on my ranking of Blink-182 albums!
8. Cheshire Cat
Cheshire Cat is Blink-182’s debut album and contains seven songs from their demo album Buddha (released in 1994). Despite ranking last in this list Cheshire Cat is not a bad effort at all. It definitely has moments that shine far beyond the rest of the album (notably the singles – Carousel, M+M’s and Wasting Time) and provides listeners with a good insight into the band’s punk roots. The album is raw, at times silly, but is not Blink at the top of their game. Their songwriting really improves a bit further on in their career and Cheshire Cat was a chance for their growing fanbase to get their hands on a proper album and to help put Blink on the map.
Release date: 17 February 1995
Top Tracks: Carousel, M+M’s, Wasting Time
California is the first Blink album to feature Matt Skiba, lead singer and guitarist of Alkaline Trio, since Tom’s departure from the band in 2015 to focus on ‘non-musical endeavours’. With Neighborhoods, California’s predecessor and last album with Tom DeLonge, Blink went in a new direction with perhaps too much Angels and Airwaves influence for Mark’s liking. California was a chance for the band to go back to their classic sound and have a bit of fun. California certainly is consistent in its sound and the band are clearly comfortable recording fun pop-punk again, but the album doesn’t quite have the same energy or originality as their earlier work. At 16 songs long California is quite a slog and I definitely feel there are a few songs that could be cut (Teenage Satellites, Kings of the Weekend and, as fun as they are…Brohemian Rhapsody and Built This Pool). California just doesn’t really do it for me…not least because of the irritating overuse of ‘na na na’s and ‘woah woah woah’s, but the decision to try and go back to their signature sound backfired and felt like a step back for the band.
Release date: 1 July 2016
Top tracks: San Diego, Cynical, Home Is Such A Lonely Place
I vividly remember being in a dingy internet cafe in India when Up All Night, the first single from Neighborhoods, was released. It was the first new Blink-182 song to be released since I had started listening to them, so this was a BIG deal for me. Unfortunately, after years of waiting for Blink to get back together and release new music…I was underwhelmed. The release of Heart’s All Gone a few weeks later gave me some hope for the album, but overall I’m not a huge fan of Neighborhoods. The reconciliation of the band following Travis’ involvement in a tragic plane crash did not necessarily mean that bad blood between Mark and Tom was gone or that Tom was even ready to go back down the Blink route. The fact that the band recorded this album in separate locations was not a good start, but listening through the album from start to finish there is a clear divide between Mark songs and Tom songs, rather than an album of Blink songs. The album isn’t bad, and there are some fantastic songs on there (Ghosts on the Dancefloor, Wishing Well, Kaleidoscope), but it doesn’t sound or feel like a Blink album – it instead feels more like a collection of +44 and AvA B-sides.
Release date: 27 September 2011
Top Tracks: Ghosts on the Dancefloor, Wishing Well, Kaleidoscope
5. Dude Ranch
Blink gained attention from major labels following the release of their debut album Cheshire Cat in 1995 and signed with MCA for Dude Ranch. The band’s popularity increased further with the release of Dammit, which is still a favourite for the band and fans 23 years on, in September 1997. With Dude Ranch, Blink really stepped up their game – the songs are catchy, the vocals sound great, and the production is a vast improvement on previous work. They showed that they really meant business and had the ability to write great punk rock songs. Having said that, the songs still lack that energy the next few albums achieve so brilliantly and the lack of creativity and imagination in Scott Raynor’s drumming lets the album down slightly for me too. I’m sure a lot of fans will be shocked to see Dude Ranch rank below NINE, but I’ll come onto the reasons for that next…
Release date: 17 June 1997
Top tracks: Dammit, Untitled, Pathetic
The most recent album from Blink-182 and second to feature Matt Skiba, NINE was released last autumn and is very different from its predecessor California. The singles from NINE – Blame It On My Youth, Happy Days, Darkside and I Really Wish I Hated You – gave me little hope for the album, but the rest of the album is fantastic! It may be a bold statement to make, but if you removed the singles from NINE…it may have even made 3rd place in this ranking. Maybe. Skiba particularly shines on this album both lyrically and musically, drawing in some of his Alkaline Trio influences and really cementing his place as a member of the band. Travis is on top form as always too and is given the freedom to show off his diverse styles, influences and insane talent. This album may have divided fans and might not have brought in any new fans, but if it’s the kind of music the band wants to make at the moment then I’m all for it. It’s original, engaging, interesting and shows that they didn’t want to play it safe like they did with California.
Release date: 20 September 2019
Top tracks: Heaven, Pin The Grenade, Hungover You
3. Take Off Your Pants and Jacket
After the hugely successful Enema of the State Blink-182 were on top of the world. They had become a household name and massively helped bring pop-punk to the mainstream. They were however faced with the very difficult task of following up with another amazing album…which they did! Take Off Your Pants and Jacket offers listeners more of the signature Blink sound without feeling like a collection of Enema B-sides. It’s a really solid album with some of their best songs and is a treat from start to finish. The band also showed that they were still able to have fun – see the music videos for the Rock Show and First Date – but that they had a darker side too in Stay Together for the Kids. There’s nothing in particular to complain about with TOYPAJ, but the fact that it didn’t bring anything new to the table means it ranks 3rd.
Release date: 12 June 2001
Top tracks: Reckless Abandon, Stay Together For The Kids, Anthem Part 2
2. Enema of the State
I was very, very close to giving this album the top spot…but after giving it one more listen whilst writing this it just misses out. Nevertheless, there is no denying that Enema of the State is the ultimate pop-punk album. It defines the genre perfectly and for the band personally it elevated them to heights they only dreamed of. For me this can be narrowed down to three main reasons – the finessing of the band’s image, the replacement of drummer Scott Raynor with Travis Barker, and producer Jerry Finn. Travis’ drumming gave the band a whole new energy, the guitars are so punchy and in-your-face, the double-tracked vocals suit Mark and Tom’s voices, and the songs are incredibly catchy. Enema feels like the debut album of a new band – that’s not to say Cheshire Cat and Dude Ranch should be dismissed, but Enema of the State is miles ahead in my view and it is no surprise the album helped to start the pop-punk revolution of the late 90s/early 00s. It’s a shame tensions began to arise within the band shortly after the cycle for Enema of the State, but I’m sure the band look back at this period of their career as a high point.
Release date: 1 June 1999
Top Tracks: Going Away To College, Wendy Clear, Dumpweed
Tom and Travis’ side project Box Car Racer, which started during the TOYPAJ cycle and finished in December 2002, caused tensions between Mark and Tom and ultimately resulted in Blink going down a different direction for their self-titled (or untitled) album in 2003. While tensions were not settled during the writing and recording of the album, what came out at the end was a masterpiece and in my opinion the band’s best album. Blink rented a house in San Diego to record the album and wrote it as they went along – this was a different approach to previous records and took a lot longer than expected, but was certainly worth it! What I love about this album is that it’s difficult to pin it down to one genre – there are elements of alternative rock and punk but this is definitely their most original album to date. It was a risky move for the band to go so leftfield with their sound, especially given how popular they were at the time thanks to their traditional pop-punk sound, but the risk paid off! There are so many layers to the album, new depths to their lyrics, fantastic riffs, experimental guitar tones, and somehow it still sounds like Blink-182. It’s their most timeless record and will be one of my all-time favourite albums for a long, long time.
Release date: 18 November 2003
Top Tracks: I Miss You, Down, Asthenia
That brings us to the end of the Blink-182 albums ranking! This was a tough one and I’m sure not everyone will agree with the ordering. I’d love to hear about your favourite Blink-182 albums, and if there are any other artists you would like me to do a ‘ranked’ article on, leave a comment below!
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