One of the most pleasantly surprising things in my lifetime of appreciating music was owning up to loving a song by Blink-182.
This most juvenile, annoying and misogynist of bands somehow released an absolute belter of a single back in 2004:-
mp3 : Blink-182 – I Miss You
They’re a band that I was more aware of than I should have been or would like to have been, but that’s all down to Mrs Villain as she has long had a soft spot for them, arguing that the juvenile and annoying misogyny was very much tongue-in-cheek and more of a pisstake than anything else. She really hooked onto the band through their promo videos, which were a staple of the many music channels which came ‘free’ via the satellite TV package we had through our service provider and I was never allowed to hop over to another channel anytime the band burst onto the screen.
To be fair, I did laugh at how they poked fun at boybands, and in particular The Backstreet Boys, in the promo for All The Small Things – indeed, I wasn’t aware of how much of a pastiche the promo was until I saw some Backstreet Boys video years later as part of one of those ‘what year was this?’ show.
One of the things that really got in my way of liking the band was the vocal delivery of guitarist Tom DeLonge, a man who was known within Villain Towers as Mr Shouty. Blink-182 deployed two vocalists, and while bassist Mark Hoppus had a fairly inoffensive style of singing, not too far removed from the tortured souls of the men with acoustic guitars, Tom DeLonge just yelled everything at listeners, clearly in the belief that it was the only way to get anyone’s attention. The fact that he did so in videos in which he appeared naked, with his modestly either pixelated out or covered by a guitar, made it all the more unbearable.
So, it was a huge shock when the video for I Miss You made me look up again at the screen and then retained my attention.
For one, it sounded like The Cure when Robert Smith has decided to compose another of his superb songs about his relationship with his wife. The tune was entirely acoustic with some strings to add to the mood. The drummer was using brushes instead of sticks and the lyric was being sung beautifully by Mark.
And then Mr Shouty joins in with a cry of ‘Where are yaaaaa?’
But, here’s the thing, he does it in a fairly understated way that doesn’t take away from the song. Even when he does raise the tone a bit in the chorus, the harshness is cushioned by his mate crooning ‘I Miss You’ in the background.
It does seem like the band took The Cure as the starting point for the song and not just in terms of the tune and ambience. The lyric refers to webs, spiders and the sort of things they eat, much in the same way as Lullaby had provided the band with their best ever UK chart performance in 1989.
I Miss You took Blink-182 into the Top 10 of UK singles chart – the only other time they achieved that was with the afore-mentioned All The Small Things. I think you’d be hard pushed to come up with an act whose two biggest 45s were so diverse in mood and tempo.