Celebrating 25 Years of Blink-182’s Enema of the State

Posted on June 1, 2024

by Eric S

Mark, Tom, and Travis. I mean, how many rock bands can you identify by just the members’ first names? These days, Blink-182 has essentially become the classic rock of late ‘90s, and early ‘00s pop punk. They’ve entered the rock canon, their shirts can be purchased at Target, and perhaps most importantly, millennials now have more money than they did 25 years ago and can afford to go to the band’s huge stadium reunion shows. It’s a weird thing to watch unfold, especially if your fondest memories of the band are from several decades ago. However, if the immature humor espoused at these absurdly-priced reunion shows is any indication, there’s at least some attempt by Blink to push back against aging gracefully into the old guard of rock ‘n’ roll.

That being said, their status and longevity are certainly well deserved. Countless contemporary artists cite Blink-182 as a major influence, from rock bands like Stand Atlantic and WSTR, to rappers like Jxdn and Machine Gun Kelly (the list of young hip hop artists that Blink drummer Travis Barker has worked with is rather impressive). More difficult to quantify is the number of kids who have picked up a guitar after hearing “Adam’s Song” or “The Rock Show” or “What’s My Age Again?” or several dozen other equally infectious earworms.

Of course, it’s hard to imagine Blink having such a widespread influence without the release of their third album, the hugely successful (yet unfortunately named) Enema of the State. The band had been around since 1992, and their 1997 album Dude Ranch helped increase their status in the Warped Tour scene (the album’s second single is still a masterclass in catchy guitar hooks), but it was their third official release (the first to feature Barker) that helped turn them into a pop culture institution. You can’t overstate the pervasiveness of songs like “All the Small Things,” whose equally memorable music video is a send up of popular boy bands of the time. Looking back, it’s kind of amazing that the album blew up. Blink-182 sang about alien abductions, impersonating cops, and a whole lot of things that parents would consider to be of questionable taste. They channeled the niche genre of skate punk, albeit in a more palatable way than most. And perhaps more than they realized, the band emulated the boy bands they mocked: not only were the melodies over-the-top catchy, but each band member seemed to have his own distinctive traits, as if they were characters (or, you know…in a boy band).

Following Enema of the State, Blink would go on to release some more beloved albums (Take Off and their self-titled) and some that are less beloved (California and Nine), with a few breakups, reunions, and line-up changes along the way. Today, the band’s classic lineup is back together, and they’ve recently released one of their best albums in years (see One More Time… below), but for many longtime fans, you can’t really compete with the memories of having experienced Enema of the State when it was first released 25 years ago. Regardless of when Blink came onto your radar, now is a great time to re-evaluate one of the most lasting albums from a period of popular music we’ll likely never see again. In the meantime, I’ll just be withering away as I try to process that a formative piece of my youth is now a quarter-century old.

For more great music, make sure to check out the offerings of your local branch and Freegal.

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