Dude Ranch


MCA Records, 1997


REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Blink-182 always seemed to be the anti-Green Day. While both bands could be charged with singing about indiscriminate nonsense at times, Green Day always seemed to be a little more serious in terms of their view of life. Blink-182, in comparison, never seemed to take themselves – or their music – very seriously.

Dude Ranch, their second studio album, continues in the balls-to-the-wall approach to their music that their full-length debut Cheshire Cat laid the groundwork for. Drummer Scott Raynor often sounds like he really belongs in a thrash metal band, due to the speed and precision of his trap work. And the vocal tag-team of Mark Hoppus and Tom DeLonge tackle political incorrectness in such a rapid-fire delivery that you don't have time to focus on what they're singing to get offended by it. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

In fact, the band only seems to get semi-serious on two tracks, “Josie” and “I'm Sorry,” and both turn out to be very enjoyable tracks. “I'm Sorry,” in fact, is Blink-182 at their most – dare I say it? - mature, and it fits them surprisingly well.

And it's ironic that the band sings about growing up on “Dammit” (another surprisingly semi-mature song) when, on other tracks, they sing about mishaps while spying on a woman from a tree (“Voyeur”) or life spiraling out of control in the wrong direction (“Degenerate”), and you know that the band may occasionally hide a serious message in a fun-sounding song, but for the most part they do want the listener to just have a few laughs.

I don't object to the lyrical content, and I have no bones to pick with the musicianship here. But Dude Ranch doesn't have a whole lot in terms of musical variety to make this a superb album. Now, that doesn't mean I want to hear them go reggae or country, or some other genre with each new song. But sometimes, one wishes that they didn't have that pedal-to-the-metal style of songwriting that requires each song to be played as fast as they can. Yes, it makes for a quick and somewhat entertaining listen… but it also seems like the band is capable of so much more. (In fact, they would take the tempos down occasionally on their next album, Enema Of The State, which would lead to their biggest hits in their career.)

Dude Ranch is an enjoyable enough listen, but it dares to suggest that Blink-182 was capable of much greater things. This is one to put on when you need to clean out the ol' musical pipes, and just listen to something that doesn't require a whole lot of brain power.

Rating: C+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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