“It’s not big, it’s not clever, but it’ll make them very, very rich”: Our original 2001 review of blink-182’s Take Off Your Pants And Jacket
This is the original Kerrang! review of Take Off Your Pants And Jacket from 2001.
One thing’s for damn certain, the indefatigably cheeky wee chaps of blink-182 most certainly recognise the inherent wisdom within the adage ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. Witness Take Off Your Pants And Jacket; there’s absolutely nothing new here, no challenging pursuit of fresh artistic goals, nor courageous dispensation with knock-kneed, teenage angst and self-consciously profane brattishness for zeitgeist-defining agit-pop or dazzlingly cerebral and deeply philosophical poetry. It’s simply more of the same blink-182 power punk, pop rock that you either loved or loathed on Enema Of The State.
That’s another indisputable fact, blink-182’s starkly monochrome muse invariably triggers extreme reactions; put bluntly you either totally swear by Mark Hoppus and Tom DeLonge’s whining, anthemic sneers or you’d gladly nail them to the nearest coffee table. Fence sitting is simply not an option. Non-punk kids love them for their apparent simplistic naivety (a cynical, asset-stripping device, if ever I saw one) and their cute, unthreatening and ultimately gonk-like appearance, while the dyed-in-the-Mohawk Deconstructionists spit derisively on their apparently shameful readiness to sell out. But the truth of the matter is that blink-182 never sold in – other than former Vandal Travis Barker who fortuitously shipped into the band at just the right moment – banging out popcore chops infused with lashings of commercial bite is quite simply what they do. And, worship or despise them, on Take Off Your Pants And Jacket they do it bloody well.
Obviously, there’s far more to the acquisition of unequivocal NOFX-styled street smarts and credibility than generously sprinkling your collected works with the all important F‑word, a fact that blink-182 have yet to get their collective head around if album opener Anthem Part Two is anything to go by. Other than the odd parent-baiting expletive, the thing that truly sticks out like a sore genital is the album’s everything-including-the-kitchen-sink production job. blink-182 are currently the most profitable cash cow and the forces of corporate greed are clearly leaving nothing to chance. There’s not much you can do with the blink-182 sound, given its stylistic simplicity, but every last effect on every last drum beat and lyrical nuance sounds almost supernaturally expensive. Oh yes indeed, a great deal of money has been flung at Take Off Your Pants… and you can hear every last cent.
But what of the underlying tunes? Is this substantial mixing desk jiggery-pokery simply the dazzling sugar frosting applied to a particularly loathsome sonic turd? Well, ye dagger-toting detractors, sheath your weapons and plug your sensitive ears, because blink-182 have pretty much done it again. Take Off Your Pants simply cannot fail because it’s positively lousy with similarly barbed hooks to What’s My Age Again? and All The Small Things. The nerdy romanticism of First Date, for instance, with its utterly irresistible ‘Let’s make this last forever’ tagline; the unrequited saccharine mosh pit mewlings of Story Of A Lonely Guy and the Westlife-with-tattoos, Warped tour love affair of The Rock Show. What we have here is money-in-the-bank commercialism. Eminently hummable dummy-spitting tantrum rock for the emo generation; a golden shower of easily bleepable swear words and the kind of unshakeable tunes that will very probably haunt you to your grave.
Like it or not, with Take Off Your Pants And Jacket blink-182 have pretty much made their masterpiece. It’s not big, it’s not clever, but it’ll make them very, very rich.
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