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Tom DeLonge reflects on 10 years of Blink-182’s ‘Neighborhoods’: “It’s pretty f***ing rad”

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Geffen Records

This past September marked the 10th anniversary of Blink-182‘s Neighborhoods, the band’s last album with Tom DeLonge prior to his departure from the group in 2015. Arriving two years after Blink reunited in 2009 following their 2005 breakup, the record’s often competing sounds reflected the creative tensions felt by DeLonge and his now-former band mates, Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker.

Speaking with ABC Audio, DeLonge recalls the polarizing fan reaction to Neighborhoods between those who liked the new direction, which brought in more atmospheric sounds akin to his Angels & Airwaves side project, and others who felt it strayed too far from classic Blink.

“You have this divide, a parting of the Red Sea or some s***,” he laughs.

In the past decade, though, there’s been a seeming growth in appreciation among Blink fans for Neighborhoods. DeLonge compares it to another initially misunderstood album: Beastie Boys‘ sophomore effort, Paul’s Boutique.

“It was different, and it was genius in its own way,” DeLonge says. “But it took people a few years to understand why it mattered so much.”

“On the moments where [Neighborhoods] really gelled, it’s pretty f***ing rad,” he adds.

DeLonge now feels that he may have been “too heavy-handed” in trying to change Blink’s sound for Neighborhoods, something he admits Barker and Hoppus were “probably rightfully hesitant” to do. Should he ever return to the band, though, DeLonge believes he’d be able to strike a better balance between what all band members want from a Blink record.

“Knowing that I’ve gotten so much out of my system with this type of music with Angels & Airwaves, I don’t need Blink to land here, like I might’ve 10 years ago,” he says.

In the meantime, you can listen to DeLonge’s new AVA album, Lifeforms, out now.

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