There comes a time in every punk's life where he or she has to grow up, or at least acknowledge that maturity is just around the corner. blink-182 put it off for as long as they could, but ten years into their career and two albums after their big breakthrough, 1999's Enema of the State, they decided to make a stab at being grown-ups for their eponymous sixth studio album. As with many self-titled albums, the trio uses this as an attempt to redefine itself, and they have considerably expanded both their sonic template and lyrical outlook on blink-182. They're still rooted in punk-pop, but even songs that stretch no further than that sound are a little darker, a little restless, reflecting the overall mood of the record. In shorthand, this is the record where blink-182 delve into post-punk, opting for some appealingly sullen moodiness, off-kilter hooks, lots of sonic textures, and even a duet with the Cure's Robert Smith. Since the trio is an inherently catchy group, this is a far cry from neo-post-punk groups like Interpol or even the dynamically hooky Hot Hot Heat, but there is a greater variety of sounds on blink-182 than on any of the trio's other albums, and the songwriting is similarly adventurous, alternating punchy, impassioned punk-pop with weirder, atmospheric pieces like "Down" and "I'm Lost Without You." If nothing on the album has the immediate impact of "All the Small Things" -- though the opener, "Feeling This," comes close -- and if, on the whole, blink-182 isn't as bracing or visceral as Dude Ranch or Enema, so be it: there's more to explore on this album than any of their other records. It's an unexpected and welcome maturation from a band that just an album ago seemed permanently stuck in juvenilia.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine