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Image for In Defence Of: Blink 182 'Enema Of The State'

In Defence Of: Blink 182'Enema Of The State'

Here at FL, we think everyone deserves a fair go – even Nickelback – which is why we’ve created a new series where we go into bat for a divisive act. This week, it’s Soundwave headliners Blink 182, who turned the punk world upside down with their 1999 hit Enema of the State. Words by SARAH SMITH.

It was the worst of times…

Blink 182 is to punk what Silvio Berlusconi (allegedly) is to Italian politics: boobs, blowjobs and bunga bunga parties. Blasting onto the scene in 1995 all fudged-hair and cargo shorts, they couldn’t have cared less about Jello Biafra’s plight to save California from the grips of “hippie-fascists” or Henry Rollins’ war on middle-class America – they just wanted to play guitar and get laid.

Ploughing the Descendents back-cat for inspiration Blink dumbed it down and hammed it up, tapping into the hyper-sexual cerebral cortex of adolescent guys (and girls) the world over. Somehow their whiney voices and incessant “mum jokes” broke through to a generation of kids who were tired of flannelette and ready to admit that MTV had won the war. Kurt was dead and pop punk was alive.

Enter: Enema of the State.

The year was 1999 and the world was about to become infatuated with Britney Spear’s virginity, Ricky Martin’s sexuality and Christina Aguilera’s midriff. The Backstreet Boys third record Millennium sat atop the Billboard charts and by years end would shift 9.5 million units – one million clear of Creed’s Human Clay and four million more than Limp Bizkit’s Significant Other.

Amid these earnest rockers and chaste pop stars Enema Of The State proved a welcome relief; it was fast, fun and unashamedly dumb. And as Homer Simpson and Fat Mike can attest – sometimes dumb works.

‘Na, na, na, na’

As an awkward teen whose mutating body was better served by skate clothing than crop tops, Enema of The State was a revelation. While girls gyrated around the schoolyard in their regulation-length uniforms mouthing, “I’m a genie in a bottle, you gotta rub me the right way” – completely ignorant to which way the right way really was – I took refuge in songs which were written about one of two things: making failed passes at members of the opposite sex and partying.

Blink’s lyrics came ready made to be scratched with the tip of a compass into ply-wood desks, or sung off-key, in protest at your dad’s refusal to let you attend that under-age show headlined by Area 7, 28 Days or One Dollar short. In the words of Rolling Stone, “Blink 182 make being pissed off sound as inviting as the pop of a beer-can tab.”

While Anthony Kiedis was taking time out from his oxygen injections to rap about “first born unicorns” and de-construct the life of the rich and the famous on Californication, Mark, Tom and Travis were wining about the existence of aliens and guys called Tony, “He’s a player, diarrhoea giver. Tried to grow his hair out, friends were listening to Slayer.” And frankly, I had far more friends listening to Slayer than riding mythical beasts while trying to overcome an existential crisis in the Hollywood Hills.

Their lyrics also provided a welcome relief from the saccharine love ballads that were dominating the charts in the late 90s. A comparison:

“Like Dr. Zhivago . All my love I’ll be sending” – ‘The Hardest Thing’, 98 degrees

“Like a rock, you waited so patiently” – What A Girl Wants, Christina Aguilera

“Like a bullet to your brain. Upside, inside out she’s livin la vida loca” – Livin La Vida Loca, Ricky Martin

“Like the ocean under the moon .Well that’s the same as the emotion that I get from you. You got the kind of lovin’ that can be so smooth” – Smooth, Santana feat. Rob Thomas

“Say it ain’t so, I will not go. Turn the lights off, carry me home. Na, na, na, na. Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na” – All The Small Things, Blink 182.

‘Crappy punk music’

“Instead of trying to do everything a little okay, we like to do one thing really awfully.” – Mark Hoppus.

Blink never took themselves or their music particularly seriously. They weren’t trying to reinvent the wheel and they certainly didn’t consider themselves saviours of punk rock. Tom and Mark favour three chords, simple melodies and – while they eventually matured into talented song writers – were never ashamed to label their brand of party punk “crappy”. Heck, they even have merchandise that says as much. Arguing that a band writes crap songs when they wholeheartedly agree is redundant and exactly the kind of reaction three bratty 20-somethings wanted to incite when they penned a song called ‘Dumpweed’.

Even if you consider their brand of pop-punk unworthy of its punk suffix, their “easy access” tunes act as a perfect gateway to a whole world of “important” punk music. For many teens Blink 182 was the older sibling who passed down the classics. Chesire Cat and Enema Of The State opened a window to NOFX, Screeching Weasel, Descendents, The Vandals, Buzzcocks and eventually The Clash. If a handful of crappy punks songs with “a bouquet of clumsy words and a simple melody” can lead one teenager to the genius of Joe Strummer, then it’s served its purpose, right?

No Blink, no Paramore

While saying that Paramore wouldn’t have existed without Blink may not be much of a defence, it does highlight their influence on the state of modern guitar pop. In 2011 the New York Times declared “no punk band of the 1990s has been more influential than Blink-182 [their] sound and style can be heard in the muscular pop punk of Fall Out Boy or in the current wave of high-gloss Warped Tour punk bands”.

In fact, dozens of Soundwave bands (past and present) cite Blink as a musical influence – from Paramore and New Found Glory to All Time Low. And over and above the direct impact of their songwriting on modern music – much like Nirvana used its mainstream success to introduce the world to their lesser known contemporaries like The Melvins and Meat Puppets – Blink used their newfound popularity to bring bands like Jimmy Eat World and Motion City Soundtrack out of obscurity.

Giving porn stars a leg up

When Enema Of The State hit record stores in 1999 the RIAA immediately slapped a “15+ warning” sticker on its cover. Meanwhile, teenage boys the world over fell in love with the “hot nurse” who adorned it.

Believe it or not, the woman featured isn’t really a nurse at all, but adult actress Janine Lindemulder, who Tom DeLonge once said was chosen because the band admired her preference for “girl on girl” action. Can’t accuse them of not knowing their audience.

Wikipedia authoritatively tells us, ”[Enema Of The State] is a humorous pun on the term enemy of the state”, however the original working title was actually ‘Turn Your Head and Cough’, which is why the artwork features a voluptuous nurse pulling on a glove. As the photographer David Goldman earnestly explains, “Obviously an enema is not really a glove type of thing.”

Lindemulder would go on to appear in two of the band’s videos and marry Sandra Bullock’s ex Jesse James. Following her arrest for tax evasion and domestic violence (against James) earlier this year, she became the subject of an internet meme which highlighted her dramatic transformation from cover girl to prison inmate. But would anyone even care if it weren’t for Blink?

In conclusion…

Comments

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45961
conditionals

conditionals said on the 7th Sep, 2012

awesome article, but does anyone still actually think enema of the state isn't an essential, cornerstone album? seems to me the general consensus suddenly changed from 'blink-182, how embarrassing' to 'blink-182, the soundtrack to the best years of my life' a few years ago. now they are pretty much revered elder-statesmen, especially hoppus.

batdan

batdan said on the 7th Sep, 2012

Less Blink, More blowjob talk please.

davidswan

davidswan said on the 7th Sep, 2012

Wow this is the first time I've thought of Area 7 in like, ten years

MorningAfterboy

MorningAfterboy said on the 7th Sep, 2012



What the actual fuck are you talking about.

Scooter mcgavin

Scooter mcgavin said on the 7th Sep, 2012

I actually agree with the soundtrack of our lives business for late 80s kids anyway. Blink was my fav band from being a 10-16 year old kid and many people in their 20 something's would agree. Times have changed but il still smile if a bit of blink comes on (minus the latest album which I never actually listened to not do I ever want to)

kaydee

kaydee said on the 7th Sep, 2012



I remain highly embarrassed about how much my 1999 self listened to this record.

gumbuoy

gumbuoy said on the 7th Sep, 2012



http://teaminfocus.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/RaisedHands.jpg

Braveheart81

Braveheart81 said on the 7th Sep, 2012

It's a pretty important album in terms one of music's most crucial genres, pop punk and all the millions of genres and influential bands that have stemmed from there.

gumbuoy

gumbuoy said on the 7th Sep, 2012

Also,



So, if it was the soundtrack, the "best years of my life" would presumably consist of getting drunk, partying, sex, and generally achieving nothing?

Wouldn't it be the most depressing thing ever if that was the best years of someones life? Nothing else to look forward to but desperately clinging to golden memories of the time you got fucked up on nitrous and fucked somebody you didn't give two shits about?

Makes me depressed just thinking about someone thinking that.

Stugalug

Stugalug said on the 7th Sep, 2012



I just shuddered. Thanks DS.

monokhrome_nite

monokhrome_nite said on the 7th Sep, 2012

Nostalgia for the late 90s is the worst type of nostalgia.

Oflick

Oflick said on the 7th Sep, 2012

I like Adam's Song. Sue me.

berlinchair101

berlinchair101 said on the 7th Sep, 2012

Blink 182 made for a better pop band than they did punk band.

Kelz5359

Kelz5359 said on the 7th Sep, 2012

"Arguing that a band writes crap songs when they wholeheartedly agree is redundant..."

Thank you for so perfectly stating the main point I try to make when having the Blink argument with people. They're just a bunch of funny dudes who don't take themselves or their music too seriously, and that's why people love them. And yes, it's fun to listen to them and relive those feelings of being a silly, carefree kid. Me and my boyfriend play Blink songs in the car all the time and sing along at the top of our voices while people give us funny looks from their fancy SUVs. What of it?

A little nostalgia never hurt anybody ;)

Oflick

Oflick said on the 7th Sep, 2012



Speak for yourself. Nostalgia punched me in the back of the head last month; I had to get stitches and everything.

Kelz5359

Kelz5359 said on the 7th Sep, 2012



Fair enough. Ummmm. A little musical nostalgia never hurt anybody.....?

zaphodm

zaphodm said on the 7th Sep, 2012

if you are saying that without blink182 there'd be no nickelback, then i'm going to build a time machine and stop them from ever forming.

katiecunningham

katiecunningham said on the 7th Sep, 2012

content of the year right here!

jacegalvin

jacegalvin said on the 7th Sep, 2012

Also,



So, if it was the soundtrack, the "best years of my life" would presumably consist of getting drunk, partying, sex, and generally achieving nothing?

Wouldn't it be the most depressing thing ever if that was the best years of someones life? Nothing else to look forward to but desperately clinging to golden memories of the time you got fucked up on nitrous and fucked somebody you didn't give two shits about?

Makes me depressed just thinking about someone thinking that.

Dude, why do you have to be so negative.

Getting drunk, partying and sex is fun for most people (I know not everyone), so what's wrong with enjoying it? And saying it is the best years of their life could mean that they were young, had their whole life ahead of them and were just having fun.

ThatDude123

ThatDude123 said on the 7th Sep, 2012



One of my main arguments against the idolisation of Nirvana is that Nickelback call them a primary influence.

The flowchart misses Taylor Swift after Paramore. Otherwise A+

Oflick

Oflick said on the 7th Sep, 2012

One of my main arguments against the idolisation of Nirvana is that Nickelback call them a primary influence.

The flowchart misses Taylor Swift after Paramore. Otherwise A+

It's a bad argument really.

If motion picture had never been invented, Michael Bay wouldn't be out making shitty movies. Hence every good movie that was made before Michael Bay came around that he liked is really terrible.

ThatDude123

ThatDude123 said on the 7th Sep, 2012

It's a horrible argument, just like Nickelback

Oflick

Oflick said on the 7th Sep, 2012

Nickelback is an argument?

jacegalvin

jacegalvin said on the 7th Sep, 2012



No, but boy are they horrible.

The Great Monkey War

The Great Monkey War said on the 7th Sep, 2012














Oh man.

I loved Enema of the State when I was in year 7. And Take Off Your Pants & Jacket and s/t really spoke to me through my first half of high school. That doesn't make any of those albums an essential, cornerstone album. And it doesn't make Blink 182 revered elder statesmen. It makes them a guilty pleasure.

Ironic-Satire

Ironic-Satire said on the 7th Sep, 2012

the album definitely doesn't need defending in my opinion. it achieves exactly what it wants, and the people who hate them are usually pretty pretentious.

damo65

damo65 said on the 7th Sep, 2012

where to start? are b182 shithouse? clearly. were they ever anything but shithouse? no. did they claim to be anything other than shithouse? no. so, who made them megastars and punk saviours? the band? no. i remember reading an interview with one of the three morons in b182 (see, even the name, and we all know where the 182 came from, don't we, is moronic) said something along the lines of "but we can't write political punk songs because we are moronic fuckwits who worship tits and think all females live only to satisfy our base desires" (i may be paraphrasing a little, i doubt any of b182 actually know what a moron is). so, who made them the saviours of the genre? the media. including this website. saviours? get fucked. they almost destoyed punk rock. all of a sudden, "punk" was tattoos, swearing, fighting and not being able to play. i have destroyed decent friendships over this.
after a deep breath, whoever wrote this article is an idiot.
not possible to get from nofx to b182 from any angle, and any one going the other way (b182 to nofx) is likely to find the way barred. and any journo who would near equate the two bands needs to take themselves outside for a good shouting at.
the only thing b182 ever did which has merit is to wake us punk up. nofx's last 4 albums are a reaction to this shit, and their best work yet.
anyone willing to trade blows over this, pm me.
lastly, i really couldn't give a flying fuck about b182, but their fans and media followers are idiots and need to be punched, repeatedly, violently, repeatedly, in the face, repeatedly.

Stugalug

Stugalug said on the 7th Sep, 2012

whoever wrote this article is an idiot.
not possible to get from nofx to b182 from any angle, and any one going the other way (b182 to nofx) is likely to find the way barred. and any journo who would near equate the two bands needs to take themselves outside for a good shouting at.
the only thing b182 ever did which has merit is to wake us punk up.


What Sarah was saying, is that Blink-182 are a very accessible band. It was likely for someone to discover and enjoy the pop-punk stylings of Enema Of State and delve further into the punk scene. Discover bands like NOFX, Screeching Weasel...

Anyone who missed the point is an idiot.



Punk will never die, man.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfqmJT71wu0

loudQUIETloud

loudQUIETloud said on the 7th Sep, 2012

where to start? are b182 shithouse? clearly. were they ever anything but shithouse? no. did they claim to be anything other than shithouse? no. so, who made them megastars and punk saviours? the band? no. i remember reading an interview with one of the three morons in b182 (see, even the name, and we all know where the 182 came from, don't we, is moronic) said something along the lines of "but we can't write political punk songs because we are moronic fuckwits who worship tits and think all females live only to satisfy our base desires" (i may be paraphrasing a little, i doubt any of b182 actually know what a moron is). so, who made them the saviours of the genre? the media. including this website. saviours? get fucked. they almost destoyed punk rock. all of a sudden, "punk" was tattoos, swearing, fighting and not being able to play. i have destroyed decent friendships over this.
after a deep breath, whoever wrote this article is an idiot.
not possible to get from nofx to b182 from any angle, and any one going the other way (b182 to nofx) is likely to find the way barred. and any journo who would near equate the two bands needs to take themselves outside for a good shouting at.
the only thing b182 ever did which has merit is to wake us punk up. nofx's last 4 albums are a reaction to this shit, and their best work yet.
anyone willing to trade blows over this, pm me.
lastly, i really couldn't give a flying fuck about b182, but their fans and media followers are idiots and need to be punched, repeatedly, violently, repeatedly, in the face, repeatedly.

[youtube]7nzGhz8ySuk[/youtube]

truthlies

truthlies said on the 7th Sep, 2012

so, who made them the saviours of the genre? the media. including this website. saviours? get fucked. they almost destoyed punk rock. all of a sudden, "punk" was tattoos, swearing, fighting and not being able to play. i have destroyed decent friendships over this.
after a deep breath, whoever wrote this article is an idiot.
not possible to get from nofx to b182 from any angle, and any one going the other way (b182 to nofx) is likely to find the way barred. and any journo who would near equate the two bands needs to take themselves outside for a good shouting at.
the only thing b182 ever did which has merit is to wake us punk up. nofx's last 4 albums are a reaction to this shit, and their best work yet.
anyone willing to trade blows over this, pm me.
lastly, i really couldn't give a flying fuck about b182, but their fans and media followers are idiots and need to be punched, repeatedly, violently, repeatedly, in the face, repeatedly.

[URL=http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/641/thestoogesiggy.jpg/]http://img641.imageshack.us/img641/9636/thestoogesiggy.jpg

No Im pretty sure you are the idiot.

Napoleon Solo

Napoleon Solo said on the 8th Sep, 2012

where to start? are b182 shithouse? clearly. were they ever anything but shithouse? no. did they claim to be anything other than shithouse? no. so, who made them megastars and punk saviours? the band? no. i remember reading an interview with one of the three morons in b182 (see, even the name, and we all know where the 182 came from, don't we, is moronic) said something along the lines of "but we can't write political punk songs because we are moronic fuckwits who worship tits and think all females live only to satisfy our base desires" (i may be paraphrasing a little, i doubt any of b182 actually know what a moron is). so, who made them the saviours of the genre? the media. including this website. saviours? get fucked. they almost destoyed punk rock. all of a sudden, "punk" was tattoos, swearing, fighting and not being able to play. i have destroyed decent friendships over this.
after a deep breath, whoever wrote this article is an idiot.
not possible to get from nofx to b182 from any angle, and any one going the other way (b182 to nofx) is likely to find the way barred. and any journo who would near equate the two bands needs to take themselves outside for a good shouting at.
the only thing b182 ever did which has merit is to wake us punk up. nofx's last 4 albums are a reaction to this shit, and their best work yet.
anyone willing to trade blows over this, pm me.
lastly, i really couldn't give a flying fuck about b182, but their fans and media followers are idiots and need to be punched, repeatedly, violently, repeatedly, in the face, repeatedly.

If you are a representative of punk I am burning all of my Replacements records.
The most outrageous thing in your post is the part where you claimed you could read...

zaphodm

zaphodm said on the 8th Sep, 2012


all of a sudden? do you even know ... i give up.

Napoleon Solo

Napoleon Solo said on the 8th Sep, 2012



Really good, played a lot of Ride stuff so I was wrapped.

Oflick

Oflick said on the 8th Sep, 2012



I want to know what you were going to say. This'll haunt me till the end of time!

lineofbestfit

lineofbestfit said on the 8th Sep, 2012

would rather listen to nickelback than this shitfest of a record/band.

jacegalvin

jacegalvin said on the 8th Sep, 2012



http://a2.twimg.com/profile_images/1781291081/Thumbs_up_kid_big.jpg

gumbuoy

gumbuoy said on the 9th Sep, 2012



Pretentious, eh? Tell us more, Ironic Satire.

tyler07

tyler07 said on the 9th Sep, 2012

If people are actually getting cut over people liking Blink-182 then they need to relax. Take the album for the fun, light-hearted release it was supposed to be or move on.

I still love this album, so keen for Soundwave.

justjeans

justjeans said on the 9th Sep, 2012

blink 182's music reminds me of being 13, going camping with my best friend when it was school holidays and generally not having anything to worry about except whether the boy i met at the beach would be there again the next day. a fun time, of course, but hardly the "best years" of my life. just a simpler time, when i enjoyed simple music. i think i still know the entire 'mark, tom and travis show' live album word for word - that includes the speaking in between songs.

flat_eric

flat_eric said on the 9th Sep, 2012



direct quote from the comments section of the fl facebook page

"my friend sucked tom off at the waves show when they supported pennywise. best night ever."

Fenix

Fenix said on the 11th Sep, 2012

It's pretty obvious, if you look at heaps of the "90's punk" bands, it was all edging to a more refined pop/punk sound. NUFAN/Green Day/Less Than Jake/Mxpx/The Ataris/Offspring/Unwritten Law etc.

Blink easily slotted into that timeline of music. They just had their brand of pop punk and it was simple/stupid and catchy. When this album came out I was knee deep into american punk/pop punk and I remember listening to this for the first time and thinking... holy shit, this is amazing.

Is it actually amazing... kind of, was it 100% relevant at the time... yes. It's not like it was groundbreaking but it definitely set a benchmark of some sort for pop punk. Something about being super easy to play (everyone grabbed a guitar and churned out 4 chords), super easy to sing along to... and just selling that Californian punk brand was so appealing as a teenager.

Blink was never a "punk" band like nofx/bad religion but I'm sure most of Blinks early fans were into those Pennywise style earlier punk bands. Enema of the state definitely created a split where most punkers would hate Blink because it was essentially Pop music with punk influences, as opposed to punk music with pop influences. When you chuck millions of annoying teenage noob fans into the mix and a widespread media attention, it's a recipe for hate from the older punk kids and earlier Blink fans.

From there you have all of your Sum 41's, Fenix Tx's, New Found Glory', Drive thru records bands and so on.

So yeah, I definitely think Enema is a defining album in terms of evolving pop/punk to the next level. Some bands still kept doing it the 90's punk way, some bands stuck to the Blink formula and the new wave of bands took this sound as influence and evolved it their own way (Paramore, Fall Out Boy, A Day to Remember etc).

Cpt_Pugwash

Cpt_Pugwash said on the 13th Sep, 2012

No mention of Dude Ranch?

knate

knate said on the 13th Sep, 2012

direct quote from the comments section of the fl facebook page

"my friend sucked tom off at the waves show when they supported pennywise. best night ever."

was at that gig! also at Blinks headlining at at an underage venue on the sunday in the gong. the memories

batdan

batdan said on the 13th Sep, 2012

direct quote from the comments section of the fl facebook page

"my friend sucked tom off at the waves show when they supported pennywise. best night ever."

"my friend" yeah right.

shazie

shazie said on the 13th Sep, 2012



Adam's song is one of my favourite songs. Don't sue me, sue Oflick instead. He has lots of that internet money.

MandarinSoy

MandarinSoy said on the 10th Oct, 2012

hard to believe it was that long ago. 1999 wow. on saying that, i listening to that album recently and still enjoyed it. don't sweat on the small stuff. yep its poppy and not hardcore punk. but then again i don't once remember thinking they were trying to be. those who take their punk seriously, would have kicked the speakers in as soon as it comes on, others will just enjoy or not enjoy it for what it is. it was big though thats for sure. b

babysgottaloco

babysgottaloco said on the 6th Mar, 2013

i'm realliy digging these articles.

Oflick

Oflick said on the 6th Mar, 2013

I'm waiting for the inevitable "In Defence Of: AJ Maddah".