Dude Ranch


MCA Records, 1997


REVIEW BY: Emily Kinsella


"Yeah my girlfriend/ takes collect calls from the road/ and it doesn't seem to matter/ that I'm lacking in the bulge." In 1997, Blink 182 exploded onto the new-school punk scene, waving their flag of unhindered irreverence proudly. In those early days, Blink cultivated the uncanny ability to corrode any kind of substantial message they may cough up with penis humor. Since then they have endured a drummer change, and unending criticism for their more recently found commercial success. But hearken back to the days when they were just Blink-Mark Hoppus, Tom Delonge and Scott Raynor -- and they played with a rollicking rowdiness that produced some of their best music.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Number 11 on this disc, "Josie," was Blink 182's earliest real hit, maybe because the video featured a bikini-clad Alyssa Milano. But I choose to believe the reason fans clung to the single was because of the inventive arrangement of turkey-shoot, yet touching, lyrics and punch lines that capitalized on hilarious stuff like masturbating. In the end, Blink still finds a way to drive the point home, and you remember what the song meant to you. "Josie" is a prime example of Blink 182 at their song-writing best and musically catchiest.

Blink, those charmers, made a name for their music as being rambunctious, silly… politically incorrect? Couldn't be. Obviously, when you think "Blink 182," you don't call up the same thoughts you would as, say, well, some serious singer/songwriters I know nothing about. Take, for example, "Degenerate" (number 13). "Don't like hesh/ don't like rap/ kicked ol' Sally 'cause she's fat/ I'm a jerk/ I'm a punk/ took a shower 'cause I stunk/ smoked a bong/ killed a cat/ had my nuts attacked by rats/ dad got nude/ I wore a thong/ For a hobby I make bombs." Unluckily, "Degenerate" has no catchy beat, and the funny (yes, funny) but offensive lyrics are delivered in typical Blink fashion, which is fast enough that you can't understand them and no parents can get pissed.

Dude Ranch isn't exactly the abhorrent onslaught it might appear to be. Some of the tracks are insightful, astute and notably poetic. The climax on Dude Ranch comes early on with number 3's "Dammit." Not necessarily Blink's highest charting single, "Dammit" became an anthem, much like, if not matching the popularity of, Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit." "it'll happen once again/ you'll turn to a friend/ someone that understands/ sees through the master plan/ but everybody's gone/ and you've been there for too long/ to face this on your own/ well I guess this is growing up." Boasting one very identifiable guitar riff throughout, "Dammit" is the only song on the CD that isn't backed by a cheerful, goofy melody. Nevertheless, it still receives semi-regular airplay and a devoted cult following.

Amidst all the dueling song-meanings and contrasting lyrics, Dude Ranch is worth your time

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2003 Emily Kinsella and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of MCA Records, and is used for informational purposes only.