+44 won’t add up for fans

Think back several years when Limp Bizkit
disbanded and left blink-182 as the hottest band to dislike. But before the fallout, fans sang to such sardonic songs as “What’s My Age Again?,” and “Dammit,” believing
they were in on the joke.

MTV’s Total Request Live glamorized
the band, and it won over with the heavily-sought 12-year-old Lunchables-eating demographic. It did, however, cost blink-182 its diehard fans, with many pigeonholing the puerile punk trio as pseudo punk. That just brought about every poster down, turning fans’ patronage outside-in and spurring a seismic rift between guitarist Tom DeLonge and everybody else.

DeLonge formed Angels and Airwaves and dissenters Mark Hoppus, the singer, and Travis Barker, the drummer, created +44. Their debut album, “When Your Heart Stops Beating,” sounds overproduced like that of blink-182 but instead of sophomoric fart jokes, +44 relies on insipid poetry. Even for the standards of emo – a genre this album falls into – the lyrics seem sappy.

On the opening track, “Lycanthrope,” Hoppus sings about those things that make your head hurt and stuff: “I turn my face to a careless skyline/ I’m searching hard for a sign from heaven/ But they’re forgotten me here.”

I want to say Hoppus, 34, the songwriter, has grown up, but it’s hard to with lyrics that neither move nor rhyme. +44 gets off its picnic blanket and into the ring on “No It Isn’t,” a song that seems to be directed at DeLonge: “Please understand, this isn’t just goodbye, this is I can’t stand you.”

The album does, however, keep the blissful nostalgia found in blink-182 albums, but even that gets old, especially when the same evoking moments are revisited so many times you get a free one on your next visit. Rooftop nights, beach frolicking, heartfelt drives home and anything else everyone ever did can be found on “Cliffdiving.” I would include lyrics but you’ve already heard them before.

Steve Wood can be reached at jacksonb@temple.edu.

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