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Blink-182 - Cheshire Cat Album Cover

Blink-182 - Cheshire Cat

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7.3
Blink-182 - Cheshire Cat
Record Label: Cargo Music / Grilled Cheese
Release Date: February 17, 1994
Over the course of their 13 year career, Blink-182 released five albums, four which went on to become legendary in the pop punk world. Cheshire Cat, their 1994 debut album, has gone on to sell a reasonable amount of copies but has remained relatively unnoticed. It's understandable that the album didn’t break through; back then, the band only had a demo and a 7” under their belt, and the support of a small, now defunct label. It is by no means a bad album, however. For a debut album from a band that was completely unknown and inexperienced at the time, Cheshire Cat is definitely worth a listen.

The biggest problem that a lot of people have with Cheshire Cat is that they go into listening to it with high expectations. For example, a common complaint is that the lyrics on the album leave much to be desired, but lyrics were never Blink-182’s strong point anyway (anyone who disagrees with me on this should go read the lyrics to "Give Me One Good Reason" and reconsider). The band rarely tries to be anything more than a fun summer band writing songs about teenage romance, TV shows, and shitting yourself. Expecting brilliant lyrics from a Blink album is like expecting incredible acting in a Star Wars movie. Another common complaint concerns the band’s vocals. In this case, detractors have a more valid point: like all other pre-Enema of the State material, guitarist Tom DeLonge’s voice is unbearably nasal and off-key, and bassist Mark Hoppus’ is nothing stellar.

Flaws aside, Cheshire Cat deserves credit where credit is due, and it certainly succeeds in offering the listener a good time. “TV” comes across as Blink’s re-write of Black Flag’s “TV Party,” with lyrics like “When I’m at work, yeah, I always rush right home for lunch / So I can check out what’s up on The Brady Bunch / And when I’m walking through the front door at night / I gotta see who’s winning on The Price is Right” being sung over a blistering tempo and catchy-as-fuck vocal harmonies. “Depends” and “Ben Wah Balls” are ridiculously funny joke songs that are sure to make the middle schooler in anyone crack a smile, and Blink-182 are obviously going to be in their element when they’re singing songs about anal sex and adult diapers. “Sometimes” is a standout track in the band’s discography in that it is rawer, faster, and much shorter than most of their songs, clocking in at barely over a minute. It wouldn’t sound out of place as an Everything Sucks-era Descendents song. The album has no shortage of pop sensibility; “M+Ms” and “Wasting Time” are both songs that would have been played on radio all the time in a just world. Unfortunately, FM stations in 1994 were too busy drooling over Hole and Alice in Chains to notice.

Admittedly, when Blink-182 does try to be more than a fun, pop-sensible punk band on this album, they fall pretty flat. “Cacophony” and “Toast and Bananas” are some of the band’s earliest attempts at writing mellow, meaningful songs, but they aren’t nearly as listenable as later track’s such as “Adam’s Song” from Enema of the State or “I Miss You” from Blink-182. On “Cacophony,” for example, Hoppus sings “Words like forever / They scare the shit out of me / Maybe I’m afraid of commitment / Maybe you’re too distracted to see / That sometimes I don’t feel the same way as you feel.” Pretty typical lyrics to see from a 20-something guy going through troubled times in a relationship, but for a band like Blink that strives on good times and dick jokes, this kind of song seems out of place and awkward. For the most part, Cheshire Cat sticks to what Blink are good at, but missteps like this make it a little less fun.

Aside from this, Cheshire Cat is a good early indicator of what Blink-182 would turn out to be. Their sound wasn’t quite as polished, but they were certainly miles ahead of a lot of their peers at the time. There are plenty of songs on this record that would go on to be classics in the band’s discography (“Carousel,” anyone?), and for fans of the band who have yet to check this album out, I’d recommend finally coming around and giving it a try.

Recommended if You LikeThe Descendents, the movie Airplane!, NOFX, remembering what it was like to be 15

myspace.com/blink182
This review is a user submitted review from TheOtherAndrew. You can see all of TheOtherAndrew's submitted reviews here.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 36
11:28 PM on 04/30/08
#2
Adrian Villagomez
The Sword the Anvil the Stone
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Man, it's been too long since I've heard this album. "Carousel," their first song, is probably Blink's best song.

And I could see the flaws with "Cacophony," but "Toast and Bananas" is great.

Very good, nostalgic review.
05:06 AM on 05/01/08
#3
daaana
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wow i was not even aware this existed
07:02 AM on 05/01/08
#4
zubinmoosa
Tonight I'm Burning Star IV
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We should get some more Blink reviews up here.
07:10 AM on 05/01/08
#5
Merkin
A Fine Evening For a Rogue
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wow i was not even aware this existed

what do you mean, "this"
this album?

how old are you son?
07:17 AM on 05/01/08
#6
daaana
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what do you mean, "this"
this album?

how old are you son?

this album ?
07:22 AM on 05/01/08
#7
alice+interiors
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I never liked this album much, but this is a good review
10:11 AM on 05/01/08
#8
pinklipgloss
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Well, I guess it all depends (undergarments)

You've made me realize I haven't listened to this in a long time. Thus, I'll listen to it later.
01:47 PM on 05/01/08
#9
KEB182
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fuck the naysayers cuz they don't mean a thing
02:41 PM on 05/01/08
xtheaudition
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this cd is a gem
11:01 PM on 05/01/08
TheOtherAndrew
Meh
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Man, it's been too long since I've heard this album. "Carousel," their first song, is probably Blink's best song.

And I could see the flaws with "Cacophony," but "Toast and Bananas" is great.

Very good, nostalgic review.
Thanks Adrian. I wanted to avoid going on and on about Carousel in the review (being that everyone who knows Blink already loves it) but agreed, its definitely one of their best.
We should get some more Blink reviews up here.
Seconded.
I never liked this album much, but this is a good review
Thanks Matt.
Well, I guess it all depends (undergarments)

You've made me realize I haven't listened to this in a long time. Thus, I'll listen to it later.
Awesome.
11:50 PM on 05/01/08
AP_Punk
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"Romeo and Rebecca" is still one of my favorites off Chesire.
07:57 AM on 05/02/08
reissgoespunk
"Fuck Armageddon, this is Hell"
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Brilliant review, fair score.
07:58 AM on 05/02/08
reissgoespunk
"Fuck Armageddon, this is Hell"
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We should get some more Blink reviews up here.

Agreed.
01:15 PM on 05/02/08
newfoundmichael
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It really has been a while since I've listened to this. Very nice review.

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