As both the producer and a co-writer of California, Feldmann becomes the unseen member of Blink-182, who somehow holds the most sway.
From the very beginning of the album, Feldmann’s presence is felt.
“Bored To Death” feels linked to Blink-182’s 2003 self-titled effort, and “She’s Out Of Her Mind” opens with a bouncy groove that could have called Enema Of The State home, while “Rabbit Hole” is the kind of highly processed sugar rush that the band has always been best at providing.
The latter is a classic Blink composition, marred only by its single throwaway line, “T’s something about you / That I can’t quite put my finger in.” While these “Jokes” fall flat, California still features unintentional humor.
“San Diego” sees Skiba recycling the riff from “Bored To Death” and hoping no one will notice, while unleashing this clunker of a line at the top of every chorus: “I don’t want to fall asleep / Because what if I dream / Of going back to San Diego?” On the halfway-decent “The Only Thing That Matters,” Skiba drops another hackneyed lyric about owning Marilyn Manson paintings, in case anyone was curious about how Marilyn Manson’s art career was going in 2016.
California is the sound of Blink-182 desperately trying to remain relevant by outsourcing its creativity.