Icon

Released: Mar 19, 2013 / 11 Tracks
Icon by Blink-182

This is blink-182's second greatest hits compilation and with just eleven tracks, it runs around twenty minutes shorter than the first. It was released on 29 March 2013 as part of Universal Music's eclectic Icon series, the aim of which has been to collect onto definitive albums the smash hits from some of the most successful recording artists of all time.

Though not arranged in any chronological order, the track listing reflects the band's musical evolution well enough for such a short collection, gathering together songs off Dude Ranch, Enema of the State, Take Off Your Pants and Jacket, and blink-182.

At the top of the album sits 'All The Small Things', a landmark single for blink in terms of widening their appeal, and a kind of pop-cultural parodic nexus at the time of its release – saturating the airwaves from MTV to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The song remains popular among fans and non-fans today and, as an opener for Icon, seems to suggest an inclination toward the mainstream. In fact, every track on this album are among the band's better-known singles.

'Josie' was a hit single from Dude Ranch about the ideal girlfriend, and the last of the band's singles to be recorded with Scott Raynor as their drummer. Next is 'Feeling This', an example of the band's gravitation toward a more mature style on their eponymous fifth album in 2003. A considerable success, the track peaked at number two in the US charts.

'Adam's Song' from Enema of the State was another, albeit earlier, break from form with Hoppus's dark and downbeat lyrics and an atmospheric backing. The song drew criticism in 2000 when a teenage fan set it to play on loop as he killed himself in his garage, however the band maintain its message to be fundamentally anti-suicide.

Icon follows this song with a return to Dude Ranch for its next track, 'Dammit'. Along with 'Josie', this is as far back into blink's early work as the collection goes.

'What's My Age Again?', from Enema of the State, in many ways sums up the late nineties to millennial appeal of blink-182 as the adults who refused to grow up. It is essential pop punk and a definitive example of the genre the band helped to popularise.

Next up, and bizarrely separated on this album by the powerfully sad 'Down' (from the experimental and atmospheric blink-182) are the saccharine summertime singles 'The Rock Show' and 'First Date' – both of which were the direct result of studio pressure for guaranteed hits on Take Off Your Pants and Jacket. They were effectively written to order for manager Rick DeVoe, who wanted them to offset the solemn maturity of tracks like 'Stay Together For the Kids' – which also features as the next track on Icon. A meaningful song for both Hoppus and DeLonge, it has a longer runtime than usual at about four minutes long. It alternates between reflective and mellow simplicity and pounding, thrashing frustration, paralleling the sadness, confusion, and anxiety experienced by children of divorced parents. The collection ends with 'I Miss You' from blink-182, which was inspired by 'The Love Cats' by The Cure and is echoed in the band's later work.

Reception of this album was mixed. Some considered it to be compactly representative of the band's career, while others found the choice of tracks, as well as their arrangement, to be perplexing, especially since not even the hugely popular 'Carousel' from Cheshire Cat was included. Ultimately this isn't one for the fans, but more of an introduction to the band for those unfamiliar with their mainstream successes.