Released in June 1999 through MCA Records, Enema of the State was blink's third studio album and the first of their records to be produced with Jerry Finn, whose other credits included Bad Religion, Green Day and The Offspring. It was Finn's profound influence on the band, as well as an extended recording period (three months, as opposed to the two to three weeks spent on Cheshire Cat and Dude Ranch) that gave this breakthrough album its polished feel.
Enema was also the first album to be recorded with new drummer Travis Barker, whose help with composition and sheer percussive talent (described by DeLonge as "perfect") pushed the other two band members to up their game.
Between the pun of the title and the pornstar on the cover, this album promised to maintain course with the band's tried and tested brand of dynamic irreverence and juvenile potty humour – and it didn't disappoint. Enema's twelve unforgettable tracks tread familiar thematic territory with lyrics on pop culture and adolescent angst.
The first song, 'Dumpweed', opens with some sexual frustration set to a fun, catchy riff and blistering percussion, while 'What's My Age Again?' (the first of the album's singles) sees Barker demonstrating his hi-hat skills – elevated to an art form by the closing track, 'Anthem'. Two more singles were released from this album: Ramones-inspired and crazy popular 'All The Small Things', which uses a more poppy style to spoof late-nineties boybands, and the unusually downbeat 'Adam's Song', whose melancholic piano and otherwise simple instrumentation allow Hoppus's lyrical maturity and yearning vocals to shine through. Along with the similarly gentle and harmonic tracks' Wendy Clear' and 'Going Away to College', 'Adam's Song' represents an auditory breather from an otherwise relentlessly loud album.
What's My Age Again
To promote its release the band toured extensively, headlined arenas, shot a nude music video for 'What's My Age Again?', and even cameoed in the iconic teen movie American Pie, which also featured the song 'Mutt'.
The band's cachet at home and abroad – in Australia, Europe, and Asia – was reaching an all-time high. By the end of 1999 Enema of the State had already gone triple platinum in the States (five times platinum by the following summer), and was achieving comparable levels of commercial success in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, and the UK, where a devoted fan base was rapidly taking root.
All The Small Things
The three singles were also a triumph, with 'All The Small Things' and 'Adam's Song' peaking at number two in the UK and the US respectively, while the video for 'What's My Age Again?' became a staple for major music television networks around the world.
Punk purists have attacked the album's polished veneer, labelling it a joke album too poppy to be punk, yet the trio's success speaks for itself; following Enema of the State, the band became a global phenomenon and the biggest act of their kind. More than that, as time would show, blink-182 had made an important and indelible mark that changed crossover punk rock forever.
Enema of the State Tracklist
- Don't Leave Me
- Aliens Exist
- Going Away to College
- What's My Age Again?
- Dysentery Gary
- Adam's Song
- All the Small Things
- The Party Song
- Wendy Clear