Formed in California in 1992 by bassist/vocalist Mark Hoppus and guitarist/vocalist Tom DeLonge, pop-punk trio Blink-182 blew up internationally with the release of their third album Enema of the State in 1999, by which point the line-up was completed by Travis Barker on drums.
The band cemented their position as one of pop-punk’s leading acts with the release of their fourth album Take Off Your Pants and Jacket in 2001, and the eponymously titled Blink-182 followed in 2003, which saw them evolve into a more developed alternative rock band.
In 2005 DeLonge quit, before rejoining to record album number six, Neighborhoods, in 2009. He then exited the band again in 2015, only to be replaced this time by Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba, who features on their latest album California.
After years of inner tension and second-rate material, the band now seems to have entered an exciting new chapter in their career. What better time, then, to look back over the music videos that have helped put them where they are today, at the very top of the pop-punk mountain? So here, in order of awesomeness, are the ten best music videos by Blink-182…
Blink-182’s third music video was the one that first hinted at the MTV superstars they would later become. Directed by Darren Doane, who collaborated with the band on their first two videos (M+M’s and Dammit), it features a young Ribena-haired Mark Hoppus making a mockery of himself in various high school scenarios as he struggles to win the affection of his cheerleader crush, played by Alyssa Milano from Charmed. It was simple but effective, and loaded with the trademark juvenile humour that would eventually make them millionaires.
9. Bored to Death
As the world’s first introduction to Blink-182 Mk II, the Mark, Matt and Travis show, the video for Bored to Death ticks all the right boxes. It’s set in the familiar high school arena where our heroes first started out, and once again we’re introduced to a disillusioned teenager daydreaming about a girl. But this time the mood is sombre, the kids are all dressed in black, and the protagonist’s story ends back where it started: stuck in the classroom, bored and alone. As comeback singles go, it’s a classic tale of teenage longing, and the video’s a perfect companion piece.
Always was the fourth and final single from Blink-182’s self-titled album, and the video is neatly shot in eye-catching style similar to that of Mike Figis’ experimental film Timecode, albeit without the big name actors or anything resembling a plot. Rather, the screen splits into a trilogy of horizontal panels as the three band mates chase Australian pop singer Sophie Monk around her bedroom and harass her for a snog. We’re guessing drummer Travis Barker wrote the treatment for this one, as he’s the only guy that actually got to make out with her. Twice. The other two just get locked in a closet.
7. The Rock Show
Inspired by the likes of The Queers, Screeching Weasel and Descendents, this Mark Hoppus-penned single may well be the catchiest ode to teen angst romance the band has ever written, and neurotic pop-punk is their speciality. They were allegedly given a ludicrously large amount of money for the video (reportedly somewhere in the realms of $500,000), so they did what any self-respecting punk band in their position would do… No, they didn’t give it all to charity, although they do give a homeless man a makeover. Instead, they blew it on a two-day party and invited their mates along for the ride. Cue lots of carnage.
6. After Midnight
Let’s face it, Neighborhoods was a disjointed mess of an album, but it still featured a couple of tracks that hinted at that old Blink magic. After Midnight, for instance, was both epic and intimate, and reminiscent of their prior hit I Miss You. It’s a song about two broken individuals who fall in love, and rather fittingly the video follows two star-crossed lovers as they embark on an evening of reckless romance around a youth psychiatric ward. Director Isaac Rentz does a great job of humanising the mentally afflicted in ways rarely seen in popular culture, and the video adds weight to an already heart-rending song.
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5. Stay Together for the Kids
Guitarist Tom DeLonge wrote this song about his parent’s divorce and the effect that it had on him. The video opens with the quote, “50 percent of American households are destroyed by divorce”, and features the band performing in a suburban home as a giant wrecking ball destroys it. Following the events of 9⁄11 they re-recorded the entire video, fearing that the one they’d shot was too evocative of the terrorist attacks, but the original has since become available and it’s one of the most compelling things they’ve ever done. It’s the perfect metaphor for crumbling marriages and broken homes.
4. First Date
When Blink-182 turned in the first draft of their fourth album Take Off Your Pants and Jacket their manager told them they were missing a couple of catchy singles, so DeLonge went off and wrote First Date whilst Hoppus wrote The Rock Show, and they ended up being the two biggest tracks on the album. We’re grateful they did too, just as we’re grateful for this brilliant video in which the band don their finest ‘70s wigs, moustaches, tank tops and short shorts, and take dicking about to a whole new level in the best tribute to Dazed and Confused ever made. Look out for cameos from Chad Gilbert and Jordan Pundik from New Found Glory, too.
3. I Miss You
I Miss You was inspired by The Cure’s magnificent single Love Cats, and the video to Blink 182’s acoustic ode to loneliness sees the band in full-blown goth mode, with Mark Hoppus even sporting the kind of upright double bass used by Cure bassist Phil Thornalley. It was a totally new direction for a band previously known for their toilet humour and melodic pop-punk, and acclaimed filmmaker Jonas Åkerlund’s 1930s German Expressionist-inspired video set in a haunted house gave the group a completely new image as they ploughed forward with the next, notably more mature, chapter in their careers.
2. What’s My Age Again?
The intro riff to What’s My Age Again? is classic in itself, but married with the opening shot from the video of a close-up of Mark, Tom and Travis, which pans out to reveal the trio naked running in the streets of Los Angeles, well that’s the stuff of legend right there. This was the moment Blink-182 crossed over into the world of pop stardom, and the song has since become an anthem for a generation of people who just want to act stupid and be immature for a minute, regardless of age, sex and background. It’s a celebration of the careless follies of youth, and nothing says that better than three fully-grown men streaking through a densely populated urban area. Right guys? Well, the band might regret making it but the world will never stop enjoying it.
1. All the Small Things
Tom DeLonge’s tribute to two of his favourite things - his girlfriend and the Ramones – was always destined to be a smash hit; it was too catchy not to be. But make no mistake about it, it was this music video that made Blink-182 an international sensation, and in taking the piss out of some of the biggest pop acts on the planet – Backstreet Boys, ‘N Sync, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera - the band unwittingly, or perhaps even consciously, became just as famous as the people they were parodying. There were other musicians of this era doing parody videos, most notably rap star Eminem and fellow pop-punk band Bowling For Soup, but here Blink-182 proved once and for all they were the undisputed masters of the craft. Quite simply, this is one of the most iconic, timeless, and utterly hilarious music videos ever made, and it’s just as entertaining now as the day it came out.
A Brief History of... Blink 182