They may still be best associated with the late ’90s, but pop-punk greats Blink-182 now have a Billboard 200 No. 1 album in each of the first three decades of the ’00s: 2002’s Take Off Your Pants and Jacket, 2016’s California, and now this year’s One More Time…
The Oct. 21-released set — the trio’s first LP with original co-leader Tom DeLonge since 2011’s Neighborhoods, with Matt Skiba filling in for him for most of the decade-plus in between — posts 125,000 equivalent album units in its debut week, just getting it past the 120,000 moved by Drake’s For All the Dogs in its third frame. It’s a significant improvement from the 94,000 units notched by Blink’s prior album Nine (2019), which bowed at No. 3 on the chart.
How did Blink manage such a stellar showing a full three decades after their 1993 debut EP? And what could their peers learn from their success? Billboard staffers discuss these questions and more below.
1. Blink-182’s One More Time… debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in its debut week with 125,000 equivalent album units, narrowly edging out Drake’s For All the Dogs in its third week. On a scale from 1 to 182, how big an accomplishment would you say that is for a 30-year-old rock band in 2023?
Kyle Denis: 116. Amid talk about the changes in genre trends this year, and while rock music has been present near the top of the Billboard 200 through new albums from the likes of Zach Bryan, Olivia Rodrigo, Lil Uzi Vert, Jelly Roll and Noah Kahan, One More Time is the first full-fledged rock album from an instrument-based band to reach the top of the ranking this calendar year. That’s a major feat, especially for a band whose last legitimate crossover hit is around the same age as some of Gen Z’s biggest pop stars.
Josh Glicksman: A rock solid 164. Let’s face it: the peak of the Billboard 200 isn’t often reserved for legacy acts these days. The only other rock bands with more than 30 years pedigree to reach No. 1 this decade are AC/DC and Red Hot Chili Peppers, with Power Up in 2020 and Unlimited Love in 2022, respectively. Drake is the only other artist over 35 years old to reach the top slot this year. Sure, Blink-182 benefits from releasing an album during a relatively tame week for competition, but even so, the feat isn’t anything to downplay.
Jason Lipshutz: A 180! Considering how difficult it is for veteran rock bands to impact the mainstream in 2023, Blink-182’s past year — which includes multiple rock hits crossing over to the Billboard Hot 100, a huge arena tour and now a No. 1 album with a six-figure debut — has been uniquely commanding. Topping the Billboard 200 is partially a symptom of One More Time avoiding the bigger pop release weeks this month, but even so, starting with 125,000 equivalent album units is pretty damn impressive, and the cherry on top of a major return.
Andrew Unterberger: Definitely 134. It’s more an affirmation of what we already know about the band’s continued endurance — just a half year after they stepped in to fill Frank Ocean’s vacated Coachella headlining slot and just a few days after they announced an upcoming U.S. stadium trek — then any new or revelatory breakthrough. But given how unseriously pop-punk was taken as a genre 20-30 years ago, and how hairy things looked for Blink-182’s future prospects just a decade earlier, it’s still definitely one for the resumé for the trio to still be putting up A-list numbers in 2023.
Christine Werthman: The correct answer is 182. This is the first studio effort from the longtime lineup of Tom DeLonge, Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker since 2012, and sure, it’s less bratty and more wizened than the band’s late-1990s, early-2000s skate-punk output, but it’s not a total reinvention. The trio gave the people what they wanted — a reunion, a tried-and-true sound — and the fans showed up. Blink-182 topped Drake! In 2023! Yes, in his third week, but it still counts! Chalk it up as a huge win.
2. Few of Blink’s ’90s peers are still posting six-digit first weeks in the 2020s, especially after the elimination of ticket bundles from Billboard 200 sales calculations a few years ago. What’s one thing you think the band did particularly well with One More Time to make such a big debut week possible?
Kyle Denis: Given that One More Time is the band’s first LP since the return of Tom DeLonge, there was already a level of inherent comeback hype baked into the record. Couple that with a smart, lengthy campaign that let each pre-release single run its course – both “Edging” and the title track topped Alternative Airplay – and you’re left with a rollout that is primarily concerned with activating their tried-and-true fanbase instead of radically changing their sound to court younger consumers. To that end, however, the social clout of Travis Barker and Kourtney Kardashian’s marriage likely brought a few new, younger listeners to the blink-182 fandom. Moreover, blink-182 (in its original configuration) came back at the right time considering the mainstream resurgence of pop-punk at the top of the decade.
Josh Glicksman: An extended album rollout. Quickly following the reunion announcement last October with a new single stoked initial hype, and the band carried the momentum through album release day by touring across the world — including at a whole bunch of major festivals — and made sure everyone knew that a project was on the way. It’s not a strategy I’d suggest for major pop stars of the moment, but for a reunion project from a long-tenured band like Blink-182, allowing momentum to steadily grow over the course of a year paid huge dividends.
Jason Lipshutz: The year-long rollout of the release — in which lead single “Edging” was released almost exactly one year prior to One More Time — proved surprisingly effective, since Blink was able to tour arenas and festivals (including Coachella and When We Were Young) for six months and galvanize their fan base ahead of the new album. Maybe One More Time doesn’t hit No. 1 if it was released last October, before hundreds of thousands of fans got to see their impressive headlining set and receive a reminder that, when it comes to their studio output, Mark, Tom and Travis rarely miss.
Andrew Unterberger: The reunion with DeLonge and the feel-good story behind it is almost certainly the biggest factor in this set’s strong performance — but the group did do a good job of leaning into it (both in the album’s lyrics and promotion) just enough to tug the heartstrings but not enough to cheapen it. And the songs are pretty good! That helps.
Christine Werthman: They say timing is everything, and Blink-182 certainly proved that by reuniting right when pop-punk was regaining popularity and the nostalgia for those 1990s and 2000s bands was peaking. The tour and the album could not have been more perfectly positioned for success.
3. One More Time was preceded by two Hot 100-charting, rock radio-dominating singles in “Edging” and the title track. Do either of them seem like enduring future-classic entries in the Blink canon to you, or is their success more due to name recognition and good timing?
Kyle Denis: I’m leaning towards name recognition and good timing, but I could see “Edging” sticking around as late-career classic.
Josh Glicksman: I don’t know that “Edging” is ever going to supplant the biggest crowd pleasers in the band’s catalog — which is more of a testament to Blink-182’s turn of the century heyday than anything else — but it’s still a hell of a lead single and will be a welcome listen mixed into any greatest hits compilation. Of course, the name recognition and proximity to the reunion announcement helped the song, but the fact that it holds up as well as it does more than a year later means it has plenty of legs to swim on its own power, too.
Jason Lipshutz: I’ve become a big fan of “Edging,” especially after seeing it as a sing-along moment in concert. At first, the single struck me as watered-down hijinks, but those melodies jangle with snotty joy, and the hook is great to yelp along to when your car stereo is a little too loud. The title track packs an emotional wallop, but “Edging” is the new Blink single I’ll be returning to over the next few years.
Andrew Unterberger: I think “Edging” is the better song of the two, but the title track might be the more likely one to endure, just because of what it represents in the band’s story. I could see it becoming a go-to live set-ender or encore over the years, if nothing else.
Christine Werthman: “Edging” feels more in line with the canon, but the title track might be the one that lingers because it’s so revealing. For a band seemingly obsessed with never growing up or acting its age, “One More Time” shows Blink-182 grappling with the inevitable. It’s such a singular track in the group’s catalog that the enduring emo singalong could become a staple.
4. Blink’s third career act is likely going much better than anyone could’ve predicted it would at the height of the acrimony between the band’s classic lineup. Is there anything that other rock legacy acts could learn from their example, or are their accomplishments unique to their circumstances?
Kyle Denis: Age gracefully, stay true to your sound, and focus on activating your existing fanbase and reaching them where they are currently at. Oh, and get with a Kardashian too.
Josh Glicksman: I’d lean more toward the latter, but there’s plenty to glean from the band’s continued success. Blink-182 has done a phenomenal job of embracing the next wave of artists in rock and pop-punk. It’s all too easy to “get off my lawn” a new generation, but the three of them — and Barker in particular — have championed newcomers in a way that allows rising stars to garner the wisdom of the past while shaping the future of the genres. That goes an extremely long way in terms of introducing today’s listeners to the band’s catalog.
Jason Lipshutz: It all feels too serendipitous for other rock bands to study: Mark Hoppus’ cancer diagnosis and successful battle could never have been foreseen, and when their classic lineup reunited, exactly enough time had been between its last studio album and proper tour that demand for both was always going to be high. This Blink-182 comeback arrived at the end of a winding road, but the timing was right, the music was solid, and it’s proven to be a huge achievement.
Andrew Unterberger: Much of it is irreplicable, but I think Blink-182 do a good job of toeing the line between reviving the sound and spirit of their “classic” period while also making room for both musical evolution and lyrical honestly about their current lives. It’s a difficult balance to strike — many of their peers don’t even really seem to try — but it really helps a band like them maintain (and even grow) an audience this deep into their career.
Christine Werthman: The band got lucky with the return of pop-punk, but there are some lessons here for those artists who currently refuse to give it another go. Lesson one: Listen to “One More Time” and realize that it’s never too late to put aside the drama and get back to doing what you love with the people you once loved. Lesson two: Check out those Boxscore numbers. Blink-182 earned more than $85 million from its North American leg, a figure that, though likely rare for reunions, could soften even the hardest of hearts.
5. What’s another ’90s-popular rock band that you could see scoring a future No. 1 album this decade?
Kyle Denis: My money’s on Green Day. Their new record is dropping in January, and with a stadium tour set to follow, that’ll be a rollout worth observing.
Josh Glicksman: It’s not an overwhelmingly bold prediction given the band has two top-10 albums this decade, but Foo Fighters feels more than capable of returning to the top of the chart in the next few years.
Jason Lipshutz: Did you know that Push and Shove, the comeback album from No Doubt after 11 years apart, is now over a decade old itself? That band’s biggest hits have endured, while Gwen Stefani still has plenty of cultural cache thanks to The Voice and her solo career. Let’s follow the One More Time playbook and get a punchy new single, career-spanning arena tour and surprisingly emotional album together ASAP!
Andrew Unterberger: Radiohead is a band whose reputation and popularity never really seem to diminish over the passing years. If they were to release a follow-up to 2016’s A Moon Shaped Pool in the next few years — particularly if they just kinda sprung it on fans, In Rainbows-style — I bet it would have a pretty good shot at capturing the top spot.
Christine Werthman: No Doubt. They’ve got about two years until the 30th anniversary of Tragic Kingdom, so start rehearsing, schedule some reunion shows and parlay that old familiar feeling into some writing sessions for a new album. C’mon, Gwen and Tony!
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