“Dogs Eating Dogs” – Blink-182

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After their 2011 album, Neighborhoods, failed to impress long-time fans, Blink-182 decided to get back to the studio immediately and right their wrongs as fast as possible. After long hours of hard work, the band offered up a 5-song EP titled Dogs Eating Dogs.

Stylistically in the same vein as Neighborhoods, this EP definitely throws a few curveballs. You’ll hear some Angels & Airwaves, some +44, and even a little of Travis Barker’s solo work infused in these five tunes. Album opener “When I Was Young” starts with a pretty cool buildup with some organ behind it. When the song fully kicks in, you might initially shudder at Tom DeLonge’s voice, but this feeling goes away after a while, and before you know it, you’ll be bobbing your head and singing along. The chorus sounds a bit like an improved version of “Up All Night” off of Neighborhoods. The title track, “Dogs Eating Dogs,” features more bearable vocals courtesy of Mark Hoppus (which is nice, especially since Mark didn’t get nearly as many songs as Tom on Blink’s previous full-length). “Disaster” is pretty much just an Angels & Airwaves track. At least that’s what I thought when I first listened to the song. However, this shouldn’t be taken as an insult. “Disaster” is actually one of my personal favorites off the EP, and Mark’s low, almost robotic backup vocals do a lot to reinforce the mood of the song. “Boxing Day” is certainly the standout of Dogs Eating Dogs (Talk about a curveball). The song starts with a very soothing acoustic guitar lick, then goes into an acoustic jam with Travis laying down a poppy R&B beat in the background. The pre-chorus/chorus combination is one of the more catchy ones the band has written in a long time (it’s certainly been stuck in my head). Hardcore fans of Dude Ranch and Enema Of The State may not appreciate this song, but I think Blink does a great job with their more acoustic tunes (“I Miss You” being another prime example). The EP ends with “Pretty Little Girl,” another track heavily influenced by Angels & Airwaves. The chorus has an incredibly heavy dance beat, which I love, but the song features a rap verse by guest artist Yelawolf (of Interscope Records, Blink’s previous record label). The rapping seems incredibly awkward in a Blink song, even at this stage in their career, and I think it’s a terrible way to end the EP.

Despite this one drawback, Dogs Eating Dogs is a very strong effort. Blink recorded these songs together in the same studio, and when you listen to the EP, you can feel the unity of the band is way stronger in this handful tracks than it was in the entire full-length that came before it. You can hear a decent amount of Neighborhoods in these tunes, but this is mostly due to the fact that Dogs Eating Dogs was released just a little over a year after its predecessor, so the band really hasn’t had much time to “grow.” Nevertheless, there are still a few surprises in store for first-time listeners.

-Joe MacPhee

Recommended Jams: Dogs Eating Dogs, Disaster, Boxing Day

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