Thursday, January 18, 2018

Blink 182 Dude Ranch (1997) Review

Blink 182 "Dude Ranch" 1997 LP Cover
On June 17, 1997 MCA Records would put out a pop punk record that would become one of the biggest hits for a band that only a few of us skater kids seemed to care about. I say that as a skater in Southern California around 1997 when I first discovered Blink 182. The band had put out “Cheshire Cat”, which I loved, and then would come out a couple years later with their major label debut, “Dude Ranch”. This is the record that most people heard first, then dove into the rest of the records that the band had put out. The record was recorded in Encinitas, California between stops on their tour schedule. They were wrapped around the world in terms of touring for a long time, and they were burning out, according to interviews, and notes from the band that came out back then.

Better Production Quality


The first thing that stands out about “Dude Ranch” is the production quality. From the packaging of the record to the structure of the songs, to the overall layout of the tracks, you will have a big jump from what they did on Cargo Music. Their previous record was fine, but it had an independent record feel to it. This record was fuller, and it had a great deal of focus on the bigger rock sound that you’d expect from studio recordings. The production quality is one of the best things about “Dude Ranch” because Mark Trombino was so adamant about keeping music focused, and didn’t laugh at the jokes and nonsense that the band was throwing at them.

Nonstop Touring


The band would tour so heavily that there was no chance that this record wasn’t going to be a success. I heard singles on the radio, saw videos on MTV, and saw advertising in skateboarding magazines that I subscribed to. Blink 182, Mxpx, and Homegrown would also tour extensively as well. This was the time for the band to shine and pop punk was enjoying a huge jump in success around the world. The touring schedule was frenetic, and the band would eventually get a ton of support for MCA, and they would bring about a whole new world of antics to touring, playing punk, and more.

The Sound of Youth


The lyrics on “Dude Ranch” are all interesting to me. They speak to a time when I was young, full of angst, and just didn’t understand why I couldn’t get girls. The songs spoke to me on a personal level, and now as an older person, I can say that the lyrics still hold true on some of the tracks. They speak of breaking up, and loving life, as well as having a hard time with various things, while focusing on topics that are just life in general for the most part. The tracking is good, fast paced, easy to remember punk rock, with splits of rage here and there. Some of the stand out tracks for me include, “Dammit”, “Waggy”, “Untitled”, “Apple Shampoo”, “Emo”, “Josie”, “A New Hope”, and “Voyuer”. All of these tracks have something to say, and are interesting beyond the scope of just being part of the punk rock kaleidoscope that they present.

I Give Blink 182 “Dude Ranch” a 4 out of 5.


Surprise, surprise, another positive review eh? Well, the band’s work has definitely changed over time, but this is the one album that I remember having a cassette of and wearing it out. I also got in trouble for listening to punk rock when I was a young person, and well, this is one of those records that I would purchase three or four times over. I would even sell my limited edition original vinyl recording of it in Moscow, Idaho, and that was the end of that. It’s something that I will never really recover from, but the tracks are engraved in my mind and on my stereo. “Dude Ranch” is one of the top punk records to ever come out, regardless of what anyone says, and it’s well deserving of a 4 out of 5 if you ask me.

You can purchase Blink 182 “Dude Ranch” by clicking here, and picking up the original recording or the re-release, whichever you prefer. I would suggest the VINYL LP, personally.

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