Guilty Pleasures: Blink 182 – The Mark, Tom, and Travis Show (The Enema Strikes Back)

Looking at my library of music, one thing that may strik you is the variety that you will see. Folk, rock, alt-country, indie, punk…but what you wont see is pop. Apologies to anyone who finds pop pleasing to the ears, i think you need to be seriously concerned that you are not able to think clearly. (No offense, but pop is terrible). But here we are, talking about guilty pleasures, and what is a guilty pleasure if not something you shoudld be embarrassed about when your friends walk in on you listening to it?

Enter Blink 182. As a middle and high school student, they were hot. Enema of the State came out, and produced 3 major radio hits, catapulting a pretty well regarded So-Cal punk band to nation pop stardom. The next logical step is to of course release a live album of a show playing 3/4 of the material from said hit record, and play old stuff, you know, to get the new fans into the fanbase. And i’ll be god damned if it doesn’t work like a charm.

The Mark, Tom, and Travis Show is that live album. As a listener first to Enema of the State, and then Dude Ranch, i was familiar with the material on the record before hearing it, and one thing this band isn;t great at is changing the songs from the record to the live performance. What they are good at is creating fast, razor sharp hooks that catch you like a fish and don’t let go for the entire album. Their playing is furious and fast, especially Barker’s drumming, and the songs are as fun live as on record. Te banter between songs sounds like it comes from the mind of 14 year old boys, consisting of almost exclusively shit, fart, and dick jokes. Is this a complaint? No. Not by a mile. For whatever reason, i laugh everytime i hear them talk about eating poo or crooked wieners. The disc ends with upwards of 20 short tracks of nothing but talking and jokes, which admittedly are skipable after the first couple of listens, but they are funny the first time.

Call it immature, call it poor tatse, i don’t really care . I appreciate that a band can be as silly as they wanna be, and still produce power-chord loaded songs that induce a little bit of happy in me every listen. Singalong hooks, sometimes smart and emotionally charged lyrics, (and sometimes a string of curse words set to music), and singalong choruses make The Mark, Tom, and Travis Show worth a listen. Skip everything after it though, there is nothing worse than aging, jaded pop-punkers.



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