+44 – When Your Heart Stops Beating

April 12th, 2010  |  Published in CD Reviews

]Release Date: November 14th, 2006
Reviewed by Scott Olivenbaum

Sometimes when two people divorce, one of them ends up with a younger, hotter mate. Other times, they end up with someone who could be a doppelganger for their former mate.

When Tom DeLonge and Mark Hoppus broke up and left Blink 182 to form new bands, DeLonge formed Angels & Airwaves (younger and hotter – overblown emo!) while Hoppus started +44. Hoppus grabbed Blink 182’s drummer, Travis Barker, and two other guys who were just happy to be there, and essentially wrote the next Blink album.

The bounce and hooks of Blink are still there, as evidenced by the addictive title track, but lyrically Hoppus is finally showing his age. He took the tongue out of his cheek and wrote a more mature album in the vein of “Adam’s Song”. That isn’t to say it is about death, but it is thoughtful and introspective about life and relationships. “No, It Isn’t” shows some of his best writing to date: “Curse my enemies forever, Let’s slit our wrists and burn down something beautiful, This desperation leaves me overjoyed, With fading lights that lead up past the lives that we destroy.”

Much of the punk bounce of the album lies in the first few tracks. After an instrumental interlude things turn towards more of a rock sound, getting slower and borderline depressing with the remorseful “Weatherman”. By the time you hit the relationship-recap of “Make You Smile” with Hoppus trading vocals with a female playing the part of his ex.

Like most of Blink’s material you can’t help but nod your head along to the music but +44 makes you pause and think, something that rarely happened with the bubblegum of Blink. This is what happens when punks grow up, and that is not so much of a bad thing.

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