Analysis

The irony behind blink-182’s pop punk anthem

     I fell in love with the girl at the rock show
     She said “what?” and I told her that I didn’t know
     She’s so cool, I’m gonna sneak in through her window
     Everything’s better when she’s around
     I can’t wait till her parents go out of town
     I fell in love with the girl at the rock show

The Rock Show is iconic. It’s the kind of genre-defining song that you would show a friend who has never heard of pop punk, let alone blink-182.

The song follows a tried-and-true formula for blink-182: It’s less than three minutes long, the melody is easy to pick up on, and the instrumentals are simplistic, save the signature intensity of Travis Barker’s drums. The song’s lyrics also feature an ode to cultural benchmark, Vans Warped Tour.

The story behind the song’s creation is even more ironic than now-40-somethings singing about teen angst (though the band was in their late-20’s when the song dropped).

It all started in during the making of “Take Off Your Pants and Jacket,” blink-182’s landmark 2001 record that went double platinum in the U.S. and Canada.

The band had just finished compiling songs that they deemed fit for the album, but manager Rick DeVoe, according to an A.V. Club article, wasn’t completely satisfied. “I think it’s really cool, but I don’t hear that thing,” DeVoe said. “That Blink-182 good-time, summer-anthem thing.”

Co-vocalists Mark Hoppus and Tom Delonge were infuriated. Hoppus said, “You want a fucking single? I’ll write you the cheesiest, catchiest, throwaway fucking summertime single you’ve ever heard!” (Coincidentally, DeLonge went home to write eventual single “First Date,” but that’s a story for another time). Then, “The Rock Show” was born.

Since it’s release, I cannot tell you where I haven’t heard song. I’ve heard it covered by crappy high school bands, covered by professional bands on tour, and even played in Los Angeles’ Nokia Theatre before Yellowcard’s second-to-last show in March 2017.

The Rock Show holds up because it knows what it is. Blink-182 were at the prime of their songwriting and lyrical abilities, and wrote something that both the critics, casuals, and hardcore fans still respect to this day.

To ramp up the nastalgia, listen to “The Rock Show” below:

 

 

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