blink-182's 10 Best Songs Ranked

With the Mark, Tom and Travis show reunited, we're counting down the juvenile (yet weirdly tender) band's greatest material

Photo: Jack Bridgland

BY Alex HudsonPublished May 4, 2023

"Girls are fuckin' gnarly. Fuckin' girls. Now, we'd be the first to admit, I like kissing them girls. I like boobies. I like boobies."

That's one of many shithead comments a 47-year-old Tom DeLonge made to the crowd at Coachella during his first performance with blink-182 since 2014, showing just how little has changed for these permanently pubescent peddlers of pop-punk and dick jokes.

Revisiting the band's classic catalogue, fans must contend with a seemingly endless stream of juvenilia that seemed edgy at the turn of the millennium but is now often uncomfortable to listen back to — especially considering that these teenage tales of dog-fucking and name-calling were written by guys well into their 20s.

But even though we don't stand behind many of the lyrics in blink-182's catalogue, their best songs tap into something deeper than gross-out edgelord humour. There's a sweetness that authentically exposes the insecurities, vulnerabilities and confusion of being young, and listening to blink-182 often feels like anthropology, a glimpse into the inner workings of the adolescent brain that resonated with teenagers everywhere.

As the reunited classic lineup of DeLonge, Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker hit the road, we're counting down the 10 best songs of their career.

10. "Man Overboard"
The Mark, Tom, and Travis Show (The Enema Strikes Back!) (2000)

The one studio track from the band's 2000 live album is a bittersweet account of lost friendship, inspired by their split from original drummer Scott Raynor. It's a nuanced depiction of the impacts of alcohol abuse, as Hoppus mourns the friendship, singing "So sorry it's over" — but also, somewhat guiltily, concedes that he feels better having severed the connection, admitting "Can't say I miss him" as the song's tightly wound punk tension opens up in its cathartic final passage.

9. "Feeling This"
blink-182 (2003)

The band's self-titled album (which is actually untitled according to the band, although it's simply listed as blink-182 on streaming services) adventurously expands the trio's sonic palette with post-hardcore and new wave influences. Its opening track is the most bonkers single they've ever released, with its flanged drums, barbed wire riffs and yelled verses — but it beautifully pays off in the bubblegum choruses, which sound almost like a carefree Beach Boys bop.

8. "What's My Age Again?"
Enema of the State (1999)

blink-182's biggest hits often aren't their best songs — this list will not include "All the Small Things" or "I Miss You," with apologies to the Weeknd — but "What's My Age Again?" is a notable exception, with its gorgeously chiming arpeggios and self-aware admissions of immaturity. Hoppus's lyrics are nearly too silly to be taken seriously, particularly the bit about prank calling his date's mom, but the payoff is a surprisingly touching reflection about hanging onto youth even as it slips away: "No one should take themselves so seriously / With many years ahead to fall in line / Why would you wish that on me? / I never wanna act my age." Not only is the song great, the streaking video is an iconic piece of turn-of-the-millennium content.

7. "Dysentery Gary"
Enema of the State (1999)

It takes a truly unique talent to turn a lyric this gross into a beautiful song. Essentially an incel anthem targeting a dirtbag who's popular with women (and gives them diarrhea, apparently?), DeLonge's gorgeous fretwork turns this icky sentiment into an aching expression of frustration and longing. The harmonics in the chorus are particularly lovely — even in the final moments of the song, when DeLonge swears off girls and seemingly decides to have sex with his dog instead.

6. "Always"
blink-182 (2003)

You might not have guessed it from their pop-punk songs, but the blink dudes are enormous fans of the Cure. They even got Robert Smith to guest on untitlted's "All of This" — but their best piece of Cure worship was actually another song on that same album. "Always" is full of watery new wave guitars and thrumming basslines, its dance-driven chorus giving a gorgeous goth payoff. The soft-focus synths of the final passage drift off into a daydream haze that's just like heaven.

5. "Reckless Abandon"
Take Off Your Pants and Jacket (2001)

Punk started as the music of counterculture — and blink-182 is what it sounds like when the hot, popular frat boys try their hand at the genre. This hard-charger pop-punk banger is a crass yet misty-eyed account of a misspent youth spent kissing every girl in class and getting so high and drunk you take a shit in the bathtub. There's a wistfulness to these stories of irresponsibility, with a nagging reminder that the party is bound to end soon: "Everybody would waste it all / To have a summer that they could call / A memory that's full of fun / Fucked up when it's all done."

4. "Mutt"
Enema of the State (1999)

"Mutt" was prominently featured in American Pie, with the blink-182 guys making a cameo — a perfect piece of brand alignment, considering the film's mix of boys-will-be-boys misogyny and coming-of-age tenderness. Like so many blink songs, it's full of tittering sex jokes (like the guy who "took the seat off his bike because [of] the way that it felt"). And yet there's also something kind of cute and maybe even a bit sex-positive about this depiction of a young couple who are DTF, with DeLonge's beautifully distorted arpeggios adding to the sweetness. Who among us hasn't paused while shaving to tell ourselves that we are the bomb?

3. "Pathetic"
Dude Ranch (1997)

Travis Barker's virtuosic playing and iconic look helped to make blink-182 superstars — but, truthfully, I prefer the more unbridled punk style of original drummer Scott Raynor. Dude Ranch is the perfect midpoint between the loose, rough-around-edges charm of the band's pre-fame albums and the mall punk polish of the ones that made them famous — and its opening track, "Pathetic," is their mission statement. Hoppus and DeLonge trade rapid-fire lines and seemingly acknowledge the conformity inherent in punk's supposed rebellion: "I think I'm different, but I'm the same and I'm wrong." A breakup song and mea culpa, Hoppus and DeLonge invite listeners into their inner circle as they howl, "This is where I belong."

2. "Going Away to College"
Enema of the State (1999)

The best blink-182 songs are about being young and carefree — but also about trying to cling to that feeling at the onset of adulthood. They never wrote about growing up better than they did on "Going Away to College," which describes saying goodbye to a high school sweetheart. Hoppus fills the songs with small details that perfectly set the scene of conflict and confusion, including the absolutely perfect couplet, "Ditch my lecture to watch the girls play soccer / Is my picture still hanging in her locker?" Even though I'm now much older than the subjects of the song (what do you guys think, should I go to my 20th high school reunion next month?), I still get emotionally invested in this story of a doomed romance.

1. "Dammit"
Dude Ranch (1997)

The band's first-ever hit is a breakup song about something even more poignant than the pain of the initial split: the bittersweet resignation that follows. It's a rapid-fire summary of everything that makes blink-182 amazing: DeLonge's guitar riff is fiery yet emotional, Hoppus sings about the loss of youth, and the lyrics grapple with sexuality in a way that's crass yet speaks to relatable insecurities ("Did you hear he fucked her?"). In a particularly touching moment, Hoppus describes running into his ex and her new boyfriend at a movie, and they share a brief hello before going their separate ways forever. I guess this is growing up.

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