Buddha- Blink 182

Blink-182_-_Buddha_re-release_cover

Release Year: 1994/1998

Rating: 7.5/10

Many new and younger Blink fans may not be aware of this release, but in a nut shell this is one of their first releases. Back in 1994 they recorded what could be considered their first album, pressed it on about 1000 cassettes, and it became known as Buddha. As much as I would love to say that I have an original copy, I do not. Later on when the band gained popularity, Kung Fu records re-released and remastered the record and released it to a wide audience. For the main part, the sound doesn’t differ from the one found on Cheshire Cat, but there are songs here that have not appeared on any other Blink release that are even better than what was found on their first album in some cases.

About half of the songs found here can also be found on their debut. “Carousel,” “TV,” “Strings,” and “Fentoozler” later appeared on Cheshire Cat and really the different versions sound pretty similar. Granted, there are some slight differences, the biggest being that these versions sound unpolished, but overall it’s the same song. The one song that sounds different is “Fentoozler.” The biggest change is the guitar riff. Here, it’s slowed down quite a bit to the point where it’s unrecognizable. Also, the music sounds disjointed and a bit more messy here. While for the most part the songs are the same, it’s still interesting for any Blink fans to hear early versions of their favorite songs.

Just as with their major debut, the tracks here don’t stand out much. While they’re not terrible, they’re just not that amazing. “Time” is a well meaning song about not letting the clock run your life while bright, ska like guitars play in the background. It’s not a bad song, but the writing isn’t the best here. I do think that if the guys worked on this track a little more, it could’ve been better and maybe even made the cut for their later release. One interesting song is “21 Days.” It begins with this slow, brooding bass line that’s unexpected for the band. Once the guitar comes in with the same tone, it actually sounds like something from a Cure song. But of course after a minute, everything speeds up into that punk rock tone. Here it sounds like they’re trying to be sentimental by singing about getting over a girl, but for some reason it just doesn’t work. But it’s not all bad; there are some songs that are quite good.

“Point of View” may not have the best lyrics, but it has amazing music. It has this melodic and playful guitar riff that still manages to have that punk rock sound, something that the guys would use on their later albums. Really, this is one of the songs that shows off Tom’s skill with a guitar that you didn’t get to hear much on their next release. Another good song and one full of humor is “My Pet Sally.” Due to the tone and the funny nature of the song, it seems like it would’ve been a good fit for their first album. This is another one with great music. It begins with this really catchy drum beat, with a grooving bass line that comes in right after. It seems to be about Tom wanting to date and/or marry his pets. What can you say, Blink humor at its finest.

The most interesting thing about this release is the subject matter of the songs. Many people now complain about the band moving in a more serious or mature direction; they don’t sing about dicks and farts as much as they used to. But it’s this release that shows that they’ve been writing “serious” songs since the early days. These aren’t as heavy as “Adam’s Song” or anything found on their last album, but there’s not as many jokes on these tracks. The closing song “Don’t” has an uptempo fun riff that mixes a country sounding bass line with yet again punk guitars. Mark seems to be talking about losing someone, but the darkness comes out in the last line: “I think about tomorrow/ Another day of sorrow/But I don’t think that I’ll be here.” Yes, it seems to be a reference to suicide. Otherwise, the songs seem to deal with typical teenage issues mostly those involving failed relationships.

Overall, the release gets 7.5/10. Granted, it’s not a super polished Blink record, but for any fan or collector this is a great one to have. Not only does it include songs that have not been found on their further releases, in some cases some of them are better than the ones on their major debut. It also shows that Blink have writing more serious songs since the early years. Even though some of the songs are found on their later album, it’s still interesting to hear them in their early stages. This may not be for the average Blink fan, but it’s worth giving it a listen.

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