“I Miss You”
Songwriters: Mark Hoppus, Tom Delonge, Travis Barker
Original Release Date: November 18, 2003
Pop punk has become something of a tricky genre. Plenty of bands assign themselves the term and some debate has emerged about what exactly defines pop punk. However, I think we can all agree that Blink-182 played a monumental role in defining and evolving the genre over the last twenty years. The latest addition to pop punk is the radio hit band 5 Seconds of Summer, who are known for their catchy melodies and swarms of teenage fangirls, and are currently opening for the boy band One Direction on tour last summer. This week, we’re listening to their cover of one of Blink’s most popular and familiar songs, “I Miss You”.
Blink-182’s self-titled album is a huge departure from the band’s traditional releases and their immature attitude in general. Perhaps that’s why this record is such an essential part of the Blink-182 collection–it marks a turning point in the band’s career (and also preludes the hardest hiatus of my life). “I Miss You” is the third track on that record, and one of the band’s most popular songs ever. The band mix so many elements into this song: soft snares, an upright bass, a gentle string of piano notes, acoustic guitar, and the telltale back-and-forth vocals of Mark and Tom. It’s the exact opposite of what you might expect from a band who primarily employs snarky lyrics and teenage frustration as musical themes. Instead of departing completely from their style, Blink-182 take on a dark romantic love song, weaving in gothic images of morgues and spiders, and perfectly referencing The Nightmare Before Christmas all alongside the familiar chorus lyric, “Don’t waste your time on me.” It’s easily one of the band’s greatest songs and somehow anyone who listens is able to connect to it, which is what makes it such a good one to cover.
5 Seconds of Summer have been stirring up a ton of controversy lately with their cover of “I Miss You”. Are they really a pop punk band? They may have electric guitars and play actual instruments, but most people still consider them to be a poppy boy band. But let’s not forget that Blink-182 has some great songs that walked the line between punk and pop. “All The Small Things” still gets radio play and 5 Seconds of Summer’s “She Looks So Perfect” doesn’t seem all that different to me, musically. It’s clear these kids were inspired by the same punk music all of us grew up with, too. Either way, whether they mimic it or try to play to the pop genre of the decade, they’re going to get hate for what they do. I’m not sure it’s worth the effort of trying to categorize this band. To me, they’re a young pop band influenced by early pop punk, but they can actually play their instruments and they can definitely write a catchy song. And I like that song, so I’m going to listen to it. The end. Now let’s talk about this cover.
The live acoustic cover of “I Miss You” played in the BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge last week was not the greatest. To me, the guys seemed a bit too nervous and shaky on their vocals, which is part of why I think this cover is seeing so much backlash. In no way, shape, or form was it better than the original (sorry, I don’t think anyone could pull that off), but at their age, I’m never going to expect a perfect performance every time, either. However, the band made a recorded version available on Soundcloud a year ago, and that is a version worth talking about. On this version of their “I Miss You” cover, 5 Seconds of Summer tone down their boy band vocals into something soft and serene. Vocalists Calum Hood and Luke Hemmings present a raw honesty that’s very pleasant to listen to. It’s not quite the deep moan of Mark Hoppus or aching croon of Tom Delonge, but that’s not to say it’s without emotion. One thing these boys nail is harmony. Every note is hit with a perfectly sweet chord of vocals that truly showcases their talent. They take this song and put a completely different spin on it, and that’s exactly the kind of creativity I love to see in a cover song.
Whether you love 5SOS or hate them, whether you’re a die hard Blink fan or not, this cover is pretty enjoyable. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying both artists even though they may seem like they’re on different sides of the spectrum, and I like to think that both versions can live happily together in the same music collection.