What's My Age Again?

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"What's My Age Again?"
Single by Blink-182
from the album Enema of the State
Released November 4, 1999
Format
Recorded January–March 1999[1]
Signature Sound
(San Diego, California)
Genre Pop punk
Length 2:26
Label MCA
Writer(s)
Producer(s) Jerry Finn
Blink-182 singles chronology
"Josie (Everything's Gonna Be Fine)"
(1998)
"What's My Age Again?"
(1999)
"All the Small Things"
(2000)

"What's My Age Again?" is a song by American rock band Blink-182, released on November 4, 1999 as the lead single from the group's third studio album, Enema of the State (1999). The song, written primarily by bassist Mark Hoppus, lyrically revolves around the onset of age and maturity, and the lack of implementing changes in behavior. A mid-tempo pop punk song, Hoppus wrote the song based on personal experience. Originally titled "Peter Pan Complex", an allusion to the pop-psychology concept, MCA Records forced the band to retitle the song, as they found it too obscure a reference. It was the first Blink-182 single to feature drummer Travis Barker.

First serviced to radio in April 1999, "What's My Age Again?" became Blink-182’s second hit single, peaking at number two on Billboard '​s Modern Rock Tracks chart for ten weeks. The song hit number three in Italy and number 17 in the United Kingdom. Primarily an airplay hit, the song was the band's first to crossover to pop radio, hitting number 58 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song's music video famously features the band streaking on the streets of Los Angeles; it received heavy rotation on MTV and other music video channels. As a result of this exposure, it gave the group an unwanted reputation for nudity, which would lead them to take more creative control of their image later in their career.

The song received positive reviews and has been called a classic pop punk track; NME placed it at number 117 on its list "150 Best Tracks of the Past 15 Years" in 2012.[2]

Background and composition[edit]

Bassist Mark Hoppus composed the song based on personal experience.

"What's My Age Again?" was labeled by bassist Mark Hoppus as "the track that launched [Enema of the State]." The track originally was titled "Peter Pan Complex" and went through a large number of changes before it was finally completed.[3] The label felt people wouldn't understand the reference and the band felt acrimonious after renaming it.[4] According to Hoppus, a few lines near the end of the song were written the day the final cut of the song was completed.[3] Band management and label executives saw a strong single in "What's My Age Again?" although DeLonge felt otherwise: "I didn't understand it, because up to that point, we hadn't had a big single."[4]

"What's My Age Again?" was written by bassist Mark Hoppus and guitarist Tom DeLonge, sung by Hoppus and produced by Jerry Finn.[5] The song is two minutes and twenty-eight seconds long. The song is composed in the key of F-sharp major and is set in time signature of common time with a driving tempo of 80 beats per minute. Hoppus' vocal range spans from C3 to F4.[6] The song has lyrics which Hoppus describe as autobiographical "about being in my 20s and acting like a jackass teenager." The narrator describes various immature experiences, such as turning on the television as he receives fellatio from his female companion, and later making a prank call to her mother.[7][8] The opening bass line is similar to that from the Pixies' "Debaser".[9]

Reception[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

Billboard deemed the song a "peppy punk anthem,"[7] and Spin called it an "ideal tonic for back-to-school nausea."[10] Kerrang! called the song "ridiculously infectious."[11]

In the United Kingdom, critics were less onboard: the New Musical Express (NME) derided the song as "more mindless, punk-pop guitar thrashing from the world's current favorite American brats [...] on the plus side, the song — much like Blink-182's career, we hope — only lasts for two-and-a-half minutes."[12]

Later reviews have subsequently been positive. Jon Blisten of Beats Per Minute deemed it one of the record's "finest songs," calling it a "twisted, self-depreciating examination of man-children."[13] In 2014, Billboard called it "the quintessential Blink manifesto — the story of a twenty-something who still acts like a child."[14]

Commercial reception[edit]

Commercially, "What's My Age Again?" became one of the band's best-performing singles. The song was first issued to radio in April 1999, premiering on Los Angeles-based radio station KROQ coincidentally when the band were mixing the final recorded song on the album, "The Party Song".[15] The song gathered mass airplay over the course of the summer of 1999.[12] The song did best on Billboard '​s Modern Rock Tracks chart; the song first entered the chart during the week of May 8, where it debuted at number 21.[16] It first hit the top five during the week of June 5,[17] and hit number two on July 24,[18] where it remained for ten weeks behind the Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Scar Tissue".[19] The song crossed over to mainstream radio during the summer, where it debuted at number 71 on the Billboard Hot 100 on July 17.[20] It later peaked at number 58 in the issue dated October 23.[21] The song had previously peaked at number 51 on the Hot 100 Airplay chart on September 11.[22] The song charted within the top 20 in the United Kingdom, peaking highest at number 17 on the UK Singles Chart.[12]

Clips of the single, as well as 30-second excerpts from album tracks "Aliens Exist" and "Going Away to College", were available online via the early digital distributor a2b Music in the weeks preceding the album's release.[23]

Music video[edit]

The music video infamously depicted the band running "naked" through the streets of Los Angeles.[24][25]

The music video for "What's My Age Again?", directed by Marcos Siega, features the band running in the nude through the streets of Los Angeles, as well as through commercials and daily news programs.[26] The trio only slow down when they spot porn star Janine Lindemulder (the model featured on the cover of Enema of the State).[25] The trio wore flesh-colored Speedos for most of the scenes.[27] "Watching people's faces in the cars as they drove past us was the best," Hoppus told Rolling Stone. "They almost got into accidents. They just saw these ugly blobs running down the street."[28] The video first began receiving airplay in early May, debuting on MTV, MTV2 and The Box.[29] The video was MTV's second-most played video for the week ending August 1,[30] and remained a popular video on the channel for over two years.[31] The video was nominated for Best Alternative Video at the 2000 MVPA Awards,[32] but lost to Foo Fighters' "Learn to Fly".[33]

The band referenced the clip at the 1999 Billboard Awards, which opened with a clip of the band streaking through Las Vegas.[34] The trio also appeared on Total Request Live (TRL) in the nude as well.[35] The video gave the band a reputation for nudity that plagued their career,[26] leading many critics to pigeonhole them as a joke act.[8] "It became something of an albatross as band members grew up," wrote Richard Harrington of The Washington Post.[35] "You know, when we were filming the video for "What's My Age Again?" the whole naked thing was only funny for like 10 minutes. Then, I was the guy standing naked on the side of the street Los Angeles with cars driving by me giving me the finger and shit. It’s funny watching the video now, but at the time, it stopped being funny ten minutes in, and it definitely wasn’t funny three days into it," recalled Tom DeLonge.[26]

This reputation would lead the band to take control of their marketing and image, as DeLonge later commented in 2014:

Legacy[edit]

By the late 2000s, club promoters in the United Kingdom created nights based around lasting appreciation of the pop punk genre, including one named after "What's My Age Again?", described as a night celebrating "pop-punk, youthful abandon and teenage riot".[37] Rolling Stone '​s Nicole Frehsée wrote that, "For a new generation of emo fans and bands, Blink's irreverent, upbeat take on punk rock with hits like "What's My Age Again?" and "All the Small Things" was hugely influential."[38]

The Hollywood Reporter '​s Mischa Pearlman, in a review a 2013 concert by the group, wrote that the song "visibly infects every member of the audience. Because it's a song that recalls the reckless abandon of youth, and the carelessness of growing up."[39] Although the magazine gave the song a scathing review upon its initial release,[12] NME placed it at number 117 on its list "150 Best Tracks of the Past 15 Years" nearly thirteen years later, writing, "Few songs capture the urge of wanting to act stupid and be immature as well as this 2000 single does. [...] This is everything pop punk does well. Its guitar riffs seem to have been soaked in Relentless and its chorus makes you want to jump around the room. It's been imitated thousands of times since, but nothing's come close to this..."[40]

Formats and track listing[edit]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Enema of the State.[41]

Locations
Personnel
Blink-182
Additional musicians
Production

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1999) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA)[42] 42
Canada (RPM) 42
Canada Alternative 30 (RPM) 18
France (SNEP)[43] 93
Germany (Media Control Charts)[44] 80
Italy (FIMI)[45] 4
Netherlands (Mega Top 100)[46] 90
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[47] 43
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[48] 44
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[49] 52
United Kingdom (The Official Charts Company) 17
US Billboard Hot 100[50] 58
US Adult Top 40 (Billboard)[51] 36
US Alternative Songs (Billboard)[52] 2
US Mainstream Top 40 (Billboard)[53] 28

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Enema of the State (CD Promo) (liner notes). Blink-182. US: MCA Records. 1999. UMD-9991. The CD promo, distributed to radio stations, includes a press kit and an info sheet that reads: "Enema of the State was recorded from January to March 1999 in the band's hometown of San Diego at Signature Sound." 
  2. ^ "150 Best Tracks Of The Past 15 Years". Nme.Com. Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Hoppus, Mark (2000). Blink-182: The Mark Tom and Travis Show 2000 Official Program. MCA Records. p. 14. 
  4. ^ a b Browne, Nichola (November 20, 2005). "Punk Rock! Nudity! Filthy Sex! Tom DeLonge Looks Back On Blink-182's Greatest Moments". Kerrang! (London: Bauer Media Group) (1083). ISSN 0262-6624. 
  5. ^ Enema of the State liner notes. MCA Records (1999)
  6. ^ "Blink-182 What's My Age Again? – Digital Sheet Music". Music Notes. EMI Music Publishing. Retrieved April 20, 2011. 
  7. ^ a b Bell, Carrie (August 14, 1999). "The Modern Age" 111 (33). Billboard. p. 99. Retrieved June 1, 2014. 
  8. ^ a b Willman, Chris (February 25, 2000). "Nude Sensation". Entertainment Weekly (New York City: Time Inc.) (527). ISSN 1049-0434. Archived from the original on January 26, 2013. Retrieved January 7, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Record Club: Revisiting Blink-182′s ‘Enema of the State’". Wondering Sound. October 14, 2014. Retrieved December 12, 2014. 
  10. ^ Rotter, Jeffery (November 1999). Naughty by Nature. Spin. Retrieved September 7, 2012. 
  11. ^ Shooman 2010, p. 68.
  12. ^ a b c d Shooman 2010, p. 69.
  13. ^ "Second Look: Blink-182, Enema of the State". Beats Per Minute. August 17, 2011. Retrieved July 28, 2013. 
  14. ^ Payne, Chris (May 30, 2014). "Blink-182's 'Enema of the State' at 15: Classic Track-by-Track Album Review". Billboard (Prometheus Global Media). Retrieved May 30, 2014. 
  15. ^ Hoppus, Mark (2000). Blink-182: The Mark Tom and Travis Show 2000 Official Program. MCA Records. p. 17. 
  16. ^ "Billboard Modern Rock Tracks - May 8, 1999" 111 (19). Billboard. May 8, 1999. p. 67. Retrieved June 1, 2014. 
  17. ^ "Billboard Modern Rock Tracks - June 5, 1999" 111 (23). Billboard. June 5, 1999. p. 121. Retrieved June 1, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Billboard Modern Rock Tracks - July 24, 1999" 111 (30). Billboard. July 24, 1999. p. 79. Retrieved June 1, 2014. 
  19. ^ "Billboard Modern Rock Tracks - October 2, 1999" 111 (40). Billboard. July 24, 1999. p. 109. Retrieved June 1, 2014. 
  20. ^ "Billboard Hot 100 - July 17, 1999" 112 (29). Billboard. July 17, 1999. p. 79. Retrieved June 1, 2014. 
  21. ^ "Billboard Hot 100 - October 23, 1999" 112 (29). Billboard. October 23, 1999. p. 79. Retrieved June 1, 2014. 
  22. ^ "Billboard Hot 100 Airplay - September 11, 1999" 111 (43). Billboard. September 11, 1999. p. 104. Retrieved June 1, 2014. 
  23. ^ "'Net Briefs" 58 (617). CMJ New Music Report. May 10, 1999. p. 23. Retrieved June 1, 2014. 
  24. ^ Hoppus, 2001. p. 97
  25. ^ a b Edwards, Gavins (August 3, 2000). "The Half Naked Truth About Blink-182". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 18, 2012. 
  26. ^ a b c Hoppus 2001, p. 97.
  27. ^ "Interview with Mark Hoppus of Blink-182". NY Rock. Retrieved March 30, 2009. 
  28. ^ Anthony Bozza (July 8, 1999). "Random Notes". Rolling Stone (New York City: Wenner Media LLC) (816/817): 20. ISSN 0035-791X. 
  29. ^ "Billboard Video Monitor For Week Ending May 9, 1999" 111 (21). Billboard. May 22, 1999. p. 92. Retrieved June 1, 2014. 
  30. ^ "Billboard Video Monitor For Week Ending August 1, 1999" 111 (33). Billboard. August 14, 1999. p. 101. Retrieved June 1, 2014. 
  31. ^ "Billboard Video Monitor For Week Ending June 17, 2001" 113 (26). Billboard. June 30, 1999. p. 68. Retrieved June 1, 2014. 
  32. ^ Carla Hay (April 1, 2000). "With Eight, Lauryn Hill Tops Nominees for MVPA Awards" 112 (14). Billboard. p. 102. Retrieved June 1, 2014. 
  33. ^ Sarah Woodward (April 14, 2000). "MVPA Honors Music Video Community At Awards Show". Shoot. Retrieved June 1, 2014. 
  34. ^ Shooman 2010, p. 71.
  35. ^ a b Richard Harrington (June 11, 2004). "Seriously, Blink-182 Is Growing Up". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 25, 2014. 
  36. ^ Laura Leebove (October 17, 2014). "Record Club: How ‘Enema of the State’ Changed Tom Delonge’s Life". Wondering Sound. Retrieved December 12, 2014. 
  37. ^ Sian Rowe (August 20, 2011). "Say It Ain't So! Club nights reanimate the pop-punk sound of Blink-182". The Guardian. Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  38. ^ Frehsée, Nicole (March 5, 2009). "Pop-Punk Kings Blink-182: Reunited and Ready to Party Like It's 1999". Rolling Stone (New York City: Wenner Media LLC) (1073): 20. ISSN 0035-791X. Retrieved January 11, 2013. 
  39. ^ Mischa Pearlman (September 12, 2013). "What's Their Age Again? Blink-182's Songs Prove Timeless at Brooklyn Charity Gig". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 12, 2014. 
  40. ^ "150 Best Tracks Of The Past 15 Years". NME. Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  41. ^ Enema of the State (liner notes). Blink-182. US: MCA. 1999. 11950. 
  42. ^ Dutch peak

References[edit]

External links[edit]