Greatest Hits is the first greatest hits album of American rock band Blink-182. It was released on October 31, 2005 by Geffen Records. Greatest Hits was created by Geffen shortly after the band's February 2005 breakup, termed an "indefinite hiatus" by the label. Tensions had risen in the group and guitarist Tom DeLonge desired to take time off. Bassist Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker argued with DeLonge regarding the band's future and their possible next album, and heated exchanges led to DeLonge's exit. In the interim, Hoppus and Barker continued playing together in +44, and DeLonge formed his new outfit Angels & Airwaves.
Greatest Hits peaked at number six on the Billboard 200 album chart. Critics were generally very positive regarding Greatest Hits, viewing it a suitable, reflective compilation of the band's hits. Andy Greenwald of Blender called it a "flawless compilation," covering the group's transition from "nudists to near-geniuses." The compilation was released alongside a DVD of the same name, collecting the band's music videos to that point. Greatest Hits has been certified platinum in Canada and triple platinum in Australia.
Tom DeLonge performing in 2004 with Blink-182. He left the group the following year.
By 2004, Blink-182, consisting of guitarist Tom DeLonge, bassist Mark Hoppus and drummer Travis Barker, had emerged as the biggest pop punk act of the era, releasing the seven-times-multiplatinum Enema of the State (1999) and number one album Take Off Your Pants and Jacket (2001). The band took a brief break in 2002 when DeLonge suffered a herniated disc in his back, during which time he collected several darker musical ideas he felt unsuitable for Blink-182, compiling them into a record, Box Car Racer. The album, recorded with the help of Hazen Street guitarist and longtime friend David Kennedy, was intended as a one-time experimental project but evolved into a full-fledged band with Barker behind the kit. The side project would cause great division between DeLonge and Hoppus, who was not included and felt betrayed. The moody subject matter and music on Box Car Racer edged its way into the Blink sound as well, and the band explored experimentalist elements on their next effort, an eponymous fifth studio album (2003).Geffen Records, after the success of Box Car Racer, offered DeLonge a solo recording deal, which he declined, feeling that it would cast a negative shadow over the band. Nevertheless, the possible deal loomed over the band in addition to growing internal tension.
The trio embarked on a European tour the following fall, during which DeLonge felt increasingly conflicted both about his creative freedom within the group and the toll touring was taking on his family life. "It became [that] we weren't a band, it wasn't the three of us working together for a goal," said Hoppus, "it was like me and Travis having to pull his along, and be like, 'Come on, let's go, let's do this that we all created and that we love.'" DeLonge eventually expressed his desire to take a half-year respite from touring in order to spend more time with family. Hoppus and Barker were dismayed by his decision, which they felt was an overly long break. In addition, DeLonge disliked Barker's new reality television series, Meet the Barkers; he disliked television cameras everywhere, feeling as though his personal privacy was invaded. Following the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, DeLonge agreed to perform at Music for Relief's Concert for South Asia, a benefit show to aid victims. Further arguments ensued during rehearsals, rooted in the band member's increasing paranoia and bitterness toward one another. DeLonge asserted he would only record another album at his home in San Diego, suggesting he mail Pro Tools files back and forth to Hoppus and Barker in Los Angeles. The duo were flexible regarding DeLonge's time off, but became angry when he began deciding "when we can and can't tour, when and how we can record."
He considered his bandmates priorities "mad, mad different," coming to the conclusion that the trio had simply grew apart as they aged, had families, and reached fame. The breakdown in communication led to heated exchanges, resulting in his exit from the group. Manager Rick DeVoe phoned Hoppus and Barker the next day to tell them that DeLonge had quit the band, stating: "As of today, Tom DeLonge is no longer a member of blink-182." DeLonge subsequently changed his telephone number to avoid discussing the matter with Hoppus and Barker. Rumors had already begun to swirl when the band unexpectedly pulled out of the benefit show, and intensified when Dave Navarro of Jane's Addicton posted on his blog that the band had indeed broken up. The band's label, Geffen, announced on February 22, 2005 that Blink-182 would be going on an "indefinite hiatus".
Greatest Hits opens with "Carousel", which was the very first song Hoppus and DeLonge wrote together upon their meeting in August 1992. It has been described by journalist Joe Shooman as "a satisfyingly fast-assed punk song in the vein of NOFX with some very adept dynamic breakdowns." The band's first promotional single, "M+M's", follows, which is based around power chords and Hoppus' lead vocal of a vacation elsewhere. "Dammit", which was the band's first major-label single and also their first radio hit, is themed around maturity and the refrain, "Well I guess this is growing up." The distinctive riff of "Dammit" was created when Hoppus was forced to skip over the missing two strings on an acoustic guitar. It reached number 11 on Billboard'sHot Modern Rock Tracks chart in 1998, and received heavy radio airplay. "Josie" is about "being stoked on a girl." It contains references to the bands Unwritten Law and Dance Hall Crashers ("My girlfriend likes UL and DHC"), two groups the band toured with in the mid-1990s.
Drummer Travis Barker, who joined the group in 1998, performs on the majority of songs on Greatest Hits.
"The Rock Show" details two teenagers meeting a rock concert, and, despite failing grades and disapproving parents, the two remain in love. Hoppus wrote the song based on memories of the San Diego club Soma. "First Date" was inspired by DeLonge and wife Jennifer Jenkins' first date at SeaWorld San Diego. The track was written as a summary of neurotic teen angst and awkwardness. "Stay Together for the Kids" is written from the point of view of a helpless child of divorce. DeLonge wrote the song based on his parents' own divorce. "Feeling This" follows, and "illustrates a scenario of lust, ambivalence and regret," according to journalist Jon Wiederhorn. Its lyrics were intended to represent the lustful side of sex during the verses, the passionate side in the bridge and the romantic side in the chorus.
"I Miss You" was recorded entirely acoustic, and covers vulnerability in relationships. "Down" continues the theme of longing, set to a rain-drenched soundscape. "Always" was inspired by 1980s music in its tone; its lyrics, according to DeLonge, are about "wanting to hold a chick all night long." "Not Now", a B-side from the band's 2003 album and first included on this compilation, features a church organ in its verses and guitar riffs reminiscent of the Descendents; its subject matter continues the theme of complicated miscommunication and fading love. The album closes with "Another Girl, Another Planet", which is a cover of the song by the Only Ones and was used as the title theme for Barker's MTV reality series, Meet the Barkers.
Greatest Hits was first announced on August 29, 2005; it was initially slated to have a live version of "Man Overboard". "Not Now" was selected to be the lead single, but was contested by the management between the former band members at the time. DeLonge's manager and original Blink manager Rick DeVoe supported "Not Now", while Hoppus and Barker's new management, Irving Azoff, lobbied for "Another Girl, Another Planet".
Andy Greenwald of Blender called it a "flawless compilation," covering the group's transition from "nudists to near-geniuses." Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic found the collection ran a little long, but overall deemed it an "intermittently entertaining collection."