Thursday, 6 October 2016
No Apologies for the Infinite Radness 1.1.16 - "I Miss You" (Blink-182)
One of those songs with a meaning that has changed over the years. Back in the winter of 2004, when "I Miss You" played within ten minutes of every time I tuned into MTV2, this was just one more sweet little alternative love song. A good one, sure, for lots of reasons. There's the echoing bass line and the ethereal piano. There's the heart-swelling climb of the cello that sweeps us into the chorus. There's the cribs from Caroline Thompson that underline the objective fact that Halloween is superior to Christmas. And there's the quite gorgeous line from Tom DeLonge about trying to fall asleep by counting the spiderwebs in his otherwise empty bedroom. It's a lovely little song. A triumph of - forgive me - all the small things. Ultimately, though, it's pretty familiar; one more tune about boys who have lost girls.
These days it reads rather differently. DeLonge has left the band twice now, and the song has shifted from two different boys missing their departed lovers to two men missing each other. Two broken relationships become one broken band. And really, it makes so more sense this way. Hoppus chants "I miss you" like he's spinning up a seance, summoning his band mate's shade. DeLonge fades in, guitar barely registering, and sings about the loneliness that suffuses wherever it is that he's ended up. He's missing and missed even whilst he's here; a singer haunting his own band as they mourn his passing.
Michael Stipe said once that what he was going to miss most following the breakup of R.E.M. was singing songs without Mike Mills harmonising beside him. He'd gotten so used to their duets that singing solo simply felt wrong. He could still hear Mills' voice in his head. Maybe that's the point where a band needs to disperse? When your band-mates are lodged so deep in your head that you hear their voice whether they're with you or not, what else is there for you to do together?
Don't waste your time. I can't not hear your voice anyway.
And then he's gone. A self-exorcism performed by singing his own leaving note. Hoppus' singing is no longer enough to keep him anchored. Better to burn out and fade away. Better to be missed when you're still here. Better to let the voice in your head slip into the shadows in the background.
He came back, of course. That's another story, though. One I probably won't tell. The reunion wasn't a disaster, and neither is the band's latest incarnation featuring Matt Skiba (someone I definitely will tell stories involving one day). But none of it is what it once was.
None of it is what I miss.
B-side: I don't know who these young 'uns are but I like that one of them knows how to play the miniature gym-horse.