Blink-155 is a podcast unpacking the oeuvre of pop-punk’s original enfants terribles, Blink-182, but, as co-host Josiah Hughes tells The A.V. Club, it’s become “less of a project about Blink-182 and more one about understanding and elevating ‘low culture.’” Their latest project makes that abundantly clear.
What began as a joke on a Twitch stream has since evolved into a 65-track compilation and thousands of dollars benefitting Black Lives Matter. The hook? Hinder, the Oklahoma rock band best known for 2005's Extreme Behavior and the chart-topping single “Lips Of An Angel.” Fans of the podcast began sending in covers of the song after Hughes and co-host Sam Sutherland recalled it on a stream, and the hosts embraced the idea, encouraging more covers and announcing a listening party that would double as a fundraiser. “We thought we might bring in a few hundred dollars,” Hughes says, “but we raised so much money so quickly that there’s a moment on the stream where I had to leave the room and find some proof of identity documents because PayPal got overwhelmed with donations.”
Cover songs are an integral part of the podcast. “Every week on Blink-155, I dig to the very bottom of YouTube, Bandcamp and Soundcloud to find as many different covers and interpretations of the song as possible,” he says. “It helps us understand the song, and sometimes one that we didn’t like becomes a new favorite or vice versa.” Hughes credits that focus, as well as the podcast’s previous crowd-sourced compilations, for making the fundraiser so uniquely successful.
“I had always known that Hinder’s ‘Lips Of An Angel’ was an untouchable entry in the American rock canon, and I think our fans have become accustomed to this way of interpreting music from listening to the show for so many episodes,” he says. “So it was just a perfect combination of our community knowing how to interpret music in this way and Hinder’s song being an all-time absolute banger.”
And he’s not kidding about “Lips Of An Angel.” Even Hinder drummer Cody Hansen, who appeared on both the livestream and in this week’s episode, wasn’t sure if the whole thing was a bit. “He seems to think some of us are making fun of the song, and while there are certainly dozens of inside jokes littered throughout the compilation I don’t think we’re making fun of the song,” Hughes says. “If anything we’re making fun of self-serious music snobs who don’t realize that ‘Lips Of An Angel’ by Hinder is just as worthy of critique and celebration as their own favorites.”
The description for the compilation takes this idea further:
Yes, there’s something funny about Hinder’s “Lips Of An Angel,” the slow-dance from your sweaty palmed prom that has since been relegated to a karaoke deep cut or an emotive power ballad that cuts through the sound of creaky shopping carts on the tinny speakers of your local Shoppers Drug Mart. But things to mock about “Lips Of An Angel” — that it’s overwrought, that it’s melodramatic, that it has a key change with a Slash-lite guitar solo — are no different than the things that can be mocked in any other area of human expression. Hinder’s “Lips Of An Angel” is the sound of earnest yearning, the lament of a man whose current bliss is threatened by the vague notion that things might be better if his life were different. It’s the sound, then, of fallible human nature channelled into pure artistic expression.
Just listen to the compilation and the reverence bleeds through. There’s punk, hardcore, pop, ska, folk, and country renditions of the song, as well as killer versions inspired by one-of-a-kind artists like Owen Pallett, Pedro The Lion, and Mount Eerie. One reimagines “Lips Of An Angel” in the style of Radiohead’s “Fitter Happier.”
And Hinder approves. “A huge thank you to @blink155pod for taking a song we wrote in 1995 (a love song for the ages, clearly) and using it as a catalyst to raise $5,000+ for a good cause,” the band wrote on Twitter. “Check them out and support the punk and hardcore kids doin great things for the world.”
The compilation’s artwork comes from Kyle Mabson, while Dan Birch had the herculean task of mastering the whole thing. Listen to it below.
Hughes says the money raised during the livestream is being donated to Blacklivesmatter.ca, and that all of the money from the compilation and any other Bandcamp sales will benefit a similar organization.
“Being involved in an underground subculture is totally stupid if you’re still just propping up the status quo,” Hughes tells us. “It’s been incredibly heartening and satisfying to use our idiotic momentum to try and support a good cause, and everyone else should do the same. It’s really fun! You might even end up becoming friends with a noughties post-grunge glam rock band.”
Looking for ways to advocate for Black lives? Check out this list of resources by our sister site Lifehacker for ways to get involved.
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