"Dammit (Growing Up)"
Months ago, before I was anywhere near ready to do this much writing, I posted something silly about my Mark Hoppus feelings and Clem Bastow left a message for me, something like
Does this mean you can write the 30,000 word essay on ‘Dammit’ being the [insert important classic rock anthem] that I’ve always wanted to but can’t seem to write?
And here I am, and here I’ve tried, and the answer is: no, absolutely not, sorry.
Why is “Dammit” perfect? I think maybe it has something to do with G-C-A-F, and a whole lot to do with how intense Mark’s voice was on those few songs where he forced it. It has everything to do with the flawless choice to dampen he f*cked her rather than replace it—in 1993, everyone was underwhelmed with so very special on Radiohead’s “Creep,” remember—turning an already inviting song into something practically democratic.
Everyone says this song is great because it’s universal, because everyone in America has been a white teenage boy who felt jealous and weird about his ex-girlfriend. Maybe they’re right, but I’m not so convinced. I think that adolescence, as it’s used in “Dammit,” is less of a universal equalizer and more of a proxy for something more. Like I said before—
I grow up, I grow up
—“The Love Song of M. Allan Hoppus,” wherein mundane gestures serve as markers for a fear of loss. Not only a loss of The Girl, but a loss of bodily autonomy, a loss of youth, a loss of time, a reminder of mortality. In the video, “growing up” means getting over her. But to me, “growing up” is a process of coming to grips with time. On the wikipedia page for Eliot’s “Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” the poem is described as an exploration of “weariness, regret, embarrassment, longing, emasculation, sexual frustration, sense of decay, and awareness of mortality.” They are the themes that make blink-182 rich, first on “Dammit,” certainly on Enema and maybe most of all on Take Off Your Pants and Jacket.
Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk along the beach.
Do you like my stupid hair? Would you guess that I didn’t know what to wear?
And those are my feelings, in so many words, about The Deal With All This High School Shit, Mark You Are 25 What Are You Even Doing.
Have you ever realized how similar this video is to Mariah Carey’s “Heartbreaker?”