"What's My Age Again?" is a song by Blink-182. It was the first single released from the band's third album Enema of the State. The song, written by bassist Mark Hoppus, carries a theme about a protagonist who, despite being an adult, still behaves like a prepubescent child.
Released in November 1999, "What's My Age Again?" became Blink-182’s second hit single, setting a precedent for most of the band’s further career. The song peaked at #2 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart as well as #19 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. In October 2011, NME placed it at number 117 on its list "150 Best Tracks of the Past 15 Years".
The album version continues the guitar outro from the previous track, "Going Away to College", whereas the single version cuts the fadeout and simply opens with the song’s trademark opening notes. The single version appears on the band’s Greatest Hits.
Song information[edit | edit source]
Described by Hoppus as "the track that launched [Enema of the State]", the track originally was titled "Peter Pan Complex" and went through a large amount of changes before it was finally completed. The label MCA forced the name change to which Hoppus was unhappy about. According to Hoppus, a few lines near the end of the song were written the day the final cut of the song was completed: "No one should take themselves so seriously, with many years ahead to fall in line – why would you wish that on me?" The version heard on the demo for Enema of the State, recorded in late 1998, does not have these lines and has a different ending.
Whilst describing the song, guitarist Tom DeLonge has jokingly stated:
The song is about Mark [Hoppus], he's 28 and he still acts like a kid... rolling around on the floor and shit.
Chart success and live history[edit | edit source]
The single was released November 4, 1999, and reached number 2 on the U.S. Modern Rock Tracks chart – the highest Blink-182 had gotten to the top, to that point. It was a major hit single, largely due to its music video, discussed in detail below. As well, the song peaked at number 19 on the U.S. Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.
The song has been a part of each live set since 1999. In several live performances, DeLonge has stated that the song is hard to play, and he needs silence to concentrate, or some variation. This can be heard on the band’s official live album The Mark, Tom and Travis Show (The Enema Strikes Back!) and various singles released by the band. As with most songs performed by the band live, the song is up-tempo and includes many jokes. In the version heard on The Mark, Tom, and Travis Show (The Enema Strikes Back!), Hoppus changes the song’s title to "Where’s My Asian Friend?"
In popular culture[edit | edit source]
"What’s My Age Again?" can be found on the U.S. edition of the compilation album Now That's What I Call Music! 3 (1999). The song is available as downloadable content for the Rock Band series and Guitar Hero World Tour; it is part of the setlist of Rock Band Unplugged. When originally released, the song was performed on Saturday Night Live along with "All the Small Things" on January 8, 2000 on the season 25 episode hosted by Jamie Foxx. In this performance, Mark Hoppus changed the line "But then I turned on the TV" to "But then I turned on NBC" in a nod to the channel that currently airs the long-running sketch show. The song is featured in the film Loser.
During the Honda Civic Tour, Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker with their band +44 covered the song along with "The Rock Show" and "Dammit". A choir version was also sung in the BBC drama All The Small Things in which one part of the lyrics was changed from "nobody likes you when you're 23" to "nobody loves you when you're 23". The song was recently featured in a trailer for the film 17 Again.
Music video[edit | edit source]
The music video (released in 1999) was directed by Marcos Siega and Brandon PeQueen and involves the band running through the streets naked, an act later parodied in the band's 2000 single, "Man Overboard"; they run through television shows, outdoor sidewalks, and picnics; do some dances, and attract a lot of attention. The band members were wearing thongs for the outdoor scenes but were naked for the indoor scenes. It was comically censored throughout the video, except at the end of the video, in which it was shown uncensored. Jim Rome is hosting The Last Word in the video. Porn star Janine Lindemulder is featured in the video. She also appears on the front cover of Enema of the State.
In 2001, vocalist and bassist Mark Hoppus stated that:
[the] scene with the butt shots, when we were running down the street, were actually the only real nude scenes. We wore skin-colored Speedos for most of the scenes and when we were running, I realized how unattractive male genitals are. Everything dangling and such. I didn't think I could be embarrassed easily, but I really was.