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DLC Week of 7/27: blink-182 and Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs

blink-182 “Aliens Exist” and Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs “Big Rig” demonstrate that, whatever the genre, good songwriting and energetic performances are a winning formula every time. Don’t sleep on this energetic DLC debuting Thursday in the Rock Band Music Store.

The reverberations from blink-182’s multi platinum landmark album Enema of the State are still being felt nearly a quarter-century after its 1999 release – and tracks such as “Aliens Exist” are likely to ensure the band’s legacy remains an evergreen touchstone for kids picking up instruments and rocking out for decades to come. There are plentiful, compelling reasons for blink-182’s longevity and continued relevance with fans of all ages: catchy songwriting, impeccable (and too-often underrated) musicianship, and a sense of levity that is both palpable and infectious. Written by guitarist/vocalist Tom DeLonge and bassist/vocalist Mark Hoppus, over the years “Aliens Exist” has evolved from “deep cut” album track, to die-hard fan-favorite, to taking on even greater significance in recent years due to DeLonge’s lyrics which reflect his earnest fascination with alien life and UFOs (more on that later).

Kicking the track off with trademark aplomb, drummer Travis Barker lays down a tasteful-but-busy, tom-heavy fill/beat that is soon joined by DeLonge’s frenetic, palm-muted guitar distortion and Hoppus’ confident contrapuntal bass-work at the two-second mark. Barely seconds later, DeLonge’s familiar nasal croon rounds out the sonic picture for the first verse. At :20 an aggressive pick-scratch leads the trio to momentarily tossing aside all restraint for a full-band instrumental interlude before returning to the second half of the first stanza. Before even a minute has passed, blink-182 unleashes the first full-throated chorus of “Aliens Exist” and… suffice to say, that this cut *wasn’t* the lead single off the LP speaks volumes to the band’s impressive and undeniable songcraft. Hooky, expressive, anthemic – choose your modifier; whatever nomenclature you doll these sorts of melodies up with, the end-result is the same: a song that takes up space in your brain, rent-free, for quite a while (and don’t fret – you won’t be complaining). After a bridge beginning at 1:40 and ending with a half-repeated refrain , DeLonge embarks on a 20-second guitar-octave vamp over Barker’s furious beat and Hoppus’ bass-line, which maintains the harmonic structure of the track (with some help from a DeLonge guitar overdub towards the end). Afterwards, there’s a new, rhythmically and lyrically intense section that initially seems like it’ll serve as “Aliens Exist”’s coda, except, after a brief pause for air at the 2:40 mark, blink-182 dives back in for a final run-through of the earworm-y (that’s a word, right?) chorus.

As for the song’s lyrics and meaning, you wonder? Upon its initial release, most figured “Aliens Exist” was yet another of many playful blink-182 romps with no particular significance beyond having a good time, but it turns out DeLonge was not, and is not, joking around. “As a hobby, all I ever do is read books and study material on UFOs and government conspiracies,” he said years later. “So I wrote a song about a guy talking about aliens as though he's had a weird experience but nobody believes him… But I'm one of those freaks that really believes that stuff exists. I think if anybody out there does a little bit of research they will find that they side with me.”

Yup, DeLonge is a true believer and in recent years those who may have dismissed his “conspiracy” thoughts, as expressed in compositions like “Aliens Exist,” have since been put on notice. In 2017 the guitarist’s company, To the Stars, played a major role in the release of previously-classified military footage of UFOs, and in 2019 both the U.S. Navy and Department of Defense referenced the “Tom DeLonge videos” when discussing further disclosure of government files relating to alien life.

Enjoy “Aliens Exist” for the stellar playing, the upbeat vibe, the hooky melodic craftsmanship, the deeply sincere fascination with life beyond this planet, or all of the above! Whatever avenue(s) you take, you’ll be glad you gave this banger a listen!

England’s Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs (nearly always shortened by both the band and fans as “Pigs x7”) – Matt Baty on vocals, Sam Grant and Adam Ian Sykes on guitar, bassist John-Michael Joseph Hedley, and Ewan Mackenzie handling drum duties – are purveyors of such convincingly pure and impactful stoner metal that you’d be forgiven for assuming that they hail from the dusty deserts of Southern California, rather than the damp chill of North East England. 

“Big Rig,” from the quintet’s 2023 LP, Land of Sleeper, is a wall of fuzzy guitars and massive drums that serves as an ode to the majesty and potency of that most hallowed rock and roll triptych of guitar, bass, and drums. After a sludgy, flam-heavy “1… 2… 3” from the drums, Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs establishes a punishingly weighty and lumbering intro (listen on headphones if you have the chance) that seemingly sets the tone for the entire composition. But wait! At the 45-second mark, while the decay of the most recent de-tuned power chord slowly fades, Mackenzie lets rip with an up-tempo, assertive drum fill and suddenly we’re dealing with punk urgency, chaotic noise-rock – still somehow filtered through stoner metal vibes. Baty’s guttural vocals are perfectly matched with the walls of amplifiers and lead-foot percussion. The overall effect is nothing short of sublime. At 1:35, the boys drag the proceedings back to the massive, churning riffs and cut-time, sledgehammer menace of the intro. Then, about 15 seconds after the two-minute mark, it’s back to furious energy, resolve, and *speed*. 

Sensing a pattern? Not so fast! At 2:39, just as one might reasonably expect another transition to the doomy, slower aesthetic already established, we instead are treated to a melodic, guitar lead-line that injects a little bit of sunshine into the otherwise dark and murky “Big Rig.” The back-and-forth between loud, punishing riffage and urgent, more brisk material continues throughout the rest of the track – and to great effect. During one of those “fast” breakdowns, at 4:57, Ian Sykes lets loose with a delay-rich, high-energy guitar solo that is all wild string-bends, hammer-ons, and pull-offs amid tendrils of feedback and squeals.

Overall this is a bombastic, colossal wall of sound and changing tempo, but Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs also possesses just a touch of campy silliness that many of their contemporaries often neglect to include in their own performances and compositions when trying to emulate their ‘70s hard rock/metal inspirations. “When you’re making intentionally heavy music, a degree of levity is important,” Adam Ian Sykes has observed. Hear, hear!

“Big Rig” (does it refer to Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs’  backline of full-stacks I wonder?) is a riffs-first triumph with instruments ricocheting and caroming off one another, creating a glorious noise that unabashedly embraces and borrows from metal, psychedelia, punk, and who knows what else! One thing that that’s for certain is you’ll be listening to this rager on repeat for a good long while.

Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs “Big Rig” is included in the Season 32 Pass. Pick it up today and enjoy the full season of DLC! Each are available for $1.99 each.

  • blink-182 – “Aliens Exist”
  • Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs – “Big Rig”

VIDEO: Rock Band 4 DLC Week of 7/27: blink-182 “Aliens Exist” and Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs “Big Rig”



*Please note that this week’s DLC tracks will be available for purchase on Thursday, July 27th.