the idea

Artist blackbear singing.


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Kristin Smith

Album Review

Remember the early 2000s when pop punk ruled? Well, 31-year-old Matthew Tyler Musto, known by fans as blackbear, is bringing back those vibes with his latest single, “the idea.” 

This Florida native is musically diverse, delving into genres such as R&B, emo, rap, hip hop and rock. But his latest track, with an assist from Blink 182 drummer Travis Barker, settles comfortably into the pop punk camp and calls to mind sounds from groups such as Simple Plan, Sum 41 and Good Charlotte. 

And the song follows some of the same themes as well, discussing a dysfunctional relationship and its messy mix with drugs and alcohol. 


To his credit, it seems like blackbear realizes that this relationship is dysfunctional and has been built more on ideas and feelings than actual substance: “This ain’t love, don’t know what to call it/ … I see right through you, I see you so clear.” 


A big part of this dysfunctional relationship is how it’s entangled with the singer’s other addictions: “Wake up my demons and my biggest fears/Swear the drugs don’t help me, it’s a problem/ … Three nights in a row doin’ blow.” And how these two related to each other, it seems, out of that addictive space: “Why you only hittin’ me when you’re turnt up.”). But still they’re drawn together, though it seems they’d be far healthier apart (“Death is easy/Life is hard/And living without you is worse for me”). 

The video features two people who drink, smoke and get into heated arguments frequently. And their depressed teenage kids are caught in the middle of it, trying their best to mentally escape. The overall feeling is of depression and hopelessness. 

Meanwhile, a shirtless Travis Barker plays drums in the background and a few women sport crop tops. 


“The idea” doesn’t include any profanity. But it’s got plenty of other issues. An excess of drugs, alcohol and toxic sexual interactions define the entire tune. And if you watch the video, you feel even more deeply the sense of depression and hopelessness.

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Kristin Smith

Kristin Smith joined the Plugged In team in 2017. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. She and her husband, Eddy, love raising their children Judah and Selah. Kristin also has a deep affection for coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan).