So the anticipation is building up, inside each and everyone of you — the nice fellows of blink182 have decided to open up their souls, and attempt a side project. Tom Delonge along with Travis Barker, wrote all of the material. All the lyrics were written by DeLonge, and rounding out the band with David Kennedy on rhythm guitar and Anthony Celestino on bass. The sound really is something in it’s own — some blink fans may run and hide, some blink fans may consider this something above anything they have ever heard before .. but the truth of the matter is that this album rocks — hard.
Starting out the album with a lengthy intro to the first single, “I Feel So” — the radio/video version you have heard is not how the album version starts. The length of the intro almost leaves the anticipation too much to bear … then the familiar guitar strums, and drum beats take over the speakers, and you know you are in for a treat. The first two tracks on the album, “I Feel So” and “All Systems Go” (along with the later Elevator) — are by far the two most ‘radio friendly’ song’s on the album .. and for people that have only heard these two songs, they most likely assume that this is just a different version of Blink182 … they are very, very wrong. I get the feeling while listening to the first two songs, that these were written originally as possible blink182 songs (anthem pt2 era), but then by changing some of the musically arraignments around found a much better home with the new Box Car material.
Track 3 (Tiny Voices) is where we get the first taste of something far from anything we have ever heard out of Tom Delonge before. The verses are fast, almost spoken — the chorus picks up, little more melodic .. and then the post-chorus chant of “everybody, will be let down” echoes exactly what these ‘tiny voices’ should sound like. Then .. talking. The band just talking about different things before a slow instrumental build up .. and then back into the chorus. I am sure this will please some, and scare many — but this song is NOT one that my girlfriend/sister/mother would want to listen to. This is something I would blast .. I would love, but the poppunk feelings of yesteryear are not present.
Track 4 (There Is) starts will an almost acoustic intro, and this song really is where I first took notice of the incredible lyrics that Tom has put into these songs .. I really feel as though he has reached out, and you can feel the emotion in his voice, and in his lyrics. By far some of the best lyrical work he has ever done (almost make’s you wonder if he will be back to his old playful style for the next blink album).
Track 5 (My First Punk Song) is one of my favorites on the album .. it’s fast as fuck. And it’s very short, but it just sounds so fucking sweet. As the song nears and end .. you will see that the trademark blink humor hasn’t totally left Tom.
Track 6 (Cat Like Thief) is another song that will make you stop, and really take a second look at the words coming from Tom’s mouth — very mature writing .. and the way song is structured, makes you nod along. Intermixed in the song is some spoken dialog (guest vocals by Tim Armstrong of Rancid, and Jordan Pundik of New Found Glory), and some incredible drum beats laid down by the famous Travis Barker.
My least favorite track on this CD is Track 7 (The End With You), by this time in the album I was so impressed with everything they had done .. and I was blown away by how different this album sounded then anything I had heard before (especially from Tom!), but this song just didn’t impress me… that’s okay though, because it leads to a perfect intro into a sure to be hit, “Letters from God” – if you have ever thought about dying, and what it would be like .. this song puts into words exactly what I have felt hundreds of times before.
It was this part of the record that I realized how deep everything was affecting me. The way the guitars and bass pierced in to my chest, combined with the familiar whine in Tom’s voice … it felt like such a perfect combination on CD, and I knew it would be something I would be playing over, and over again. The album in itself is not something you are going to be expecting. The album is harder. The lyrics are deeper. The question that has to be asked is whether or not you like this style of music enough to bare the weight of the full length. There will be some that hate the sound, there will be others that will worship it — either way, you have to respect the direction the band is going .. and respect the talent brought forth from this release.
The album closes with Elevator (the one song Mark Hoppus lends his vocals to) and it is the perfect song to end to .. an almost ballad sound, and it’s great to hear these two voices together again. This is one of my favorite tracks on the album .. just for the soothing story telling, and the almost relaxed sound — Box Car Racer’s debut album finishes with an instrumental track .. that just begs you to hit that repeat button on your stereo, and play the whole thing just one more time.