by Jesse Hudgins
2002 may have been the year that I was born, but it was also the year that the album of a lifetime was released. In May of 2002, Box Car Racer was released, and it came out of nowhere, as the musicians who played on this album were Travis Barker and Tom DeLonge of Blink-182. They recruited two other members, David Kennedy and Anthony Celestino, to join them.
The album came to fruition after Blink-182 was on hiatus after the touring for Take Off Your Pants And Jacket. In that time, Tom decided that he wanted to write music akin to Fugazi, and he challenged himself by writing outside the style of Blink-182. In The Pursuit of Tone, a documentary Tom produced about his evolution as a musician, he explained that there were “cooler sounds” he wanted to explore. To him, this was about proving to himself and the world that he could progress and deepen his artistry in the process.
Even when listening to this album now, you can tell a lot of heart and soul was put into this record. Each song is unique in its own special way; they all have their own identity that amass to form an aggressive, thought provoking, political, and emotional album. It’s a rollercoaster in the best way. There are no specific highlight tracks to pick out as each track is a highlight itself, but of course you can have favorites on the album. Personally, my favorites include “Watch the World,” “There Is,” and “Letters to God.” Again, that doesn’t discount any other track on this album because tracks like “I Feel So,” “Cat Like Thief,” and “And I” are excellent. Each song holds its own layers of emotion and musicality that are easy to pick up on with every new listen. Each listen also absolutely constitutes another listen as well.
With the 20th anniversary of the album in the upcoming year, one could hope that they release some previously unreleased tracks. Or, an even better option: a new album! That idea has been hinted at for years by DeLonge and Barker. For now, what we have is a heart filled masterpiece of an album that will be enjoyed for years to come. If you haven’t checked it out, go and give it a listen.
Be sure to listen to Alternage, every Friday from 8-10pm, on FM89!