Sunday, December 30, 2007

Blink Without The 182

After Blink 182 released "Take Off Your Pants And Jacket" the band took a sort of hiatus. Well Tom Delonge took a hiatus and Mark and Travis waited. Tom used this time to spend with his family ... and record a self-titled album with side-project Box Car Racer. This is commonly thought to be the thorn that started the fall of Blink 182. Tom asked Travis Barker to help on drums, however he recorded all the bass-lines himself and hired Anthony Celestino for videos and touring.

It is thought that Mark Hoppus felt slighted by his exclusion from this project, but who knows what the truth is. Tom Delonge used Box Car Racer to record a number of songs he felt did not fit Blink 182's sound. It is in my opinion that if Blink 182 released an album called "Box Car Racer" featuring those songs, I don't think I would have been disappointed.

I would have been slightly taken aback by the mellower sound and matureness, but in the end I would have been impressed with the bands growth. Blink's last album was showing signs of maturity, yet a little split on its overall sound. The band was looking for a change whether they knew it or not. All the same, this is not the case and Tom Delonge's side-project Box Car Racer served its purpose and after some touring is now disbanded. What is the music like you ask? Well ...

The album starts with their first single "I Feel So" whose discordant piano and mechanical intro leads us into the punky and melodic signature riff. The verses are slower that grow into an emotional chorus and hooky guitar work. This would not have felt out of place on a Blink 182 album. In fact the second track "All Systems Go" is a blink-like song that's catchy and melodic with a pop/punk sound ripped from "Take Off Your Pants"

"Tiny Voices" quirky guitar work and moving bridge is not so different then say "Story Of A Lonely Guy" and "Stay Together For The Kids". And the same could be said with "And I" whose dark reflectiveness underlines the pop/punk melody. Throw in the fast and short "My First Punk Song" which is the most punk song Tom and or Blink 182 have ever done. So far a pretty good Blink 182 album.

The real difference can be seen on the slower songs whose sound is more post punk almost alternative. Whether it's the groovy "Cat Like Thief" with the walking melody and memorable guest vocals and Tom's airiness makes for one of mellowest songs here. "Elevator" groove is repetitive, yet catchy and fun. Mark Hoppus guest vocals on this song so he wasn't completely shunned and bringing in Blink 182's dual vocal harmonies that are unmistakable. A fun Song.

My favourite tracks are the more sombre and reflective pieces like "Watch The World"s quietly moving anthem build into a passionate, yet discordant crescendo. Then there is "Sorrow"s desperate pleading both melodic and crushing. "There Is" is an acoustically driven song that is beautifully heartbreaking and reflective. This isn't boy meets girl anymore, this goes deeper with real emotions. It's a powerfully subtle song and my 2nd favourite on this album.

My favourite song is "Letters To God" which is a bare-bones acoustic driven song whose lyrics passionate in their defiant confusion. It's raw sound is fantastic and enhanced when the electric guitars kick and end the song off in a powerfully bleak and moving fashion.

Box Car Racer is a great album full of catchy songs full of emotions performed with conviction. Whether this was the straw that broke Blink 182's back, maybe, but listening to Tom and Mark's dual vocals singing ~Let's forget this, all move on ~ on "Elevator" to me says otherwise.

A year later Blink 182 released a self-titled and final album. That's coming up next.

Have a Happy New Year everyone!


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