Side projects. Anyone who has ever been in a group knows they can be confining. One of the most limiting aspects of a successful group is they become known for a sound or style. Any deviations are, more often than not, dealt with harshly. If the album tanks, the label drops the band. No, members of successful groups are far smarter to follow their muse in separate projects. That way, if it sinks, they still have their "day job" with the successful group.
Blink 182 guitarist Tom DeLonge was feeling the need to lyrically delve a little deeper and more globally. He also wanted to pay tribute to groups that had inspired him along the way, like Husker Du and the Pixies. Rather than drag Blink 182 down that road, DeLonge opted for Box Car Racer with rhythm guitarist David Kennedy (from Punk band Over My Dead Body) and bassist Anthony Celestino.
DeLonge's original concept was "acoustic" oriented but that changed when fellow Blinker, drummer Travis Barker, signed on. While DeLonge wrote all the lyrics, Barker and DeLonge came up with the tunes. The group hit with Rocker "I Feel So."
2002 Box Car Racer
Thanks to DeLonge's distinctive guitar and nasal vocals many tracks on Box Car Racer's self-titled debut don't sound much different than Blink 182. "All Systems Go," "Watch The World" and "And I" are very Blink-ish and do the trick. But there are a couple tracks where Box Car Racer is sonically denser with less snotty attitude than Blink 182, as DeLonge attempts to add some weight to the lyrics. The album's best track "The End With You" has the line "maybe we'll be forgotten, when the world is torn apart." Ya think? Forget the lyrics, it Rocks.
"Box Car Racer" is pretty damn good, but not without a rough spot here and there. "Letters To God" is an acoustic angst-fest with DeLonge spitting out the lyric ala Billy Corgan but to little effect. "Elevator" has "guest vocals" from the one Blink 182 member not in BCR, Mark Hoppus, but the song is still weak. However, "My First Punk Song" is great and lives up to the title.