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This review is from: Box Car Racer (Audio CD)
In 2001 Blink released what was their final immature album in 'Take off your pants and jacket'. Then a year later Tom decided that he wanted to write something meaningful, something emotional and something definitely not Blink 182. It is a good job that Tom changed his writing style and wrote this because this may have been the start of the process towards AVA. The emotional and meaningful aspect is evident throughout Blink's final, self-titled album which is a better album than this one. I do think though that up to this point Boxcar racer beats any of the previous Blink material with no problem. Tom has found a more stripped down, indie sound to convey a meaningful attitude. This is far less pop and definitely more rock and there are some heavy parts in this album, like at the end of 'Letters to God'and Tiny voices, especially the chorus!
I think that Tom achieved what he set out to do and that is to change his musical style and write mature songs. This definitely isn't evident in My first punk song though! Tom was trying to criticise and make fun of these punk writers who have no idea about music and all they want to do is make noise and swear! That's what a lot of people would classify as punk, and this is for the posers! I don't really know why he chose to put this song in there because it is totally different from the rest of the album. I guess it was so the Blink fans wouldn't take him too seriously and to break the ice from the sober tone of the rest of the album.
Okay - now I'll do a track by track review:
1. I Feel So - A fantastic beginning to the album. One of the only 2 singles that was released from this album and it is clear that this is an emotional and meaningful song. Tom was trying to hope for the better and was reaching out to the fans in a similar way to AVA in this song. It actually reminds me of Everything's magic.
2. All Systems Go - A song about rebelling and definitely a Blink type tune. The title implies that the listener should be ready for this ride.
3. Watch The World - an awesome, emotional and powerful song. I love the lyrics, 'I watched this field that grew perfection, of all the things you do'. It is about getting through hard times, as a war is happening outside you are stuck there inside in shelter with the person you love the most. Sweet!
4. Tiny Voices - Less meaningful, I don't really understand the concept. If you listen closely you can hear the band having a conversation in the bridge!
5. Cat Like Thief - Another best song on the album. Really emotional and 'Don't leave her' gets me everytime. I really like this song. The verses are done by Tim Armstrong who has a similar Californian accent as Tom, but Tim can't sing and the vocals are mediocre. It makes you appreciate just how powerful Tom's voice is next to Tim's. I especially like the bridge where Armstrong is saying 'Holding, I'm holding, I'm holding on...' and Toom is singing 'Don't leave her' over the top of it - captivating!
6. And I - Another good song. I like the first line of the song, it comes in powerfully. Definitely a song I can relate to, and it seems like it's about being infatuated by a girl but personally doubtful and rejected.
7. Letters To God - a meaningful and emotional song. The title says it all and it implies what it does. I learnt this song on acoustic guitar and I was really chuffed with myself. The acoustic adds to the emotion and it changes mood at the end when it gets heavy with electric guitars.
8. My First Punk Song - This is the crazy song! You'll be laughing cause I was! You can hear Tom screaming F off at the end of the song!
9. Sorrow - A good song about a breakup and moving too fast. I really don't think there's any need for the F word in this song. Tom uses them meaninglessly sometimes, just like in 'It hurts'.
10. There Is - Definitely the best song on the album. A song that I can really relate to, a song about hope and that someone out there who feels the same way about a girl as you do.
11. The End With You - another song about being lost while an apocalypse is happening around you. Imagine being in a shelter while the bombs are dropping. It reminds me of The Police's 'When the world is running down you make the best of what's still around'.
12. Elevator - The final proper (vocals) song. This one features Mark, who is a welcome addition to this song. He is a good touch to add on this song and his vocals convey a mood which is different from Tom's, but which suit this song. It is clear how much more powerful Tom's vocals are when they both sing similar lyrics.
13. Instrumental - Does exactly what it says on the can! A nice end, but I think this should've been included somewhere in the middle, like +44's Interlude. It's quite a repetitive song, but it is pretty good. I think ending with Elevator would've been a better touch to the album as a whole. I think this would've been nice after 'My first punk song'.
14. I Feel So (Video) - The screen size on the computer is a joke. You have the whole screen and it's stuck up in the top corner of the screen! You would be better off checking it out on Youtube. Anyway, this is probably the only fault.
In conclusion, it's a great album and I wish Tom still sung and made music this amazing!