Box Car Racer (album)

Box Car Racer (album)
Box Car Racer
Studio album by Box Car Racer
Released May 21, 2002 (CD Release), July 2010 (Vinyl)
Recorded December 2001 at Signature Sound, San Diego, California
Larrabee Studios West, Hollywood, California
O'Henry Studios, Burbank, California
Genre Post-hardcore
Length 41:34
Label MCA
Producer Jerry Finn
Singles from Box Car Racer
  1. "I Feel So"
    Released: June 24, 2002
  2. "There Is"
    Released: January 1, 2003

Box Car Racer is the debut and only studio album by American post-hardcore band Box Car Racer. Produced by Jerry Finn, the album was released May 21, 2002 through MCA Records.[1] The band was essentially a side-project of Blink-182 members Tom DeLonge and Travis Barker, with David Kennedy completing the band’s studio lineup; a bassist and friend of Kennedy, Anthony Celestino, toured with the band throughout late 2002.

The album peaked at number twelve on the Billboard 200, and the two singles "I Feel So" and "There Is" charted on the U.S. Modern Rock Tracks. Despite receiving positive reviews on release, this is the last and only album from Box Car Racer after Delonge stated that the band "served it's [sic] purpose and is now defunct."[attribution needed]


Background and recording

Origins, music and concept

Box Car Racer was formed by Blink-182 guitarist Tom DeLonge in late 2001 as a side project with Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker. Blink-182 producer Jerry Finn was called to produce the album. The two wrote all of the material themselves and recruited David Kennedy from Hazen Street to complete the lineup. The band recorded Box Car Racer during the winter of 2001/2002. According to DeLonge in interviews, the album’s recording sessions were difficult for him because of constant back pain. Blink-182 had previously canceled tour dates in fall 2001 due to DeLonge’s back problems.

The album, unlike any previous material DeLonge and Barker had created, follows a central storyline. Box Car Racer follows an unnamed boy during the end of the world. Only two songs deviate from the album’s central storyline, the humorous "My First Punk Song", which pays tribute to early hardcore punk bands that inspired DeLonge, such as Gorilla Biscuits, and "Elevator", which was written in the aftermath of September 11 attacks. Mark Hoppus, the bassist from Blink-182, provided guest vocals on "Elevator" as did Tim Armstrong and Jordan Pundik, of Rancid and New Found Glory respectively, on "Cat Like Thief".[2]

The music of the album is much different than any previous Blink-182 album, closely following a much darker and moody tone. According to DeLonge, he used Box Car Racer as an outfit to experiment with ideas that were not "Blink-friendly".[2][3] Blink-182, in stark contrast to the themes of Box Car Racer, was known for typical sophomoric humor and toilet gags.

It has been suggested that the album’s music was a precursor of things to come for Blink-182, whose next album, Blink-182, also contained much darker and more atmospheric music than any previous studio recordings. After the breakup of Blink-182, Tom DeLonge formed Angels & Airwaves, which he has called "a continuation of Box Car Racer". Angels & Airwaves has played various songs from Box Car Racer during live shows.

Release and reception

Release information

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AbsolutePunk 78% [4]
Allmusic 3/5 stars [5]
Hybrid (mixed) [6]
IGN (positive) [7]
PopMatters (positive) [8]
Slant Magazine 3.5/5 stars [9]
Sputnikmusic 4/5 stars [10]

Box Car Racer was released in May 2002, charting at number 12 on the Billboard 200 and peaking at number 7 on the Top Canadian Albums chart. The first single released from the album was the opening track, "I Feel So", the second "There Is"; the former charted the highest, shooting to number 8 the Modern Rock Tracks chart, the latter only peaking at 32.[1] A DVD titled also titled Box Car Racer was released in November 2002, featuring special behind the scenes footage. A music video was made for each single released from the album. Both of these videos can be found on the Box Car Racer DVD.

The album received positive reviews from various official music publications and critics. A large amount of the praise came from the change in lyrical and musical direction. Channing Freeman of Sputnikmusic concluded that the album was "excellent" and "much better than Angels & Airwaves, but not quite up to the standard of Blink-182."[10] John McKay of IGN admitted that Tom DeLonge and Travis Barker "have more musical integrity than many would give them credit for, especially with the deep subject matter of several of the songs on the disc."[7] In a review of the album’s first single, "I Feel So", Sarah Dempster of NME called it "better than anything by Blink-182."[11]

On the other hand, Lycia Shrum of Hybird Magazine was disappointed to hear "such radio friendly songs […] instead of hard punk."[6] AbsolutePunk called the album "far from perfect", criticizing the random inclusion of "My First Punk Song" in the middle of the album.[3]


Posters for the album can be seen in a shot of the 2004 film Along Came Polly, the ABC television series 8 Simple Rules, and the CBS television series Still Standing. Tom DeLonge and David Kennedy's later band, Angels & Airwaves, recorded a song titled "Letters to God, Part II" for their 2010 album Love. An official vinyl pressing of Box Car Racer took place in July 2010. The album was limited to 2000 copies and were only available at Hot Topic.[12]

Track listing

All songs written and composed by Tom DeLonge and Travis Barker, and arranged by Box Car Racer

Box Car Racer
No. Title Length
1. "I Feel So"   4:29
2. "All Systems Go"   3:15
3. "Watch the World"   3:52
4. "Tiny Voices"   3:28
5. "Cat Like Thief" (feat. Tim Armstrong and Jordan Pundik) 4:20
6. "And I"   3:12
7. "Letters to God"   3:17
8. "My First Punk Song"   1:04
9. "Sorrow"   3:27
10. "There Is"   3:16
11. "The End with You"   3:11
12. "Elevator" (feat. Mark Hoppus) 2:45
13. "Instrumental"   1:58
Total length:


Box Car Racer
  • Produced by Jerry Finn
  • Mixed by Rich Costey
  • Engineered by Joe McGrath
  • Arranged by Box Car Racer
  • Illustrators by Marcos Orozco and Tim Stedman
  • Marcos Orozco and Tim Stedman – Photographers
Additional musicians



Year Chart Position
2002 U.S. Billboard 200 12
Canadian Albums Chart 7
Australian Albums Charts 30
German Albums Charts 89
Irish Albums Chart 49
UK Album Charts 27


Year Single Chart Position
2002 "I Feel So" U.S. Billboard Hot 100 120
U.S. Modern Rock Tracks 8
UK Singles Chart 41
2003 There Is U.S. Modern Rock Tracks 32


Country Certification Recording Industry Association Sales
Canada Gold[13] CRIA 50,000+


  1. ^ a b Boxcar Racer Biography, Music News, Discography @ 100 XR - #1 Rock Web Station!!!
  2. ^ a b San Diego Reader | Bands and Performers: Box Car Racer
  3. ^ a b Box Car Racer - Box Car Racer - Album Review -
  4. ^ "Box Car Racer – Box Car Racer – Album review –". AbsolutePunk. 2009-12-08. Retrieved 2010-05-16. 
  5. ^ O’Neill, Brian. "-allmusic (((Box Car Racer > Review)))". All Music Guide. Retrieved 2010-05-16. 
  6. ^ a b Shrum, Lycia. "HYBIRDMAGAZINE.COM : MUSIC REVIEWS : Box Car Racer – Box Car Racer". Hybird Magazine ( Retrieved 2010-05-16. 
  7. ^ a b McKay, John (2003-01-09). "- Boxcar Racer: Reader Review – Music Feature at IGN". IGN ( Retrieved 2010-05-16. 
  8. ^ "Box Car Racer: Self-titled. – Popmatters music review". Popmatters. 2002-09-05. Retrieved 2010-05-16. 
  9. ^ Scott, Aaron (2002-05-28). "Box Car Racer: Box Car Racer : Music Review : Slant Magazine". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 2010-05-16. 
  10. ^ a b Freeman, Channing (2006-10-07). "Box Car Racer – Box Car Racer Review - Sputnikmusic". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 2010-05-16. 
  11. ^ Dempster, Sarah. "- Box Car Racer: I Feel So – Track Reviews – NME.COM". NME ( Retrieved 2010-05-16. 
  12. ^ Vinyl Collective - Box Car Racer LP @ Hot Topic
  13. ^ "Gold & Platinum Certification – June 2006". Canadian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 2011-03-06. 

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