emo lane: heaven is not here for me anymore.
Dashboard Confessional's new album? I will admit that I didn't have high hopes for it. I didn't expect it to change my life. I didn't expect it to be the Mona Lisa of rock music...
Before I go on, I will also admit that I used to be a huge fan back in my high school years. "So long, so long" ago, Dashboard Confessional was the soundtrack to my life-- detailing my fears, desires, and insecurities. I was obsessive, snatching up every unreleased song I could find online. At a concert, Chris Carrabba (see left) brushed past me and I didn't notice immediately . When my friends told me, I then proceeded to chase after him with a sharpie and the liner notes for The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most. I had carefully placed them in my pocket for an emergency situation such as this. Alas, I was unable to catch up to him...letting him slip away.
I approached this review with hesitation, simply because I was a fan. This led me to ask, "Did something change in me or did something change in the music?"
The answer: a little bit of both. The NY Times recently wrote an article about how young country singers are hurrying to grow old, singing songs worthy of people twice their age. On the opposite side of the ring, "Emo" frontmen sing songs made for people half their age. The whole sub-genre fosters a hesitance to grow up and confront problems, hence it's appeal to tweens and adolescents.
With that said, dear ol' Mr. Carabba hasn't grown up with his fans on Dusk and Summer. But does it even matter? As his old fans grow, a new generation of fans enter. On top of that, some old fans refuse to let go of the voice that helped them survive their first real break-up, unrequited crush, etc.
Even I hesitated to let go. After listening several times to the last album A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar, I felt absolutely nothing. I questioned whether I was becoming some sort of musical elitist...I questioned whether I had become emotionless. I pretended to like it for awhile. I tried to find it's strengths. And in the end of this struggle, the music was the loser. I went back to listen to older recordings and felt nothing aside from a soft touch of nostalgia.
Of course, it's not just me...it's him. He's changed. The obvious change is the move from acoustic guitar to full band. Some would call that selling out, but I think it's the general trend with solo acts. They get big enough...and then they get bands. Unfortunately for Chris, it seems all the sincerity went out the window as the drummer and bass player climbed in.
Lyrically, Carrabba has become less blunt, requiring listeners to dissect the lyrics to find a surprisingly unprofound message. Gone are the days of "I tried on my blue shirt, she told me she liked it, once" and in comes "And I will leave under the cover of summer's kiss upon the sky like the stone face of your lover just before she says goodbye". This is a shame, as the mindlessness of his earlier songs is what gave him the charm to stand out among other emo acts. Now all he has is his signature wail, a wail becoming less original as others try to imitate it.
I suppose this is a review though. And now that it's taken me as long as one of those signature wails to create a dialogue about Mr. Carrabba and his musical integrity, I don't know if I can give you that. It will just be very negative and tainted with the jaded opinions of a former fan. This is no longer my music. So long, so long.
DOWNLOAD: DASHBOARD CONFESSIONAL- So Long, So Long
DOWNLOAD: DASHBOARD CONFESSIONAL- The Secret's In The Telling
PRE-ORDER Dusk and Summer, to be released June 27th
BLOGWATCH: As promised, Stars are Blind delivered the new Janet Jackson single. Check out a show by The Decemberists over at B(oot)log or catch a stunning set by Jose Gonzalez on KCRW over at rbally.
...And don't forget to sign the petition to save network neutrality, blogging, and the internet.