Review Summary: If God recorded an acoustic album, it would sound something like this.Dashboard Confessional
The name that will make scene girls belch out ear blistering screams. Led by Mr. Sideburns himself, Chris Carrabba. Started out as a side project after leaving Further Seems Forever in 1999 after just one album. Dashboard Confessional debut with The Swiss Army Romance on Drive Thru records in the year 2000. The full out acoustic set with emotion felt vocals laced with powerful lyrics on heartbreak and love/hate relationships set off a cord with seemingly billions of hardcore devoted fans (When I say hardcore, I think many of them would take a bullet for Mr. Carrabba to be honest). Although the debut had the elements of a cult like status, it wasn't until the release of this priceless gem, released in 2001 on Vagrant records, where submitted Dashboard Confessional to cult superstardom.
Chris Carrabba must be the most heartbroken man alive! Because these are some of the most sensitive girl based angst-like lyrics ever written. But again the lyrics is what drives the album to be what it is. It"s a given tell that it was written directly from the heart. Making each track even more special. With acoustic guitars sounding a bit more complicated than the standard chord structure, by playing open drop-d tuned, keeping it sounding fresh. Backed by a soon to be permanent band on most songs, it adds much needed depth from Dashboards debut. The song structures on each song are similar, yet different at the same time. Carefully crafted highly emotional vocals are Chris Carrabba, by the way sounding his best on here. Add that up and you have the most emotionally stricken live shows quite possibly ever. To anyone who has seen their MTV Unplugged special (kinda redundant, since at the time, Dashboard was already unplugged), its hard to even hear Carrabba as fans (of about maybe 300 or so) overtake lead vocals, causing Carrabba to back off at the end of The Best Deceptions and let the crowd do their thing.
On "This Bitter Pill," it has to be the most brutal song on here. The lyrics of basically a vent to his woman problems. It seems he don"t have the cahonas to actually talk to his significant other, so he just builds it up and lets it out by the tip of the pen. Its odd sounding, maybe an acquired taste, but it can grab you by the nipple clamps and wont let go. Makes to the perfect ending, as Carrabba sounds like a dying giraffe (excuse the South Park reference). To me that"s a good thing. This song is purely emotional. And the ending is what makes the song so acquired, because Chris goes way
off key, sometimes making even Chuck Norris cringe. It fits as the album closer, such as "The Brilliant Dance" fits as the perfect opener. It opens with just Carrabba strumming all he's got with just his acoustic. Slowly the song progresses to a filler guitar backing him as he hits higher notes. Then a quiet layered piano keys sound. All this slowly progresses to a truly epic track. I just love as Carrabba hits lines such as "your measuring your minutes, by a clock that"s blinking 8's." Such one lined metaphors are found throughout. Such as the mentioned track This Bitter Pill, ""The bottle is waiting the cap is twisted begging to be used and so are you." And in "Saints and Sailors", as the peak of the chorus recites "You smile like a saint, but you curse like a sailor" taking into interpretation that his woman is covering up an unhappy life to her friends. The song is more upbeat, taking its fully backed by "The Chris Carrabba Back Up Band" (its was a working title before they kept the name Dashboard Confessional). Its short, sweet, and basically no breaks from the vocals, as its mostly filled the song.
"The Best Deceptions" is the first song I've heard from here. The local radio station here in Detroit picked it up maybe a year before any others picked up "Screaming Infidelities." I immediately fell in love with it. It was different from the standard New Found Glory, Staind, and Limp Bizkit the station were playing at the time. Which in return purchased the disc and enjoyed every second of it. The song has an interesting slow opening. Showcasing Carrabba's unique acoustic abilities, but the song is actually quite simple to play. Also vocal abilities switching from a soft tempo, to a high pitched yelp towards the chorus. Love the outro, as it also showcases the lyrical abilities also.
Originally Posted by The Best Deceptions's outro
I'm waiting for blood to flow to my fingers,
I'll be all right when my hands get warm.
Ignoring the phone, I'd rather say nothing.
I'd rather you'd never heard my voice.
You're calling too late,
too late to be gracious
and you do not warrant long good-byes.
You're calling too late.
You just cannot go to a Dashboard Confessional concert without hearing the crowd pleasing self titled song "The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most." Its another one of those songs where you just feel what Carrabba's feeling. Quite up tempo despite only being led by 2 acoustic guitars. Its quiet soft vocals displayed for the first 2 verse/chorus', it is subtly brutal yet beautifully written at the same time. Once after the second chorus hits there is a slight pause. For a first listen, sounds like the song is through. Then Carrabba jumps in with the third mention of the chorus with so much power among his voice. Its highly recommended if you want a feel how the album feels like.
"Screaming Infidelities" is the song that gained attention out of nowhere. Radio picked up on it about a year after the album was released and soon there after a video formed in support of the sudden attention. It gained steady air play on MTV2, provoking the album to gold status while never cracking the Billboard Top 100. Soon there after Dashboard Confessional won the second annual MTV2 award, following Mudvayne a year prior. The song deserved every bit of attention it received. Its pretty much what I've mention before, but the formula doesn't get old like one might think. The album sounds fresh all the way through.
Why does this album deserve a classic rating" It does what it intends to do. It promotes sing-a-longs not just at their infectious live concerts, but when your alone in the shower or when your in a car with friends. Its short, but it provides not an ounce of filler, which is rare for any album to accomplish. Its easy on the ears. The emotion runs high and is felt throughout. That don't mean Chris Carrabba is the most talented musician/lyricist/vocalist alive, or that the band is the most technical musicians either. But what they did was create an album that any young man can listen to while feeling down and heartbroken in their room, missing the one they love. Its hard to be labeled a "sap with an acoustic guitar," but on here, that"s not a bad thing.
The Sludge's Thumb Ups
(not in any order)
1. The Brilliant Dance
2. Screaming Infidelities
3. The Best Deceptions
4. This Ruined Puzzle
5. Saints and Sailors
6. The Good Fight
7. Standard Lines
8. Again I Go Unnoticed
9. The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most
10. This Bitter Pill