It isn’t enough for your heart to break because everybody’s heart is broken now.—Allen Ginsberg.
I have something to admit. Growing up in Jersey as a punk rock kid in the late ‘90s I was a closet Dashboard Confessional fan. And, after talking to some old friends who grew up the same way I did, we all came to realize that we had all been closet Dashboard fans.
I think it is inherent in punk and hardcore kids to like a few select softer bands. A lot of hardcore kids really loved Elliott in high school and it probably helped that that band was signed to Revelation Records, a hardcore label. Of course my love for Dashboard stopped after The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most because I had grown up a bit and also because I felt the band had worn out its heartbreaking welcome.
So now, two albums and five years later Carrabba and Company are still out there making new school emo anthems. But this Dashboard is nothing like what I remember from High School. This Dashboard has rock hooks and not much real emotion. This Dashboard is devoid of the only thing that actually made the band good: sincere heartbreak.
In Swiss Army Romance and The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most, Carrabba actually conveyed something I could believe in, even if it was coated in some seriously sappy sugar. So now the band rocks a bit more and Carrabba is older and purveying a more rock star image.
“So Long, So Long” is a straight rock song that features Adam Duritz of Counting Crows doing backing vocals and the whole thing is terribly bland. The song goes nowhere. At least the old Carrabba had a bit of slow crescendo in his whining. Duritz backing vocals are fun, but more as a nostalgic afterthought.
Dashboard was always a great summer band because it evoked my favorite image of driving to shore with the windows open and the cigarettes lit with some stolen beer in the back. The girls always loved Dashboard and we loved them for it. It’s all very nostalgic but really, isn’t that what Dashboard is all about? Maybe this review is sappy but that is how I remember Dashboard.
“Rooftops and Invitations” seemed the most promising song based on title, but that track, too, is bland and banal. I was hoping it would be a song of summer on rooftops with beer and cigarettes and young love. I could use a bit of youth spirit now that I am in my mid-20s. But, alas, the song didn’t do it the way I had hoped. There is not lost love or summer romance here. At least not in the teenager at the shore way that I’m used too from Carrabba.
So now, after all that remembering, I leave with a bitter taste in my mouth. My heart doesn’t break like it did in high school and maybe Carrabba’s doesn’t, either. Maybe it’s time to just hang it up and get off this rock star kick. The band on this album is not Dashboard Confessional