CD Review of Dusk and Summer by Dashboard Confessional

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Dusk and Summer
starhalf starno starno starno star Label: Vagrant
Released: 2006
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Dear Chris Carrabba,

I received your latest CD in the mail for review. I say “your” because I know Dashboard Confessional is basically you, and the rest of the guys in the band are just there to make weight. How do I know this? Because most every interview or article I have seen about the “band” has basically only featured pictures of you. And now what do I get to look at when I glance at your new CD? Why, a touching picture of you, looking rejected, once again, by some intelligent girl you’ll never get. And at the beach, no less. I open up the CD’s booklet and there once more are two close-up photos of you, one in profile looking like it’s just too much of a bother to have your picture taken, and the other a straight-on, dead ahead stare into the lens that makes you look like a constipated Hugh Jackman.

The one band photo that does show the rest of the group’s faces makes it look like your pals aren’t too happy about this thing going on as long as it has. And why has it gone on for so long, Mr. Carrabba? This whole “emo” thing, where every band that is actually emo doesn’t what to be labeled as such? Your voice has the perfect whiny quality to it that any deep down emo joe’s does. You write silly tortured love songs that anyone who’s already had their first wet dream cannot possibly relate to. I listen to your music and know that I never have and never will relate to this stuff

You try to sound sincere in the opening track, “Don’t Wait,” but I can only see through the Mr. Sensitive pose when you can only dish out fluff like “Don’t wait / The road is now / A sudden sea / And suddenly / You’re deep enough / To lay your armor down.” This is the exact kinda crap that those folks who run writers’ workshops down at the local community center think is real poetry. But you have to remember, those people are all surface, and probably also think “The Family Circus” is hilarious and bust a gut over it every Sunday morning before having a nip off the flask and heading to church to redeem themselves.

I know you wanna mean it all, Chris, but you’re a pretty stable “rock star” anymore, so I suggest you really try something new and just let go of that emo security blanket. The fragile piano ballad “So Long, So Long” is proof positive you need to get out more and just score some easy sex and stop worrying so much about those damn girls. Sure, a 13-year-old female will try to imagine you’re singing such lard as “How the girls / Can turn to ghosts before your eyes / And the very dreams that led to them / Are keeping them from dying” to her and her alone, but that’s not going to help any, is it? Therefore, I suggest you drink some really hard whiskey, call a cheap escort service or two, and live up at least one night of your life. I guarantee you you’ll start writing better songs.

The way your voice chokes and quivers on the fake rock of “Reason to Believe” brings to my mind a horrible marriage between Robert Smith and Rivers Cuomo. These are two dudes you’d undoubtedly like to be. Robert has lived plenty of real-life depression down through the years, while Rivers has that kind of talent that most everyone enjoys, even if they’re not a fan. I guarantee you can pull someone off the street randomly and they’re bound to enjoy at least one Weezer tune. Say the name Dashboard Confessional, though, and you’ll see many a man run, Carrabba. Take this seriously, now.

But I’m sure Dusk and Summer will sell quite well, and you’ll win the hearts over of many a sad young thing once again. I just know that when you’re pulling along another wannabe like Adam Duritz to sing some backup vocals that you really haven’t jumped into the genuine talent pool yet. But remember, that booze and those ladies out there who don’t give a shit about your music are just waiting. Embrace it and become the real rock star you kinda maybe sorta think you would probably like to be.

~Jason Thompson