“Yeah, Dashboard Confessional’s good,” she admitted shyly as she sipped Budweiser from a clear plastic cup. This was an utterance that would have been slightly embarrassing even back in 2003, at the pinnacle of Dashboard’s popularity. There are rules about the type of music you can listen to you once you have firmly escaped your teenage years. One of those simultaneously tacit and verbally touted rules is that listening to Dashboard Confessional is kind of off limits. It is music for those content to continue wallowing in the woes of rejection and disappointment that seem, ironically, much more prevalent in one’s twenties than they do in one’s teens.
When Dashboard released that landmark first album, The Swiss Army Romance, in 2000, it was like a proclamation that it was okay to be indie, insecure, and generally a little bitch. It was maybe the first time since the 80s (with The Cure, Echo and the Bunnymen, The Smiths, et. al.) that unabashedly broadcasting one’s moroseness was so widely embraced by a fanbase.
Although Chris Carraba started the band as a side project to his other band, Further Seems Forever, he left the group in 2001 to devote all of his time to Dashboard. All of this occurred in some of Florida’s more bowel-like cities, namely Pompano Beach and Boca Raton. But I suppose it just goes to show that, upon occasion, Florida isn’t totally responsible for some of the world’s worst music (Backstreet Boys and Creed).
Chris Carraba went on to release The Places You Have Come To Fear the Most and So Impossible under the Dashboard Confessional moniker as well, with additional members of the band not joining until 2002. However, in the wake of writing the song “Vindicated” for the Spider Man 2 soundtrack (remember when soundtracks were important?), it seemed that Dashboard had lost all of its luster to the emo demographic.
I suppose they had all probably gotten too sophisticated to continue listening to such sentimental tripe. Subsequent Dashboard albums, like Dusk and Summer and The Shade of Poison Trees, did not chart nearly as well as earlier endeavors, particularly 2003′s A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar.
In 2009, the band showcased the fact that it still had ties to its indie roots by contributing to Diablo Cody’s offbeat zombie comedy, Jennifer’s Body. Later that year, Alter the Ending, the sixth studio album from Dashboard was released. Based on the title, one would be led to believe it could be their final musical output. Another sign of the band slowing down is the ten year anniversary re-release of The Swiss Army Romance. It appears, now more than ever, that Dashboard is content to look back on the band it was, as opposed to attempting to reinvent themselves for the future. And perhaps that is a reflection of the type of person still unashamed to admit to loving them. A prime example being yours truly. I just can’t let go of the honesty and bleeding heart nature of their lyrics. Especially in this song.