Friday 16 October 2009

Cross Blogination #5 Dashboard Confessional - The Places That You've Come to Fear the Most

The second Dashboard Confessional album from 2002 is an album that makes me feel sad, uplifted and aware that sometimes a cheesy, slightly bitter love song is still something that I adore even at 36.

This is Chris Carrabba's solo stuff and it's all accoustic guitars and laments about an ex. 'Dashboard' became more of a collaborative effort on later albums and although the follow up was good 'they' rather than 'him' were never as good as 'he' was on this album.

It's a record that I can sing every word to. There's a live album that contains many of the tracks form 'The Places that You've Come to Fear the Most' performed for MTV Unplugged, in front of a live audience, where every song is sung pretty much by the crowd.

It is a break up album. I think it got me through two. It is about mean girls being mean and that. It struck a chord.

The first three tracks are about as good as, 'I've just been scorned,' songs get. Opener 'The Brilliant Dance' is about being dumped for the first time by your first girlfriend. 'And breathing is a foreign task, and thinking just to much to ask, and you're measuring minutes by a clock that's blinking eights.' Who hasn't felt like that? I certainly have. Second song 'Screaming Infidelities' is basically the follow up to song one. 'I'm reading your note over again, and there's not a word that I comprehend, except where you signed it "I love you always and forever." ' Bless Chris, he got hurt pretty bad I guess. I love the imagery of the song. The poor guy in his room, his ex's hair on the floor or bed, and he know's she's with someone else. I've been there too...

'The Best Deceptions' is the best Dashboard song by some distance. This time the girlfriends gone on a trip and played away. She's sorry and wants to get back together. Chris isn't having any of it though.

'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 you do not warrant long goodbyes.'

I should probably point out that this isn't REM. There's no allegory here, no need to figure out the lyrics, but with a bottle of wine and that, 'I've just been dumped,' feeling in your gut it's a super album to sing/vent along with.

It never quite measures up to those first three tracks most of the rest of album is about another relationship slowly dying. There are some great lines but deep down I know I love it most of all because it's just a great sing along album.

'Standard Lines' is probably the darkest song here. It begins as a track about a relationship that has ended in the couple drifting apart and splitting. They've said it's for the best but Chris is secretly drinking his way through the break up. When they bump into each other somewhere in small town America they use the classic 'I'll call you soon' lines to each other but inside he's in bits. (I'm not sure whether it's necessarily a good thing that I can relate to so many of the songs...)

So what that the lyrics sound like some teenager ranting? 'Screaming Infidelities' is one of my favourite songs and 'The Places...' is a good album. Maybe not a great one, but one that I still recommend to everyone. Especially if they've just been dumped.


I went through a faze of trying to convert most people I knew into Dashboard and I succeeded with a fair few people, I wonder what Paul thought of it. Go see for yourself. Blog on the Motorway.

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