Armed with an acoustic guitar, a so-so voice, Luke Perry sideburns and enough residual teen angst to captivate high school students across the country, Dashboard Confessional’s Chris Carrabba is, much to his chagrin, the new metrosexual poster boy for Emo-lite. His band’s second full-length album, A Mark, a Mission, a Brand, a Scar, brims with the kind of attentive observation (“You stood at your door with your hands on my waist”) and vulnerable poetry (“My heart is yours…to break or bury, or wear as jewelry”) that turn teenage girls to mush. Carrabba—like Third Eye Blind’s Stephan Jenkins, but with a less distinctive voice—follows the Emo formula superbly with whispered verses, shouted choruses and bridges that fall somewhere in between. The album is a rather seamless mix of folky acoustic ballads (“Carry This Picture”) and less glossy pop-punk (“If You Can’t Leave It Be, Might As Well Make It Bleed”) with a sweeping power that’s both intimate and intricate. And did I mention the heartfelt poetry? “I’m talented at breathing,” Carrabba sings on “Bend & Not Break,” “so that my chest will rise and fall with yours.” A noticeable lack of irony, however, makes for a rather soggy and earnest affair and threatens to turn Carrabba into the Moby of emo-rock. Should we expect Eminem to start taking shots at Dashboard Confessional’s pin-up boy at this year’s VMAs? One can only hope.
- Release Date
- August 21, 2003
- Slant is reaching more readers than ever before, but advertising revenue across the Internet is falling fast, hitting independently owned and operated publications like ours the hardest. We’ve watched many of our fellow media sites fall by the way side in recent years, but we’re determined to stick around.
We’ve never asked our readers for financial support before, and we’re committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or subscription fees. If you like what we do, however, please consider becoming a Slant patron.
You can also make a one-time donation via PayPal: