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Album goes back to roots

Letter to the Editor | Tuesday, October 16, 2007

In reading the Scene review of Dashboard Confessional’s new album, “The Shade of Poison Trees” (Oct. 11), I was disappointed to see that Miss Shaffer had failed to do her homework on the band’s intentions for the album.

Though the album is, admittedly, not one of Chris Carrabba’s best efforts, the idea that his band takes a smaller role in this disc was well documented during the recording process by Carrabba himself. It had long been planned that he would return to the roots that he began his career with in his albums “The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most” and “Swiss Army Romance.” In fact, he was so adamant about the album not being a smash that he admitted, “I think it would be a stretch for any of these [songs] to get played on radio. We just announced it with such little fanfare and as directly as we could to my exact audience. It’s a gift to [Billboard] for waiting so long for something like this.”

Carrabba did not make “Shade” for the masses, for radio, or for the teenage girls who have already saturated the indie market, but for those who know his music best and understand the roots of what has become Dashboard Confessional. In the Billboard article in which this statement is made, he goes on to say that he already has 14 tracks written for the band’s next album, though he has no idea when they will record next. Before claiming that Carrabba has sabotaged the concept of “the band,” you must first understand what Dashboard Confessional started as – one man and an acoustic guitar and a few drums. Sure, there aren’t any instrumental breakdowns, no drum solo’s, but that was the plan for an acoustic album pitted in the origins of the Dashboard Confessional concept. This album was not a digression, but simply a reversion to a more conservative style.

If you are new to the Dashboard scene, then it is understandable that you might be disappointed, but frankly, with all of the changes bands in the music industry make to market themselves more effectively, it is refreshing to see Carrabba’s head on straight. There may not be any jaw-dropping, ear-exploding, make-me-want-to-go-out-tonight-and-profess-my-love-for-her-outside-her-dorm-room-window songs on “Shade,” but not every musical effort can be an artist’s best. And let’s be honest, David Bowie and Ziggy Stardust did just fine.

Robby SchrodersophomoreKeough HallOct. 12