Admit it: You had an emo phase where you wore black eyeliner, rocked Vans and routinely cried to the sound of Chris Carrabba singing about ex-lovers. There’s a good chance that an emo kid still lives inside of you and still knows all the words to “Hands Down.” Perhaps you even still watch that one MTV Unplugged episode where Carrabba lets out all of his feels during “Screaming Infidelities”! No judgments— we will wholeheartedly support your Dashboard Confessional fandom.
With new Dashboard Confessional music on the horizon, we put together a list of the band’s absolutely essential tracks since its start in 2000.
Chris Carrabba screaming about a girl’s hair that’s everywhere sounded creepy on the surface, but if you dug deeper into that song, you felt bad for the guy. Some girl cheated on him, broke his heart and allowed him to write the song that became a cult favorite. The MTV Unplugged version of this song is iconic and will go down in history as one of Dashboard Confessional’s greatest performances.
“Hands Down” just made you nostalgic for being young, careless and free. This song could apply to anyone really, but hearing it has the power to make you feel like Carrabba was singing directly to you. It’s so dramatic in retrospect (“My hopes are so high/that your kiss might kill me/ so won’t you kill me/so I die happy”), but that’s what makes the song so magical: It’s a song about the best night of your life. And that’s why it lives on.
While “As Lovers Go” starts out as a narrative about a potential one night stand, it turns into a song about pursuing love. Carrabba tries to convince a girl that he doesn’t want to just take her home with him for the night, and effectively reveals his sensitive side. The chorus change at the end was always a killer, because it seemed to symbolize a happy ending for the two characters. Sigh.
This is one of Dashboard Confessional’s most romantic tracks of all time. It’s less creepy than “Screaming Infidelities” and hones in on Carrabba focusing on all of the things he loves about a girl. While it’s more produced than his earlier tracks, it’s an undeniably pretty song that serves as an ode to the love of your life. Olivia Wilde stars in the music video, so if she’s the love of your life, than this song is even more for you than you thought.
“Rapid Hope Loss” definitely sounds more lo-fi than something like “Stolen,” but showcases one of the most classic emo phases of Carrabba’s career. Carrabba chronicles a breakup by not understanding why his ex was looking for something better all the time (“I guess that all you’ve got is all you’re gonna get/so much for so much more”). He also dons the pinnacle of an emo haircut in the video, which makes it worth viewing.
Before Chris Carrabba’s career took off, he wanted to be a teacher. This song is one big dedication to a fellow teacher crush (“I'd be so pleased to see you outside of the classroom”), and his hopes for them to hit it off (“And do you like making out? And long drives? And brown eyes?”). The fact that this track is so aspirational makes it insanely dreamy.
“Saints and Sailors” is a reflection on being alone in the apartment you used to share with your ex. On this track, Carrabba wants to hear any kind of noise that makes her come back to him (“Waiting here with hopes the phone will ring/and I'm thinking awful things”), but instead all he hears is silence. It’s one of Dashboard Confessional’s more upbeat tracks (in a similar vein to “Again I Go Unnoticed”).