Release Date: Dec 18, 2001
As is often the case, for some reason, I was aware of the name Dashboard Confessional before I ever heard a note of their music. I eventually came into contact with the song “So Impossible” around the fall of 2002 and at first it really didn’t resonate with me. (Certainly, it’s the weakest track on this record it does set the stage for the rest.)
You might say, “Ryan, come on, this is a 4 track EP from 12 years ago. The whole thing clocks in at less than 15 minutes! Why does this warrant a review – the first week the site is open?” Well, the fact is, Chris Carraba conveys a better story and more emotion in 14:11 than many artists do in their entire career.
The record is the story of a presumably overlooked and awkward teenage guy who is invited to a party by a girl he likes. It’s full-on emo-teenage-angst-romance-hope-fear-awkwardness-triumph. It’s amazingly relatable and while the songs form a story together, they each can stand on their own. Now, it’s not been my style to do a song by song breakdown, but with only 4 tracks, I think I will.
“For You to Notice” – But for now I’ll look so longingly / wait up / for you to want me / for you to need me / for you to notice me – Refined, low-key verses leading to a great rising riff in the pre-chorus and mini-solo. Choruses begin to push the vocal tone and layer on harmonies for added internal conflict.
“So Impossible” – I’ve been scheduled to work, but I’ll call in / and my friend isn’t busy, he’d be happy to join me / and maybe my friend and your friend will hit it off / or maybe / we will – You can almost feel the tension/hope/courage building throughout the song. As mentioned previously, the song itself is weaker than it’s companions, but it provides requisite setup for the following two.
“Remember to Breathe” – So, sneakers or flip flops? / I’m starting to panic (wait, wait) / remember, she asked you / remember to BREEEAAAATHE / and everything will be OOOOOKKKKKK – This is easily one of my all-time favorite song. The sparse piano, lead acoustic guitar part, and lack of chorus keep it from ever getting stale and maintain a sense of immediacy throughout the composition. The lyrics paint as vivid a picture as possible.
“Hands Down” – My hopes are so high that you kiss might kill me / so won’t you kill me / so I’ll die happy / My heart is yours to fill or burst / or break or bury / or wear as jewelry – They actually re-recorded this track with a full band, made a music video and got some MTV play out of it. Maybe that’s why it’s my least favorite. The first three songs being so anxiety-filled make this songs joyousness seem a little out of place – not that we would have wanted any other outcome.
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