Dashboard Confessional | 08.03.06

I switched to Bright Eyes, got side bangs, and started shopping at thrift stores instead of the mall.


The Pageant, St. Louis

I was in love with Chris Carraba when I was 12. Some people might wonder why I'm choosing to disclose this information, but is it really that different from obsessing over Stephen Malkmus? (Don't answer that.) Those people just don't understand. He got me. It's tough dealing with all the angst and heartbreak of middle school, and not only did Chris care, he understood what I was going through. Every problem I had, Chris had, too. When I cried, not only did he cry, he put it into delicately wrought song. And oh, those sexy arm tattoos! When my parents cringed at a picture of him, I knew I had found true love.

Upon graduating middle school, however, I came to the startling revelation that Dashboard Confessional was actually pretty terrible. I switched to Bright Eyes, got side bangs, and started shopping at thrift stores instead of the mall. Things were looking up—or at least as up as things can look when your hair prevents you from seeing and you worship Conor Oberst. But something was missing from my new life, and it was something more than a distressed pair of skinny jeans. I'd never gotten to see my middle-school sweetheart live in concert. And when the opportunity came, albeit four years too late, I donned my finest emo scenester clothes, ready for Dashboard Confessional.

But there weren't any emo scenesters. The average Dashboard Confessional fan, judging by the crowd, prefers Hollister polos (bonus points for a popped collar!) and designer jeans. Apparently DC isn't even tolerable music for people who think Taking Back Sunday is the greatest band ever.

After a set by the quirky Ben Lee, as well as the subtle stylings of Say Anything (their biggest chorus was "I called her on the phone and she touched herself"), Dashboard Confessional finally took the stage. And as I craned my neck to get a look of my tattooed messiah, I found something else in his place. As it turns out, Chris Carraba is a runty, whiny guy with too much pomade in his greasy hair. I looked around to see if anyone else had realized this-that our leader is a scam-but everyone was too busy screaming along with the songs to notice. Carraba moved around the stage, directing sections of the crowd while not even bothering to sing his own words.

I felt like I was at a Nazi youth rally. And then I realized what that meant for all of us.

To paraphrase High Fidelity, parents shouldn't be worried about what violence their kids might watch in the movies and TV, or that they might come into possession of illegal firearms. It's those damn emo songs that we've got to watch out for. And it's not just that they're terrible, grating, and slightly depressing, it's that there's a whole culture here to get swept up in and blindly follow. Chris Carraba is not just a tortured sensitive guy. Chris Carraba is the antichrist, and if we don't stop him now, we'll lose an entire generation to moany, whiny, poorly written sap. The kids are not alright.

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