Release Date: Feb 9, 2018
Record label: Fueled by Ramen Records
In an interview with the New York Times, Dashboard Confessional lead vocalist and primary songwriter Chris Carraba lamented and rejected the misogyny that permeated the pop-punk and emo scene that was so prominent in the Noughties. Reflecting on the accusations about Brand New's Jesse Lahey, the over-sexualisation of women within emo lyrics and the lack of female representation in the industry, Carraba said he was troubled by the allegations of sexual misconduct: 'I think that nobody knows how to come to grips with the idea that our scene was a place that something like this could happen. ' Carraba is a lone, but encouraging, voice in the typically male-dominant sphere of emo pop-punk - and one that is needed more than ever.
After a nine-year hiatus, Dashboard Confessional are back with their seventh studio album, Crooked Shadows. While sometimes resurrections such as this can have fans on the edge of their seat, anticipating either a successful comeback or a colossal fail, with the arrival of Crooked Shadows, they can breathe a sigh of relief. Sure, this album lacks an anthemic crowd pleaser like their 2003 hit "Hands Down" and it doesn't really have a ballad that speaks to us quite like "Stolen" did in 2006, but Crooked Shadows offers a satisfying balance between pop, alt-rock and Dashboard's familiar approach to intimate storytelling.
So much has come to pass in the 15 years since Dashboard Confessional propelled his strummy perpetually wounded boyhood drama to its Gold-record apex. Emo is now the province of Soundcloud rappers, righteous girls, and Drake. Marvel artist-writer David Mack directed clip for 'Crooked Shadows' track Chris Carrabba made his name at the tail-end of the Nineties singing (and shrieking) about winning (and losing) a girl, and now he returns with Crooked Shadows, his first Dashboard Confessional album in more than eight years, with that same romantic fixation holding the center of his songs.
Chris Carrabba's lyrics loom over today's pop like a baffling relic of teendom. Taylor Swift, Paramore's Hayley Williams, and Kacey Musgraves can sing some of these pained words by heart, but so can scrappy emo revivalists and maudlin rap-rockers. If you've been a teenager at any point in the 21st century, then perhaps you can too. The release of the first Dashboard Confessional album in more than eight years is an opportunity to revisit the reasons why so many young music lovers learned his piercing, sentimental lines in the first place.