Let’s slow things down a bit and take it back to one of the original kings of emo, Chris Carrabba and his band, Dashboard Confessional. Teens in the scene these days may have never heard of DC before, which is a shame because if it hadn’t been for them, acts like My Chemical Romance and Fall Out Boy may not have seen as much success (though FOB kind of stole DC’s lyrics, but we’ll get to that in another post someday).
DC’s last album, Alter the Ending, dropped in 2009, however, word on the street says we may be able to expect a new DC album this year. Until then, we present to you the Song of the Day: “Dusk and Summer.”
“Dusk and Summer” hails from the album by the same name, released in 2006. I once heard someone describe this song as being “beautifully tragic,” and that’s honestly the only way to characterize it. A single acoustic guitar quietly strums in the background as Carrabba floats above the chords with lyrics about facing uncontrollable loss.
He sings, “She said, ‘No one is alone the way you are alone’/And you held her looser than you would have if you ever could have known/Some things tie your life together, slender threads and things to treasure/Days like that should last and last and last/But you’ve already lost.”
It’s easy to see how DC got the emo label, but it’s not something the band has always agreed with. In an interview with Nylon, Carrabba said he looked to other emo bands in the scene and didn’t see any resemblance. After a while, he reconsidered.
“I’ve had long conversations with people in other bands who don’t like that term, and I just maintain that it doesn’t matter what the word is,” Carrabba told Nylon. “If it’s good enough for the people that love us to call us that—of course, the people who hate us will call us that with a tinge of callousness—but the people that love us call us that out of pure-heartedness, so who am I to scoff at that term?
“I don’t think that the generic use of the word as an adjective used to describe a sad sack—I don’t think that’s what emo is. I think emo is something that is fearless. It’s fearlessly happy. Fearless in all the facets of emotion.”
That’s a good way of looking at the genre. So often, we see emo as being 2008 Pete Wentz with his eyeliner and black fringe. DC’s music does a good job of reminding us what this genre really is: songs unveiling true feelings about real life experiences. It doesn’t all have to be sad.
Unless you’re listening to “Dusk and Summer.” That’s pretty sad.
Featured image courtesy of Wikimedia (with some editing by Nicole Metzler).