Alter The Ending review by Dashboard Confessional

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  • Released: Nov 10, 2009
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.2 (30 votes)
Dashboard Confessional: Alter The Ending

Sound — 9
Chris Carrabba's emotions haven't abated, and his niche audience will probably breathe a sigh of relief because of that fact. While some might complain that Dashboard Confessional's 6th studio album After the Ending is more of the same, the band would likely alienate a good batch of people if they didn't dish out another helping of personal and/or cathartic material. There are no huge surprises, but by the same token, Carrabba is an incredibly consistent songwriter. At least 10 out of the 12 tracks on After the Ending are fodder for the Billboard charts, and you can be guaranteed that at least a few will be used in TV and movies soundtracks to come. According to the band's blog, the material was written after Carrabba took time off from social obligations. He mentioned the songs connected to each other, and it's true that there is a cohesive quality to the record both musically and lyrically. There's no shadow of a doubt that the tracks on After the Ending were penned by Carrabba, as each one is stamped with his emotionally-charged, let-your-feelings-all-out lyrical content. For those not of the sensitive variety, you'll be screaming emo and won't last for the duration of the CD. But for fans of Dashboard Confessional (rounded out by guitarist John Lefler, bassist Scott Schoenbeck, and drummer Mike Marsh), After The Ending is a logical (and likable) next step. Big choruses tend to be a constant focal point for Dashboard Confessional, with the quartet making use of that habit in the opening track Get Me Right. The song kicks off with a fairly steady picking style against the vocals, and Carrabba's melodies are strong off the bat. It's fairly sedate in the beginning moments, but by the chorus Carrabba explodes with passion. That ability to build in energy and emotion is one of the band's great strengths. Some might tire of that format/formula if you tend to like a bit more variety, but it does work for Dashboard's genre. The Motions is one of the few that takes a different turn by maintaining a more energetic quality throughout the entire song (often following a Motion City Soundtrack keyboard-driven format), and it does make for a nice contrast. There are a few moments on After the Ending that act as flashbacks to Carrabba's start as a solo acoustic artist. Even Now, No News Is Bad News, and the ending track Hell on the Throat all begin as stripped-down platforms for only vocals and acoustic, and although the full band eventually comes in, allowing Carrabba some alone time drives home the lyrical themes a bit more. Although Hell on the Throat is an incredibly mellow track, but it carries the quiet passion of a Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen). Granted, it's nowhere near that powerful, but it carries a lot of weight for having such an unassuming arrangement.

Lyrics — 8
Dashboard Confessional's lyrical content tends to have either a magnetizing or repelling factor for listeners. Carrabba is indeed pouring every little feeling he has out into his music, which has obviously been embraced by fans that can empathize with whatever emotional plight he may face. He does use lyrical devices, particular repeating specific lines with emphasis, that work in the songs' favor. The main issue will be whether you can tolerate all of his talk about emotions. If you don't mind a song like Even Now, which dedicates every line to discussing endearing qualities about a specific girl (Even now I can feel your hand gently over mine with almost no weight at all; Even now I can feel your eyes watch me as I strum much too late at night and so on and so forth), then every other track should be smooth sailing.

Overall Impression — 8
It should be noted that certain editions of After The Ending will also include acoustic performances by Carrabba for each of the 12 tracks. The singer/guitarist is still a centerpiece for the band, and it's essentially his lyrical content and emotional delivery that drives the music. The album oozes sensitivity, and that will be the primary turnoff for some people. The musicianship is solid whether by adding piano sections to Hell on the Throat or a trippy guitar effect to Water and Bridges and the band does deserve credit as a whole. The true, however, is that the songs will likely still carry the same weight when stripped down to just the guitar and vocals, which is why the bonus CD was a brilliant move on the part of Carrabba.

20 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Shredy_Mc_shred wrote: From the picture of the main page this band look awful.
    so your judging a band by a picture?
    Alter The Ending (it is Alter btw for anyone who wants to buy it) is an amazing album. Make sure you get the edition with the bonus acoustic CD because that is probably the best Dashboard CD to date! One of the things I have always loved about the band is the insane amount of emotion pouring out of their songs, and this album does just that. I think they are one of the best bands around and this album is far from mediocre. It is an astounding piece of art and every song has its own story. BUY IT.
    I joined the website simply to comment on this thread. This album is amazing, deluxe version is the only way to go. Dashboard is amazing, I listen to deathmetal for the majority of time, yet anyone can clearly see that this music is amazing, no matter what you listen to.
    Dashboard is pretty good. I have yet to hear an album from them that dissapoints, but they also have yet to release one that tops 'A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar."
    Dashboard Confessional=Chris Carrabba (and three other dudes that play instruments.) I love DC, one of my favourite bands. Can't wait to go out and buy this album.
    SharpObject wrote: Another group surpassing the emo craze that shoulda died with it. IMO
    Dashboard Confessional isn't anywhere near Emo, go listen to Rites Of Spring and feel like a dumbass ANYways, I miss back when it was just Chris Carabba, I adore Swiss Army Romance, but ah well, they're still a wonderful band.
    Upon first listen, I thought it was really mediocre. After a few more listens, I'm starting to really like it.
    SPELLING FAIL: In the Title it says "ALTER The Ending" and in the body it says: "...6th studio album AFTER the Ending..." Please make up your mind, I really want the album, but now you confused me...!!!
    Shredy_Mc_shred wrote: From the picture of the main page this band look awful.
    That was the most retarded statement I've ever read. Especially considering how small that is. Besides, Chris makes up 90% of the band... Anyway, I'm still stuck with the So Impossible EP and The Swiss Army Romance. Beyond that he kind of makes it seem more produced rather than the just him and his acoustic. Odd, I know, but you'd have to listen to it. Alter the Ending is still pretty good.
    I would give more credit to this review if they would have gotten the album title right in the review..ITS ALTER THE ENDING!!
    Shredy_Mc_shred wrote: JayLacelle wrote: Shredy_Mc_shred wrote: From the picture of the main page this band look awful. so your judging a band by a picture? Yeah, the picture usually gives a good indication of the type of band.
    and your username gives a good indication of your ignorance to different genre's of music.. well that and your incredibly stupid comment. Anyway i'm no huge fan of Dashboard but i cant help but get each and ever song of theirs (his?) i hear stuck in my head for a week. I might give this a listen if i find a free stream. Good review also.
    JayLacelle wrote: Shredy_Mc_shred wrote: From the picture of the main page this band look awful. so your judging a band by a picture?
    Yeah, the picture usually gives a good indication of the type of band.
    they are a solid band. Good songwriting but they should try to venture of this style a bit. Or not, keep with an already big list of fans
    I didn't mind the first 4 song EP thing I heard of his. But I imagine a few CDs of it would get tiring.
    Dashboard Confessional is simply indie rock and alternative, not nearly at all emo.I found this album incredible, mainly because it really does grow on you. All their music may sound similar but that's their style, simplicity. It's beautiful.