Friday, May 26, 2006

This Man Wants to Kiss You... or Have a Good Cry (He's Not Quite Sure)

I don't know whether or not I'm ashamed of this fact, but I was once a fan of Dashboard Confessional.

You see, there was a time about 5 or 6 years ago when I was a huge emo fan, in all its variations. Alkaline Trio, Braid, Chamberlain, Get Up Kids, Hot Water Music, Mineral, Small Brown Bike, Sunny Day Real Estate, etc. etc. It wasn't the only thing I was listening to, but it was close. I liked emo's catharsis -- emotion through power chords and catchy songs. I was young and boy did I feel.

Dashboard Confessional's first album, The Swiss Army Romance, was a little different that the emo I was listening to. The album was essentially just Chris Carraba and an acoustic guitar, with a bunch of sad songs with big choruses. And although it was different from the other emo bands -- DC was one of the first emo bands I listened to that I couldn't pretend was "post-punk", whatever that meant -- it still had the whole catharsis thing. And, fuck me, I liked it. (In my defense, I'd just broken up with a somewhat long-term girlfriend, and mid-20's sad boys were, after all, the original key emo demographic.)

Anyway, it wasn't much later that I soured on emo. In large part, it was Dashboard Confessional's fault. The band got huge, and emo got huge with it. Almost overnight, the median age at an emo show went from 23 to 17. And don't even get me started on the sing-a-longs. I had no idea that 17-year old girls could sing so loudly at the same time they were crying. So my music listening shifted to other genres, and I haven't really listened to much emo since. Luckily, though, most of the bands playing emo these days suck donkey testicles. I'm looking at you, Fall Out Boy.

So, when Stereogum linked to a new AOL Sessions performance by the band today, I decided to give it a shot and see how I felt about the band 5 years later. The verdict? Not awful. Well, let me amend that. The band's 2 original songs aren't awful, but their cover of "In a Big Country" is.

And then I decided to check out the band's MySpace page to see if any other new songs are floating around. There aren't. But it did have one of the most mind-blowing statistics that I've ever seen. The band has had 51,000 plays TODAY alone. Their new song, "Don't Wait", has been played more than 241,000 times. And their two older songs have been played more than 1 and 2 million times, respectively.

These are astounding numbers. If there was any doubt that this album is going to be huge, well, that doubt should now be gone. I don't keep up with MySpace stats, but these are the biggest numbers I've ever seen for a band. Like I said, it's astounding. Rich Egan must be shitting himself right now about how lucky he is that Carraba didn't jump to a major.

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