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01 Burning Heart
02 Everyone Else Is Just Noise
03 Here’s To Moving On
04 The Better of Me
05 Southbound and Sinking
06 Sleep In
07 Me and Mine
08 Sunshine State
09 Pain Free In Three Chords
11 All the Truth That I Can Tell
At one point or another, everyone comes to a crossroads in their life. For DASHBOARD CONFESSIONAL‘s lead singer Chris Carrabba, that happened as the last decade came to a close. This makes sense; the band have been together for over 20 years. In that time they have released eight studio albums, with a four-year break between 2011 and 2015. Now, their discography grows with ninth album All The Truth That I Can Tell. It was produced by James Paul Wisner, who also produced the band’s first two albums, with Carrabba summing up the core of this record by saying: “Honesty was at… the heart of this collection of songs.”
Featuring 11 songs in total, All The Truth That I Can Tell opens with Burning Heart. It’s a slow, acoustic song; the only sounds are the guitar and Carrabba‘s voice. It is an ambitious way to start an album because most opening songs usually start with a bang, but the stripped-back sound allows the lyrics to become the focus of the song. They are unflinchingly raw, as if Carrabba has opened up his heart and poured it all out into the song.
Everyone Else Is Just Noise continues the stripped-back sound. The good thing about sticking to this stripped-back sound is that the pacing of the album stays the same. This is also seen in Here’s To Moving On, which is an upbeat anthem about picking yourself up after tough times. DASHBOARD CONFESSIONAL are perhaps best-known for their rock anthems, however, as these tracks prove, it might just be their acoustic sound that is their real talent.
On the other hand, there are downsides to having the album be all acoustic. That issue being that it is easy to drift away sometimes and let the album become background noise. Thankfully, The Better Of Me rectifies this by including drums alongside the acoustic guitar. The inclusion of another instrument makes the album that little bit more engaging.
Southbound And Sinking is a love song that is upbeat and happy. It is well-paced, but it lays in the shadow of Sleep In. It is a short song, at only two and a half minutes. However, the lyrics tell a fantastic story about a couple who walk home during the early morning and stop for coffee. The detail of the story is impressive for such a short song. It also benefits from the sound because it allows the story to take centre stage. It is a highlight on the album, primarily because of the lyrics.
The rest of the album continues the stripped-back sound. Sunshine State is a love letter to Carrabba‘s home state of Florida, while Young is a love letter to childhood love. There is a running theme of love throughout the album, and isn’t that what it all comes down to?
In conclusion, despite some songs that seem to drag a little, DASHBOARD CONFESSIONAL‘s ninth album might be one of their best. The acoustic songs definitely won’t be for everyone. However, if they listen closely, there might be some gems that they discover as their new favourite song. Furthermore, for fans who don’t know where to start with DASHBOARD CONFESSIONAL, this is a perfect place. A heart-wrenching album full of honesty and love, this is the band at their best.