Dashboard Confessional: The 10 songs that changed my life

Dashboard Confessional’s mainman Chris Carrabba shares his love for Beach Boys, The Cure and beyond.

Dashboard Confessional: The 10 songs that changed my life
Mischa Pearlman
David Bean

Dashboard Confessional man Chris Carrabba picks at the scars of his life so far, to map out the music that’s made him the person he is today…

The first song that I remember hearing...

The Beach Boys – God Only Knows (1966)

“I first heard this on the hi-fi in my grandparents’ living room. I must have been about six, and I remember the fact that it was so grand. You could sink your teeth into the melody right away, and I could feel, long before I knew anything about music theory and why all this would work, that there was something magical in the fact that this music was sweeping me away deeper and deeper into the emotion of the song.”

The song that reminds me of childhood...

Metallica – Master Of Puppets (1986)

“My stepbrother Bill came home with new metal records every weekend. I remember he played this song in our bedroom on a little Discman connected to one speaker, and it was unbelievable to me. It was fast and furious, and it felt so raw yet precise at the same time. Plus, it was all this social commentary that I was probably not mature enough to grasp. But I brought back to that bedroom that my brothers and I shared every time I hear it.”

The first song that I ever learned to play...

Violent Femmes – Blister In The Sun (1983)

“My cousin and her friend found this guitar in the basement when they were cleaning it. They brought it up and they handed it to me. I was sounding out some notes on it and my cousin’s girlfriend turned on the radio and said, ‘Can you play this?’ and it was this song. It turned out I could play it just by ear.”

The song that reminds me of my first love...

Peter Gabriel – In Your Eyes (1986)

“My very first girlfriend included this as the first song on the first ever mixtape she made me. And you never forget the first song on the first mixtape your first girlfriend makes you! Even all these years later, this brings back only good memories about her. It’s such a touching track.”

The song that moves me to tears...

The Cure – From The Edge Of The Deep Sea (1992)

“You could put any Cure song in here, but I think even for Robert Smith this cuts to the emotional core. I first heard this when I was parked at the beach in a car with a girl, and I remember listening to this as we looked at the ocean. Because of the title, it’s such an imprinted memory. ”

The song that was hardest to write...

Dashboard Confessional – Slow Decay (2006)

“This is about my friends coming back from war. They were really fucked up and damaged, so it’s about their trials in trying to adjust back into regular society outside of battle. It was hard because I needed to do it and them justice. I tried to sing it as if they were the narrator, which was difficult to do not having had the experience myself, but being adjacent to it with some of my dearest friends and not all of them coming back. It took such a toll on me to lose friends over there, but also to see friends return and take years to get all the way back, and that’s before I even tried to represent that in song.”

The song that puts me in a great mood...

Frank Black – Headache (1994)

“No matter what, this song works for improving my bad mood. It’s a cure for all things! Part of it is lyrical for me – ‘Got me so down / I got me a headache’ – I love that. It’s so flippant in its addressing of emotionality. But on the other hand, if it wasn’t for Frank Black’s amazing rough edges, even when he’s singing serenely, it could be a Buddy Holly, Dean Martin or Roy Orbison song. I think he’s a special singer. ”

The song that means something different to me now...

Dashboard Confessional – Remember To Breathe (2001)

“Every night the audience takes this song to a different place, so I never know what to expect. Even though it’s the same lyrics, different audiences seem to derive different meanings from them. Which takes me to a new emotional place each night. It’s a great reminder that these are not my songs. They’re only my songs before I put out the records. Once they’re out in the world they’re our songs. I’m just somebody who gets to sing them with this crowd.”

The song that sums up my attitude to life...

The Beatles – Here Comes The Sun (1969)

“This is such a positive song. I have this reputation for being a bit sombre, but that’s not who I am – it’s just who I am as a songwriter. The person I am is somebody for whom the glass is half-full. I walk around thinking that the best is just around the corner.”

The song I'd like played at my funeral...

N/A – To Be Determined

“I can’t tempt fate by answering this question. I do too many things like ride motorcycles and shit, it’s too dangerous. So I’m not going to tempt fate by throwing this one in. Just say, ‘To be determined many, many, many, many years from now!’ Hopefully.”

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