Dashboard Confessional – A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar – Lyrical Highlights

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the early 2000’s had some of the absolute best music, especially when it came to the emo/pop punk genre. This was a point in time where nobody was trying too hard and music was fun because it felt so real. Whereas there are lots of artists that shine too bright for their own good and seem unattainable, drowned out in overproduction and excess, it’s refreshing to have an album like A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar. Dashboard Confessional’s third studio release is simple and acoustic based, and very down to earth in all aspects. The way it’s written is especially a standout on this project and it’s one that had stuck with me immediately and continues to stay relevant almost twenty years later. The way these lines are woven through the medley of electric guitar and acoustic instrumental makes these songs feel like a familiar friend and the way they’re written to be simple yet meaningful resonates easily and echoes with you for a while after the initial listen. There are so many themes bestowed upon us here, from romantic relationships, to growing up and trying to fit in somewhere, to general sadness of some of life’s situations. No matter what your preference, this is a record that has the ability to speak to a variety of people, and it’s one that is a very important staple in music history.

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“Hands Down”

“My hopes are so high that your kiss might kill me / So wont you kill me? / So I die happy”

Ah, so emo yet so romantic. Something like this is definitely one of the highlights of the early 2000’s pop punk period, being so dramatic yet perfectly relatable. And when looking back on it, this is still just as enjoyable today as it was back then.

“Ghost of a Good Thing”

“Just bend the pieces till they fit / Like they were made for it / But they weren’t meant for this”

I think that many of us get ourselves into situations that we don’t want to be in whether it be because of peer pressure, family pressure or just general pressure on yourself to feel like you’re doing something right. But despite trying to either just fit in or make everyone else happy, you know deep down that it just isn’t right for you. I like this line in particular and it’s one that continues to stay with me because it’s applicable to many different situations, and it’s a feeling I’m sure many of us know all too well.

“Morning Calls”

“And don’t blink, everyone’s watching / They’ll think you’re up to something / They need for you to be everything that they cannot”

This track slightly rebounds off of the previous one, where it’s describing the feeling of trying so hard to please everyone and leaving yourself unhappy. It also alludes to the feeling of being under a microscope, and having everyone keep an extremely close eye on you. Just like with the last track, this feeling is rather well known, especially for anyone who’s young and still trying to figure things out.

“Carve Your Heart Out Of Yourself”

“Man, it takes a silly girl to lie about the dreams she has / But lord, it takes a lonely one to wish she had never dreamt at all”

Do you ever hear a line that feels like it was written specifically for you? This line was especially jarring when I first heard it because the first image that came to my mind was one of myself. It’s uncomfortable, but honest and real. I also think that it’s reassuring in the way where it doesn’t make me feel like I’m alone, and I know that there are others out there who are also going through something similar.

“So Beautiful”

“You’ve got your new ties, I’ve got my old knots”

Sometimes moving on from a broken relationship is difficult, and I really like the way this line is written to describe that frustration of not being able to get over those feelings. It’s simple and straight to the point, but just like the other lyrics, it puts a lot into perspective.

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