A friend posted on social media that he was starting a “30 Day Song Challenge.” The list he is using is shared below:
I like the list but want to take it a step further and turn it into a reflection exercise. Music is an integral part of my life, so I will be using this list as the framework for 30 posts related to 30 songs. To that end, I will be writing about 30 songs with the goal of being done before the end of the year; I am not guaranteeing it will be a “one song per day” sort of thing; there might be a day or two between songs sometimes.
DAY 1: Your Favorite Song
Artist: Dashboard Confessional
Song: “Screaming Infidelities”
Album: The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most
My parents raised me on a steady diet of Christian rock. Dc Talk, Petra, Audio Adrenaline, and Newsboys filled the headphones of my Walkman and Discman continually. While this “too worldly” music was not on the metaphorical approved music list from the leaders of the church in which I grew up, my parents figured it was probably better for me than some of the other music choices I could have been listening to. The music was okay, but at 15 years old, my mind was on friends, school, the fact that I didn’t quite fit in, and girls (this was only complicated by the previous item on this list). Enter emo music.
I remember where I was when I first heard “Screaming Infidelities.” I was walking through the local Target with my friend Nathan after we had gone to see a movie at Eastside 10. I was walking towards Nintendo 64 display when the music video for “Screaming Infidelities” started playing on the row of T.V.s in the electronics department. The emotion behind the voice of the singer caught me from the first words and I detoured my route to the CDs to find this album by this band I had never heard of. That was $8.99 (on sale) very well spent.
Little did I know that this album would end up being a gateway disc to a much broader world of music that seemed to fly under the mainstream radar. Reading up on Dashboard Confessional’s lead singer informed me that he also sang in a band called Further Seems Forever. It turns out, the local store where my parents went to buy me music was where I could also special order Further Seems Forever’s The Moon is Down, the album on which Chris Carrabba of Dashboard Confessional sang. Reading the liner jacket for The Moon is Down referenced Luti-Kriss (a.k.a. The Almighty Norma Jean), Juliana Theory (r.i.p.), and Saves the Day. Juliana Theory’s Emotion is Dead brought me to Zao (the lead singer Juliana Theory’s former band), Project 86, Dead Poetic, Anberlin, and a host of others.
Looking back, it actually startles me how important a part Dashboard Confessional has played in my musical life. Without this introduction to emo music, I would not have been aware to the scene which would bring me my favorite band of all time Brand New (r.i.p.???) or any of the bands connected to them. Or bands like American Football. Or groups coming out from Victory Records like Hawthorne Heights, Silverstein, The Forecast, etc.
While Dashboard Confessional and The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most would become a significant event for me in the long run, the immediate impact of “Screaming Infidelities” and the other songs on that album cannot be overlooked. For the boy who couldn’t connect with a girl and get her to like me, The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most was a collection of 10 songs about unrequited love architected to hit the listener in the feels. This music spoke to me in a way that CCM would never be able to. Plus, for being so simple, the acoustic guitar work throughout the album is so stinkin’ good.
So with that, I leave you this: