Dec 172009
Authors: Ian Mahan

Release Date: November 10, 2009
Sounds Like: Midtown, Yellowcard

Emo is back. Then again, when it comes to Chris Carrabba, it never really left. The singer-songwriter returns with “Alter The Ending,” Dashboard Confessional’s newest studio album. With a few new curveballs thrown in, “Alter The Ending” comes chock full of the things listeners have come to expect of the emo frontman.

The album’s opening track, “Get Me Right,” starts the CD off with a somewhat haunting guitar riff followed by a punching drum beat.

And the emo sentiments continue with the album’s first single, “Belle of The Boulevard,” a bittersweet romance tale of celebrity that begs the question of whether or not Carrabba is trying to portray himself in a different light. The song sounds like something Augustana could have written if they were more experienced musically.

For those who are fans of the softer side of Carrabba, he offers plenty of vulnerable solo tracks for enjoyment.

“Even Now,” originally released as a Valentine’s Day song earlier this year, demonstrates that Carrabba isn’t just filled with masochism and angst but has the cleverness to put romanticism to good work.

“Hell On The Throat” is a throwback to the days of “Swiss Army Romance” — the band’s debut album released in 2000 — with a light drum fill behind a clever guitar track that allows Carrabba to unleash his emotion-filled croon.

Overall, the emotions are the same since Carrabba started writing music. However, he’s found less high school-like ways to express the heartbreakingly exhausting tragedies he’s always thrown at his listeners. “Alter The Ending” doesn’t change who Carrabba is deep down inside, but it does alter the perception of his expression.

Music columnist Ian Mahan can be reached at

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