Dashboard Confessional’s MTV Unplugged – 10 Years On


Upon turning 25 recently, I started to feel my youth slowly slipping away from me. Every crease on my face, every hair that falls from my head, every early bed time on a weekend make me realise that those  heady days of being in my late teens are now merely memories, and is a part of my life that I cannot get back.

As you age, you long for a rewind button for your life – where you could just push it and be taken back to the time you were 16 to savour it for just a little longer.

Hearing Dashboard Confessional’s MTV Unplugged 2.0 for the first time in many years, it was like pushing a rewind button on my life, where I  was instantly taken back to that 16 year old who was making bad music with Picco, was listening to too much punk music and was writing too much bad poetry.

For all of you who had a similar experience to me as a teen, you will note that this year marks 10 years since this incredible album was released (some may argue my use of the word, but for those who have been affected by it, the shoe fits). At the time, I listened to it repeatedly. I watched the DVD over and over again. So many nights I spent with this wonderful expression of teenage emotion and angst, singing along with every other kid in the audience who also sung along to every word that wept from that tattoed poster boy of the emo movement, Chris Carabba.

To me, this album is the most tangible that music has ever felt to me. It had weight. It had a heart. It reached through the speakers, and grabbed at my soul. I turned on “Places You Have Come to Fear the Most”, and as a 25 year old, I felt the same feelings, I could see the same memories and I remembered the words – every single one.

It is an album that resonated with me unlike any ever had, or ever has since. Every word of “The Best Deceptions”, every note belted out by Carabba and his band, felt like they were written by me, the words were being sung by ME; words echoing experiences and feelings that at the time were so heavy, so strong, so real. I could see the girl who I thought this written this about, and every lyric was a play-by-play account of how I remember things unfolding.

As an adult, such feelings generally don’t have the same weight. Life, experience, time – they all, to some extent, anesthetise the rumblings of the heart. However, there are time where feelings weigh as heavy as they once did – and listening to this album once more, made them come flooding back.

Go into your room, dim the lights, put this DVD on and become a teenager again. You may feel guilty, and yes, people will laugh at you for doing it. But they are just jealous that they can’t be 16 again.

Follow me @ChrisPEnglish

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