A Mark, a Mission, a Brand, a Scar [Bonus DVD]

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Sprague
As you might gather from the title of Dashboard Confessional's fourth album, Christopher Carrabba still wears his heart on his sleeve -- or, more accurately, tattooed on his forearm. A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar continues the punk-inspired singer-songwriter's streak of obsessive-compulsive musings on relationships and how to wreck them. He's still apt to strum out unguarded acoustic plaints like "Ghost of a Good Thing," but this time around, Carrabba ratchets things up a little in terms of sonic intensity. While not exactly pedal-to-the-metal in tenor, tracks such as the fretful "Am I Missing" and "Hands Down" an adrenalized version of a tune he released on the ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Sprague
As you might gather from the title of Dashboard Confessional's fourth album, Christopher Carrabba still wears his heart on his sleeve -- or, more accurately, tattooed on his forearm. A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar continues the punk-inspired singer-songwriter's streak of obsessive-compulsive musings on relationships and how to wreck them. He's still apt to strum out unguarded acoustic plaints like "Ghost of a Good Thing," but this time around, Carrabba ratchets things up a little in terms of sonic intensity. While not exactly pedal-to-the-metal in tenor, tracks such as the fretful "Am I Missing" and "Hands Down" an adrenalized version of a tune he released on the So Impossible EP some years back rumble along at a fairly energetic clip. Carrabba verges on alt-country territory on the doe-eyed "Carve Your Heart Out Yourself" -- a tune guaranteed to elicit the devout sing-alongs so prevalent at Dashboard gigs -- and really lets his hair down on the six-minute "Several Ways to Die Trying," a song that's as perfect a collage of Carrabba's scars as he's ever likely to display.
All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Upon its initial release A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar contained a standard-issue bonus DVD, but what's more noteworthy is that the album was reissued nine months later with a new limited-edition bonus DVD, containing the group's appearance on MTV2's program Album Covers. The idea behind the show is an ingenious one -- get a modern band to cover an album they loved. Album-length covers have been in vogue since the '80s, when indie rock bands began deconstructing classic rock legends. Pussy Galore were the first to release an album, with their take on the Rolling Stones' Exile on Main Street, but it was nearly impossible to find. In fact, the album-length cover was more than anything the stuff of rumor -- Sonic Youth's version of the Beatles' White Album was always seemingly at hand, something the group slyly acknowledged by titling their Ciccone Youth side project The Whitey Album, while Camper Van Beethoven's Tusk wasn't released until the 2000s -- but the idea took hold. In the '90s, Phish were famous for performing album covers on their Halloween concerts, and the concept slowly entered the mainstream, with M2 debuting Album Covers in 2004. Dashboard Confessional kicked off the show with their version of R.E.M.'s dour 1992 masterpiece Automatic for the People. This is a concept that holds promise for fans of either group, but the show itself is botched since the producers are never content to let the band simply play. Instead, every performance is butchered with subpar home-computer editing techniques, cutaways to R.E.M.'s promotional videos for the songs, or, worst of all, interviews are aired while the band is playing. It's an infuriating technique, but perhaps the producers thought that Dashboard were in need of a little visual flair since they're so steadfastly earnest and dull in live performances. It kind of works against them since the clip of David Essex performing "Rock On" -- the inspiration for "Drive" -- in 1973 is a more compelling performance than Dashboard. Which is kind of the problem with the show in general; the group's version of Automatic for the People, though it reveals heretofore unexpected ties between R.E.M. and emo, pales to the original. Of course, it doesn't help that the group, at least on the televised show, doesn't cover all of the album. Those of you hoping to hear Dashboard Confessional tackle "Ignoreland" and "Monty Got a Raw Deal" are out of luck -- with the exception of "The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight," they just tackle the dark ballads that form the heart of Automatic, and while that may be more emo, it makes for turgid listening. It also reveals what a limited singer Chris Carrabba is; he admits that he doesn't have the "rich" voice of Michael Stipe, so he compensates by relying on the shrill, keening emotive yelp that's his stock-in-trade. It's a style that's appropriate for his own songs, yet does not suit R.E.M.'s songs, turning them all into dirges. It may not make for great music, but it is an interesting exercise, and it's a good bonus for hardcore Dashboard fans and curious R.E.M. fans alike. Oh, the bonus materials are thin -- longer interview clips with the band and Michael Stipe, who guests on "Drive" and Dashboard's own "Hands Down" -- but having the full-length version of the Clique's "Superman," which R.E.M. popularized on Lifes Rich Pageant, is very nice, particularly since it's the only cover on this entire enterprise that's any fun.
New York Times - Kelefa Sanneh
A remarkable disc that may become the year's most important rock record.
Rolling Stone - Rob Sheffield
Easily the toughest, most assured music [Chris Carrabba has] ever made, summing up the vulnerable charisma that has made him a cult idol for fans who crave the kind of emotional realness that has totally disappeared from the mainstream-rock assembly line.
Entertainment Weekly - Jim Greer
Credit Carrabba's ear for melody for A Mark's heartfelt heft. (B+)

A remarkable disc that may become the year's most important rock record.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/18/2004
  • Label: Vagrant Records
  • UPC: 601091039629
  • Catalog Number: 396

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Hands Down (3:06)
  2. 2 Rapid Hope Loss (3:41)
  3. 3 As Lovers Go (3:30)
  4. 4 Carry This Picture (2:53)
  5. 5 Bend and Not Break (5:06)
  6. 6 Ghost of a Good Thing (3:45)
  7. 7 Am I Missing (4:03)
  8. 8 Morning Calls (4:20)
  9. 9 Carve Your Heart Out Yourself (3:44)
  10. 10 So Beautiful (3:27)
  11. 11 Hey Girl (3:34)
  12. 12 If You Can't Leave It Be, Might as Well Make It Bleed (3:38)
  13. 13 Several Ways to Die Trying (6:07)
Disc 2
  1. 1 Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight
  2. 2 Try Not to Breathe
  3. 3 Everybody Hurts
  4. 4 Sweetness Follows
  5. 5 Nightswimming
  6. 6 Find the River
  7. 7 Drive
  8. 8 Hands Down
  9. 9 Special Features
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Dashboard Confessional Primary Artist
Mike Marsh Percussion, Drums, Background Vocals, Group Member
Scott Schoenbeck Bass, Group Member
Chris Carrabba Guitar, Vocals, Group Member
John Lefler Organ, Guitar, Piano, Background Vocals, Group Member
Technical Credits
Bob Ludwig Mastering
Gil Norton Producer
Adrian Bushby Engineer
John Dunne Digital Editing
Andrew W. Ellis Booking
Mike Fanuele Engineer
Chris Carrabba Composer, Producer
Mike Stroud Composer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    This is the CD to buy

    I have been listening to this band since 2 years ago, and gosh their song never gets old. A breath of air for our generation. This cd is great! So if you're planning to buy one of the cd of d/c .THIS is the one to buy.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Just awesome music

    i started listening to Dashboard in 2000 and have been hooked ever sense. This band is bring so much emotion and feeling into their music, which is nice to see in this era of fake eragent sound-offs. Every track is as good as the next and every album never disapoints. If you ever listen to this CD you know you will buy it. It's that good.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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