In the Studio: Dashboard Confessional

May 5, 2008 11:46 AM ET

After laboring for more than a year on 2006's Dusk and Summer, Dashboard Confessional's Chris Carrabba wanted to keep things simple for the follow-up. "We did two songs a day, live, all the way," says Carrabba, who is working on a new album with producer and Fountains of Wayne bassist Adam Schlesinger in a New York studio. "Everything happened quickly, so there was all this fire and energy. The impulse was to follow the song gods where they lead you." They led him to tunes like the zippy, synth-driven "The Motions," a power-pop song featuring a refrain — "I'm going through the motions, but I can't remember how to feel" — inspired by touring fatigue. Elsewhere, on soaring emo anthems such as "Get Me Right," Carrabba incorporates religious imagery from his Catholic upbringing. "There's no hits in exploring that subject matter, but there's potency," he says.

The earnest Carrabba and "Stacy's Mom" songwriter Schlesinger may seem like an odd match, which is exactly the point. "I thought, 'Here's a guy who might challenge me to look at my songs differently,' " Carrabba says. "Adam is a student of a different world of musicianship than I am. He was studying the Beach Boys while I was studying Jawbreaker. It's like we speak the same language but just learned it in different countries."

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Song Stories

“Santa Monica”

Everclear | 1996

After his brother and girlfriend both died of drug overdoses, Art Alexakis -- depressed and hooked on drugs himself -- jumped off the Santa Monica Pier in California, determined to die. "It was really stupid," said the Everclear frontman, who would further explore his personal emotional journey in the song "Father of Mine." "I went under the water. Then I said, 'I don't wanna die.'" The song, declaring "Let's swim out past the breakers/and watch the world die," was intended as a manifesto for change, Alexakis said. "Let the world do what it's gonna do and just live on our own."

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