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."