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Coffee Mate: “Love Yourself” by Dashboard Confessional

No one with ears can argue against Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself,” a true, unadulterated banger.

But when you listen to Dashboard Confessional’s version of “Love Yourself,” it seems illogical that “Love Yourself” wasn’t a Dashboard Confessional song first.

The aggrieved narrator? A lingering split? The sting of shortcoming? Multiple parades rained on? All staples of a Dashboard Confessional classic, like the lines were pulled straight from “Best Deceptions,” and once it’s dressed up in the angsty, acoustic melodrama of The Swiss Army Romance and The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most, “Love Yourself” becomes entirely Dashboard, firing on all their melancholy cylinders.

“I love covering great songs by great artists,” Dashboard’s Chris Carrabba said, via press release. “These are some songs I feel very connected to right now, enough so that I felt I had a way of making them my own in some small way.”

Slowed down and placed over a gently picked guitar, Carrabba’s vocals sway from Bieber’s smooth low-end into an aching near-whisper, reshaping the song’s familiar lyrics with a different kind of conviction, and turning the “get even” pop anthem into a failed relationship’s graveyard of memories. It sounds like a return to the earliest days of Dashboard, when Carrabba was a broken-hearted young Romeo, and for those of us that knew him then, he’s unconvincing when he sings, “I didn’t want to write a song, ‘cause I didn’t want anyone thinking I still care, I don’t.”

Yes you do, Chris.

This is Dashboard, and Dashboard always writes songs, because Dashboard always still cares. Everyone knows it.

“Love Yourself” comes from last month’s surprise release, Covered and Taped, a four-song LP of covers that feature the 1975, Julien Baker, and Sorority Noise, alongside Bieber. Dropping just after the start of Dashboard Confessional’s current tour, Covered and Taped was the first release from the band since 2009’s After the Ending, acting as a prelude for a forthcoming, full-length EP.


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