A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar - Dashboard Confessional

Generally favorable reviews - based on 15 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 15
  2. Negative: 1 out of 15
  1. This is the sound of a superstar in the making. [Nov 2003, p.107]
  2. An exceptional album filled with passionate, intense, and highly personal songs.
  3. A Mark, a Mission, a Brand, a Scar will be the album of the Indian summer, warm and wistful all the way through.
  4. Expands the parameters of the band's earlier acoustic-based sound, with the addition of electric guitars and more complex drumming enhancing frontman Chris Carrabba's emo-lite songcraft. [15 Aug 2003, p.77]
  5. If you're not already part of the Dashboard faithful, these tortured-by-love songs get to be a bit much.
  6. 83
    For a 28-year-old, Carrabba remains remarkably fluent in the language of teen heartbreak. [Sep 2003, p.107]
  7. Musically, DC continue to improve, supplementing their acoustic, sparse approach with radio-friendly pop and tracks that subtly ebb and flow; just beware of a few lightweight and labouring moments.
  8. Carrabba's work is so specifically stuck in adolescence that, even if it's presented in a prettier package as it is on A Mark, it's still very difficult for anybody past sophomore year in college to really connect with his music.
  9. A Mark is the first time he's let the musical intensity match the lyrics.
  10. Gil Norton's production has taken the band to new heights, allowing the music to have as much grit, substance, and dynamics as the lyrics.
  11. 70
    As a songwriter, Carrabba is growing: this album shows more melodic and tonal variety than his previous efforts. [#18, p.118]
  12. Most of the excesses inherent to the subject matter and songwriting style are cumulative; if you take A Mark track by track, it's quite an accomplished set of (admittedly similar) songs.
  13. A Mark... dramatically improves on its predecessors, thanks to a much broader array of subject matter and a newfound emphasis on full-band arrangements that strip away--or at least drown out--his penchant for whiny navel-gazing.
  14. As with Carrabba's earlier work, though, the problem with A Mark is the utter lack of personalized context in which his heart-on-your-sleeve songs operate.
  15. 20
    He's dispensed with the grittier elements and plumped for a straightforward US college rock backing, with dismal results. [Nov 2003, p.112]
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 62 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 37 out of 46
  2. Negative: 6 out of 46
  1. Sam
    Oct 21, 2007
    Every CD Dashboard puts out is amazing! I like his first two bc they are personal, but the high energy of A Mark is also amazing! Definitely the best band and songwriter out there. Full Review »
  2. Strawberry
    Oct 4, 2007
    I caught the last minute of the song "Hands Down" on the radio, and immediately went out and bought the album. I can listen to it over and over again. Songs like "Bend and Break" never get old. Full Review »
  3. Nick
    Nov 20, 2006
    i dont care what age you are... nothing beats dashboards energy that chris puts into very song he records.. best recording artist in the last 10 years by far Full Review »