Mar 262021

Some covers are more equal than others. Good, Better, Best looks at three covers and decides who takes home the gold, the silver, and the bronze.

Dashboard Confessional's Chris Carrabba

“Screaming Infidelities” has two birthdays – one in March 2000, for its presence on Dashboard Confessional’s debut album The Swiss Army Romance, and one in March 2001, as the lead single off of Dashboard Confessional’s second album, The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most. This song is usually thought of as Dashboard Confessional’s big break. “Stolen” was still just a twinkle in Chris Carrabba’s eye at this point.

Whichever way you look at it, the song is celebrating an important milestone this month, either turning the big 2-0 or finally being able to legally drink a beer while hearing the saddest songs (“and sit alone and wonder,” of course). The song struck a nerve twenty-ish years ago, and I’m willing to bet it still strikes a nerve today, not so much “taking its wear.” Others try to reach that same level of feeling in their versions. Of these…

The Joanna Pacitti cover is good.

The Dwi Panji cover is better.

The Matt and Chris cover is best.

Joanna Pacitti – Screaming Infidelities (Dashboard Confessional cover)

I’d be remiss if I didn’t recognize Joanna Pacitti for her fairly mainstream cover of this song. Before she was an American Idol contestant, she released an album (which included this cover) and had featured on a few soundtracks. The American Idol franchise was grappling with the drama of whether the competition should only be a platform for amateurs, and Pacitti was eventually removed from the show. No amateur indeed, Pacitti puts a lighter touch on this song. She starts out with airy vocals and a simple acoustic guitar, but her version of the song does not always remain meek. Her outro has a brief escalation in power before fading out.

Dwi Panji – Screaming Infidelities (Dashboard Confessional cover)

This cover sticks out to me as somehow sounding even sadder than the original. It’s simple: the guitar is barely there. There is just a hint of self-harmony at times, the faint echo confirming the aloneness. Even the “your hair is everywhere” is contemplative, while “infidelities” is emphasized, revealing the pain point.

Matt and Chris – Screaming Infidelities (Dashboard Confessional cover)

For those of you who think that “Screaming Infidelities” should in fact have a little more screaming involved, Matt and Chris deliver. Their version processes grief in a different way, sitting comfortably in the anger stage. Even with a little Blink-182 “Dammit” energy, they still end up sounding earnest by the time the outro comes along.

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