When the powers-that-be asked Dashboard Confessional's frontman if he would pen a tune for the "Spider-Man 2" soundtrack, Chris Carrabba had just one question. And it wasn't about money, deadlines, or a particular feel that they were looking for.
"Do I get to see the movie early?" asked the admitted comic-book geek.
After receiving an affirmative response to his query, the rest was all downhill. "I was a big fan of 'Spider-Man,' the comic-book, and I thought the first movie was brilliant," Carrabba said. "Spider-Man is such an underdog, but he makes good. I always liked that."
Carrabba already had a song in the can when executives from Columbia Records, which released the soundtrack June 22, solicited his contribution. The song probably would have gone over just fine — after all, he'd been told flat-out that it wasn't going to be the soundtrack's single. But after further contemplation, Carrabba changed his mind and asked if he could submit a new song, one that he composed from scratch while the movie was still fresh in his memory. The very next morning, those executives heard "Vindicated," which begins with the very Spidey-inspired first line, "Hope dangles on a string."
"Some songs take a month, some songs take five minutes," Carrabba explained. "This one took about an hour, and that was to write everything. The body of the song was written in about 10 minutes. There might have been something else stepping in to help. It was almost like preordained rock."
Despite what they had told him initially, the label executives, upon hearing "Vindicated," now positioned it as one of the two singles off the soundtrack, along with Train's "Ordinary."
Even if Carrabba's spider-sense gave him a hand in penning the tune swiftly, listeners don't have to have been bitten by a radioactive arachnid to relate to the song.
"When I was watching the movie, I tried to think of it thematically," Carrabba said. "Not just what's going on at this moment, but what are the broad strokes they are painting with here? There were themes of hope and strife and struggle of a young man trying to become a grown man, and rebelling against what he knows he's supposed to be, and what he thinks he would like to be, and all of that. And that, if you remove the superpowers, is a fairly universal theme."
Carrabba has recently wrapped up a tour with Thrice and the Get Up Kids, and aside from an AIDS benefit in Connecticut, a pair of festival shows later this month in Australia and two next month in the U.K., Carrabba and the band will spend the summer writing the follow-up to last year's A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar.
"I've got a lot of songs finished, got a lot of songs half-finished, and I got a lot of songs half-brewing. I'm not sure what the record is going to be yet, it's too soon to tell. The next record is priority #1 for me right now, just because it's the most fun thing for me to do — sit around and write songs. I'm excited that I get to be home for awhile to do that."