Yellowcard
Ocean Avenue


3.5
great

Review

by J. Ponton EMERITUS
December 4th, 2009 | 171 replies


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Yellowcard's Ocean Avenue reaches out and connects with our memories from our youth.

Every now and then, I find myself returning to a collection of songs that recall the memories of my early teenage years. Thoughts, feelings, and the people I knew at the time are brought back to the surface by just clicking on a song title. Sitting back in a chair or even while I’m driving, I relive the days of my youth: angst, sadness, happiness, and all the other emotions those times entailed. The music itself is nothing spectacular – even lacking in depth I could say – but the quality of the music isn’t the reason I come back to these songs. I come back because some artists just have the ability to write the perfectly-fitted song just for when I need to hear it the most. The connection I formed with the music has sense then diminished in strength: I’ve changed, situations change, and the artists themselves change, but there still remains a faint connection from which my memories can follow back to surface in my mind once again. It is a nostalgic connection – no more, no less.

Yellowcard was a band out of Jacksonville, Florida. The band played a catchy and light-hearted form of pop punk that made use of their violinist to a certain extent throughout the music. Ryan Key – the band’s primarly song writer – was quite adept when it came to writing catchy choruses, and while his vocals are an acquired taste, they did seemingly fit the music as they perfectly conveyed the teenage emotions while carrying the songs’ hooks quite suitably.

Ocean Avenue is the band’s major label debut, and thanks to a few successful singles, it is also the band’s most popular album. The first half of this pop punk release is nothing short of exceptional – in terms of the genre – with every song having a distinct feel to it. “Way Away” and “Breathing” roar out of the gate on the onset, displaying a band that is young, passionate, and ready to prove the rest of the world wrong. Longineu W. Parsons III – the band’s drummer - was certainly one of the genre’s best when he was behind the kit, and as these opening tracks display, his fills are truly exceptional and full of energy.

“Ocean Avenue” and “Only One” are the album’s biggest hits, and after just one listen, you can probably guess why. The prior is a timeless anthem, recalling nostalgic memories from not just myself but many people with its lyrics of love, ocean beaches, and the times of the past: ”…we were both 16 and it felt so right, Sleeping all day, staying up all night…” “Only One” is an anthem for the lovesick - particularly those that miss the emotion – and here Ryan displays a great example of a subtle verse build that later leads to an anthem-like belter of a chorus. A violin solo is the highlight of the track that comes in after the second chorus, building the emotions of the track up for one more final release.

Unfortunately, the momentum the band displayed in first half of Ocean Avenue hits a block once “Twenty Three” starts to play through the speakers. These songs aren’t particularly bad on this half of the album; however, it’s just that they uncomfortably settle in the area of the mediocre and contrived. Whether it’s with lyrics like:“Twenty three and you’re still mad at me,” or the unconvincing mourning displayed in “View from Heaven”, the band certainly let down listeners in terms of quality when compared to the first half. That being said, not everything is bad on this side of things. “One Year, Six Months” is the perfect acoustic recall of a relationship; the tone of the guitar and Ryan’s voice make for a stunning pair, and what of “Believe,” the band’s song that is dedicated to 9/11? The track is great as it carries a driving electric violin riff that will have you raising your fist and offering thanks to the firefighters of that fateful day.

When listening to a new band in a genre where it’s increasing difficult to distinguish from one offering to the next, the first half of Ocean Avenue is always one of the first collections of songs that I refer back to in assessing the new music. The songs are nothing short of memorable and full of energy; more importantly for music of this genre though, many of the songs are distinguishable from one another. I can’t help but smile as I remember the days of my youth, and as Ryan’s voice comes through my speakers, I give one up to the old days:

”I'm falling into memories of you and things we used to do..."



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other reviews of this album
DanCry (5)
a poppunk classic in EVERY sense of those words...

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Let go, and there'll be no one who gets the music like you do....

SowingSeason STAFF (5)
To the one who got away....

(3)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Ponton
Emeritus
December 4th 2009


5815 Comments


Here's one for the good ole days.

Digging: Ben Howard - I Forget Where We Were

shortone323
December 4th 2009


883 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Again, good review. I really like the first half of this album, and even though I've moved on to listening to more metal these days, I recently redownloaded this. Ocean Avenue and Way Away are great.

Ponton
Emeritus
December 4th 2009


5815 Comments


Thank you, the first half is definitely great.

Way Away and Believe may be my favorites.

BigHans
December 4th 2009


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I always had a strong connection to "Back Home." It came out when I moved from Minnesota to L.A. And I hated L.A.

Willie
Moderator
December 4th 2009


16131 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nice review. This band is still good. One thing:

I relive the days of my youth: angst, sadness, happiness, and all the emotions those times entailed.
shouldn't it be "and all the other emotions those times entailed" since angst, sadness and happiness are emotions too.

Digging: Kenn Nardi - Dancing With the Past

Ponton
Emeritus
December 4th 2009


5815 Comments


Thank you, and that's a good point. I'll change that.

Sad the band broke up. Anyone here listen to Big If yet? It's the lead singer's new project, and it reminds me of this album's sound a lot.

Willie
Moderator
December 4th 2009


16131 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I didn't know there was another band. I'll have to look into it. I doubt I'll like it as much, though, because the drummer was a big part of why I really liked this band.

Ponton
Emeritus
December 4th 2009


5815 Comments


Yeah they have some demos on their myspace; it's pretty promising stuff.

Oh yeah, Lp is a great drummer. I remember being impressed by the Way Away video when he was playing.

sspedding
December 4th 2009


4780 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I CAN FEEEEEL YOU BREAAAATHING AND ITS KEEEEPING ME AWAKEEE



Digging: Devil Sold His Soul - Belong ? Betray

Willie
Moderator
December 4th 2009


16131 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I have their live DVD and he can really play. Their violin player seems like kind of a tool, though.

Ponton
Emeritus
December 4th 2009


5815 Comments


Yeah, I always thought they could have used him a little more in the songs. He seems kind of like an added gimmick in a way.

Willie
Moderator
December 4th 2009


16131 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I agree that he could have been used a lot more effectively on the music. What I meant, though, was that on stage he seems like kind of a tool.

Knott-
Emeritus
December 4th 2009


10198 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Idk whether he meant tool as in gimmick or tool as in... tool.

Album is good but eclipsed by Lights and Sounds and Paper Walls imo. Back Home rules though.

Ponton
Emeritus
December 4th 2009


5815 Comments


I like Paper Walls, but I'm not a huge fan of Lights and Sounds.

Willie
Moderator
December 4th 2009


16131 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Tool as in Tool... kind of a geek/dork/lack-o-social-skills

I like this album, but the two albums you mentioned are definitely more fleshed out... more complete.

Ponton
Emeritus
December 4th 2009


5815 Comments


You have the other two rated lower. Idk, Lights and Sounds was okay, but I really think the band should have stayed along the line of this album as far as sound goes. There's definitely ways they could have refined it and made it better.

shortone323
December 4th 2009


883 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This > Paper Walls > Lights and Sounds

Nothing too catchy for me on Lights and Sounds.

Willie
Moderator
December 4th 2009


16131 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

You have the other two rated lower.
I should have said that I like this album more, even though the other two albums are definitely more complete.

Ponton
Emeritus
December 4th 2009


5815 Comments


This > Paper Walls > Lights and Sounds


I agree, though Paper Walls is close.

Oh, now I get what you mean.


EVedder27
December 4th 2009


6088 Comments


well done man, pos. Think I've heard Way Away before.



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