Review Summary: The album that set the stage for Yellowcard's future masterpieces. A must hear in this band's development and growth.
Paper Walls holds a unique spot in Yellowcard’s excellent discography. The last album before their hiatus, poorly promoted by their label, and viewed by many as a commercial flop. However, this album is easily one of the most important and brilliant works of their career. This album is the birth of what Yellowcard is now: a phenomenal band that seems to get better and better with each release.
There is a distinct stylistic change between this album and their previous output on One for the Kids, Ocean Avenue, and Lights and Sounds. On this album they synthesize the frenetic energy of the earlier albums with the aggression and deeper lyrical qualities of Lights and Sounds to create a new sound. There is another addition to Yellowcard’s tool belt present in this album for the first time: the riffs. Oh sweet Jesus the riffs on this album! The riffs are incredible. This album is like a punk guitar lover’s wet dream. Almost every song has unique beautiful guitar riffs that stick in your brain long after the songs end.
The album starts out brilliantly with “Takedown.” It comes out swinging and lets you know that you’re in for something new. Easily one of the best opening songs on a Yellowcard album, “Takedown” really shows off the awesome interplay between the violin and the guitars. “Fighting” has one of the catchiest guitar parts on the entire album with a sweet bridge filled with plenty of “whoas” that make you want to sing along as loud as you can. From there the album keeps satisfying with great song after great song. My personal favorite song on the album is “Cut Me, Mick.” This song has a meaty riff that is incredibly epic. The bridge in this song has one guitar playing the main riff while another harmonizes right under it. It is one of the many moments of musical brilliance on this album that takes your breath away.
If possible, try and track down the bonus track “Bombers.” When you hear this song you will wonder why it was not released on the album. It is not only an excellent track, but also one of the greatest tracks the band has ever written.
I could go on and on and write a paragraph for why each individual song is great, but I’m not going to do that. Instead I’m going to say just listen to the whole thing. It is a truly great album that was not appreciated properly when it was first released but has grown to be a fan favorite.
This album laid the groundwork for everything that Yellowcard would become today. The two albums they have released since their reformation have expanded upon many of the skills and ideas first put on display on this album. Is it my absolute favorite Yellowcard album? No, - that title has to go to it’s follow up When You’re Through Thinking, Say Yes – but this is one hell of an album that set the stage for what was to come. It is a can’t miss and masterpiece of modern punk-pop music.
Honestly the entire album is a must download, but if you have to just get a few I strongly recommend:
Light Up the Sky
Cut Me, Mick
Bombers (Bonus Track)