Yellowcard
When You're Through Thinking, Say Yes


4.0
excellent

Review

by Knott- EMERITUS
March 21st, 2011 | 43 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The codification of a language we call Youth.

When language emerges from the diverse range of factors and pre-existing conditions that spawned it, we call it the process of language selection. The idea is not that any committee of people do said selecting, but that, amid a fractured mess of volatile possibilities and blurred borders, one mindset and set of ideas finds itself out in front of all others, and exponentially grows to take precedence. Almost all organic languages take form in the first instance in a way which appears accidental, but it is far more complex than a random lottery; it's a matter of making the most of cultural and individual turmoil so as to develop a consistent means of communication between like-minded or similarly positioned people.

In this way and many more, Yellowcard's 2003 album Ocean Avenue was unwittingly the selection of a language. In among the violins and flawed honesty of Ryan Key's lyrics we saw opportunities created and opportunities missed in the details of the melodramatic teenage lives the band portrayed so grittily. It could not be argued that Ocean Avenue was a deliberate affair; it was far too imperfect for that accusation to stand, even in its impact on the very people with whom it opened up that very volatile and messy discourse, that generation of hopelessly romantic and indisputably angsty teenagers from all corners of the world. The advantage that Ocean Avenue had on most languages is that geography was not a limiting factor.

But the languages most people know are not those raw templates etched out in the early days of new tongues; what ends up being spoken is considerably more refined than that, developed by a process we call codification; think of the Académie Française, which structures and defines the French language with alarming frequency. What happens when a language is codified, though, is unusual, because in most if not all situations, it results in a marked loss of charm and personality from the original essence of a language; the fluidity and volatility is essentially stripped out, leaving something considerably more stable, certainly, but at the same time more rigid.

And in case it's not yet apparent, that's what When You're Through Thinking, Say Yes is to the language of Youth; the codification, the development of rules and standards and the comprehensive definition of that dialect we've been speaking ever since the crunchy powerchords of Ocean Avenue, right through the ideological slant of Lights And Sounds to the more mature and self-conscious Paper Walls. In this regard, Say Yes is a summation, sure, of what came before it - it pushes the violin back towards the core of Yellowcard's sound, and it returns to the almost-naïve, almost-profound lyrical slant of days gone by, all whilst continuing to gently grow up. It captures the sonic essence of that language: the delicate touches of balladry in Hang You Up and Sing To Me; the punchy walls of guitar in See Me Smiling; the anthemic, sing-along qualities of Be The Young. And it nails it thematically, too; break-ups and self-reflection abound.

All of this makes Say Yes inherently and crucially the same dialect spoken by the Yellowcard of old, only slightly more aware of its role in sounding like Yellowcard. There are no mistakes like 'Two Weeks From Twenty', no breathtaking risks like 'Holly Wood Died', and very few strange quirks to navigate like the spoken-word sections of 'Dear Bobbie'. Instead, Say Yes is a blistering journey through stories of wanting and waiting and wondering, played out above cascades of pop-punk guitars and meandering violin hooks. This is what codification means and requires: a rehashing of even the most basic elements of the language - Saves The Day records, for example - all the way through to an expression of the most elaborate tenets.

When the kids reach for someone to talk to, the question is this: will they prefer the awkward and flawed but integrally visceral language of Ocean Avenue, or the refined and more calculated, but still hopelessly idealistic, register of Say Yes? I'm tempted to say that in the heat of the moment a majority will opt for the former, but the latter has a place to occupy, too. When a band's discography is as broadly appealing and consistent as Yellowcard's is, it's good to have somewhere at hand a succinct and excellent summary of what it means to be Yellowcard. That Say Yes very rarely feels like a dilution of those characteristics is as fine a tribute as can be paid. Think of it as the fluent and slightly less awkward expression of Ocean Avenue's thoughts; slightly less endearing for its condensed and restricted nature, but nevertheless an absolute joy to listen.




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user ratings (658)
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Knott-
Emeritus
March 22nd 2011


10230 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA



this is probably the most pretentious thing ive ever written and it's about YELLOWCARD



still, it's all true



(zing, 3 in a row!)

Ovrot
March 22nd 2011


13304 Comments


3 in a row!
You win a balloon.

couldwinarabbit
March 22nd 2011


6996 Comments


this is awesome, but I thought it read lower than a 4.

cvlts
March 22nd 2011


9670 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

way to rape the english language on this one.









but basically everything you say on this is what i think. i'm just diggin this way to hard.

Digging: END (NJ) - Splinters From An Ever-Changing Face

Knott-
Emeritus
March 22nd 2011


10230 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

YAY FOR BALLOONS



i wondered about that miles



oh well

iFghtffyrdmns
March 22nd 2011


7044 Comments


gonna write a review for this record within the next 3 minutes without having listened to it just so I can be fourth in a row and get the biggest cookie of all!

Knott-
Emeritus
March 22nd 2011


10230 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i think you meant fucking balloon

SowingSeason
Moderator
March 22nd 2011


34926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Can I get the Cliff Notes version of this review? It went way over my head.



Nah jk man, this is extremely well written. I never would have thought to make Yellowcard this complicated, but you didn't write this just for the sake of being complex; it actually makes total sense. Easy pos.

Digging: Bob Dylan - Rough and Rowdy Ways

Knott-
Emeritus
March 22nd 2011


10230 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Haha, thanks man. The actual essence of my point isn't that complicated really, a lot of the review is just elaboration on a single point.



We use SparkNotes over here ; )

Irving
Emeritus
March 22nd 2011


7499 Comments


I feel like attributing the soul of human communication and understanding is not befitting of any music album - let alone a Yellowcard one. But this was a different read and I miss you lots so yeah, pos.

Also, I note that the phrase think of the Académie Française contains a strange lack of black diamonds.

Irving
Emeritus
March 22nd 2011


7499 Comments


Damn Americans and their Cliff Notes.

SowingSeason
Moderator
March 22nd 2011


34926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Irving where have you been all my life.



And by that I mean the past 2 weeks.

Irving
Emeritus
March 22nd 2011


7499 Comments


I missed you too Sowing =(

To answer your question: I have been really busy with university work, French volunteering, and debate tournaments these past two weeks. I also went to the States for a seminar (it was my first time in Washington DC - twas a very pretty place =) ).

But I'm back now. And seriously look forward to trying to put out my 40th review by this weekend. My Beauty and the Beast avatar has been up for so long it's starting to go stale lol.

Knott-
Emeritus
March 22nd 2011


10230 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks Irving :D



I feel like attributing the soul of human communication and understanding is not befitting of any music album




I wholeheartedly disagree and resent your backhanded snipe at Yellowcard :P.



I would suggest that few things come closer to epitomising raw human communication (removed from social constraint) than overwhelmed teenage diary entries.

Irving
Emeritus
March 22nd 2011


7499 Comments


I would suggest that few things come closer to epitomising raw human communication (removed from social constraint) than overwhelmed teenage diary entries.

Hmm. Sort of makes sense when you put it that way. I'll forgive you this time then ;)

And for the record (hmm, pun?) - I don't mind Yellowcard at all; Lights and Sounds was actually the second CD I ever bought (the first being Incubus' Light Grenades).

Knott-
Emeritus
March 22nd 2011


10230 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice. That's still my most-played album ever on last.fm; it's not accurate because it didn't work for a long period of time and I stopped using iTunes sometime last autumn but still, a good effort.

Irving
Emeritus
March 22nd 2011


7499 Comments


That's still my most-played album ever on last.fm

Are you referring to Lights and Sounds or Light Grenades, Knott?

Choose wisely.

Knott-
Emeritus
March 22nd 2011


10230 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The former!

Irving
Emeritus
March 22nd 2011


7499 Comments


Removing you from my Facebook account now! :p

Knott-
Emeritus
March 22nd 2011


10230 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

album is the easiest thing to listen to ever. it's like 14 tracks(?) and once youve started the title track its damn hard to turn off!



and please don't do that irving : (



if i lose you,



i don't know




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