Yellowcard
Yellowcard


4.5
superb

Review

by Shamus248 USER (79 Reviews)
August 10th, 2019 | 29 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An incredible farewell from the best pop punk band of all time.

I honestly had just hopped on the Yellowcard bandwagon when I initially laid ears on and reviewed this album. I was obviously familiar with the band's work; let's face it, Ocean Avenue was inescapable in its heyday. But for the longest time, Yellowcard was merely a blip on the radar, which is somewhat reflective of their status within the larger pop punk genre. A devoted fan base kept them alive and well through several more album cycles, but they never got quite the airplay they deserved. Nevertheless, Ryan Key and company trekked forward. From the grown up but unrequited romanticism of When You're Through Thinking, Say Yes to the fully realized maturation of Southern Air, they churned out some all-time great pop punk material. When they announced they would release one more album before breaking up, I decided it was finally time to dive into their catalog. Of course, the bulk of it utterly captivated me, but not quite the way their eponymous farewell did.

As emotionally heavy as Yellowcard could be through the years, it arguably came to a head with this album. Any vestiges of the hopeless romantic Ryan Key once screamed his lungs out about being were long gone. Here, we find a man beckoned by the growing importance of family and settling down. And it translates into some of the most heavy hearted lyrics Key ever penned. "Rest in Peace" cautiously glides in to open the album before erupting with the familiar mix of guitars, drums and violins. The instrumental itself is relatively upbeat, but it's in support of an introspective Ryan Key, urging a nameless companion to put the past behind them. "If this was the last time that we would ever speak, could we forgive somehow, could we let it rest in peace"" he ponders.

"What Appears" is among a handful of tracks that call back to the group's past work. Lyrically, Ryan Key still doesn't seem fully at peace after all. "I'm still out here looking for answers," he proclaims. "A Place We Set Afire" remains my favorite off this album. The traditional pop punk sound explodes with plenty of spank and kick to it, but it's on here that the weight of the lyrical content begins to overshadow it. Here, Ryan Key illustrates the importance of acceptance and moving on. "We don't have to say goodbye, but we can't get lost in time," he reluctantly admits.

"Leave a Light On" is carried by bulky piano fills that largely play as a gasp for air before Yellowcard enters its second half. But it spares no expense to add to the melancholy of it all. "Come home, the lights are on," Ryan Key cries out, possibly from the perspective of a family longing for him to leave the spotlight behind and settle down. "The Hurt is Gone" employs some ominous synths and basslines as the final batch of Yellowcard compositions gets underway. Silky guitar work from Ryan Mendez and empathic bass from Josh Portman remain a perfect pairing, as Ryan Key continues to come to grips with the finality that's in his midst. "Change comes for you, even if you're hiding out," he sings. Sean Mackin's violin eerily joins in during the bridge of the song and it will surely reappear as the end approaches.

As the album nears its conclusion, we begin to see hints of the kind of sound Ryan Key has undertaken as a solo artist. It perhaps foreshadows what he wanted to do for a long time. "I'm a Wrecking Ball" is the best exemplar of this. "On these shelves, I keep my family. In this bed, I watch them fall asleep," he sings amidst some distortion and other vocal alterations that pervade through the track. But everything comes to a head on the album's grand finale, "Fields and Fences." Heavy string arrangements carry the track through its first few minutes as Ryan Key looks back on what has been. "I still remember the reasons I write," he sings reflectively. But he also reinforces his yearning to stop being "the star of the show" and move on with his life. With Yellowcard's career slowly closing the book, this track erupts into one last barrage of drums, electric guitars and of course, Sean Mackin's crying violin. Ryan Key says goodbye to the listener with something that for me personally, is emblematic of my relationship with Yellowcard's music, particularly as someone who was never a longtime fan;

"I don't have much that I can give to you but, I know I love the way you make me feel like I'm at home and I am not alone."

With those incredibly purposeful words of goodbye, Yellowcard closed the book on their final album and their twenty year career. I wish I could say I was there when Ocean Avenue catapulted the band into stardom or even during their triumphant return at the turn of the decade. I am thankful, however, that I still took the time to delve deep into their discography, because there is nothing like it and there never will be again. From youthful and innocent lyrics about longing for love, to growing up and learning the meaning of home and family, there is something quite special about the story they took listeners on. All we can do is carry the summery hope and optimism Yellowcard gave us into our lives and enjoy our time on this earth. Because we would all do well to live life as fulfilled as Ryan Key and crew did during their time as a group. Thank you, Yellowcard. You'll never know how real to me you've been.



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user ratings (288)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
SowingSeason STAFF (5)
It was the best that you could be for me....

Slowburner (5)
When I finally lay down to sleep......

QuinnObropta (5)
Goodbye, Yellowcard....

pkrhawk7 (4)
Yellowcard's adventure may be coming to a close, but ours are just beginning....



Comments:Add a Comment 
Shamus248
August 10th 2019


445 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Giving another one of YC's masterpieces a much needed rewrite. CC is welcome.

ian b
August 10th 2019


438 Comments


“best pop punk band of all time”
wooaaahhh there, hold yr horses cowboy

Digging: Touche Amore - Dead Horse X

Shamus248
August 10th 2019


445 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Sowing will vouch for me on that lol

joshieboy
August 10th 2019


6845 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Superb review dude. These guys finished their career the right way making such great records.

Digging: The Dangerous Summer - Mother Nature

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
August 10th 2019


9926 Comments


Is this a Sowing summoning party?

Lucman
August 10th 2019


3084 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

“best pop punk band of all time”

'wooaaahhh there, hold yr horses cowboy'



He's not wrong. incredible review. This band means so much to me so hearing how they've affected the lives of others always makes me happy.

3waycrash
August 10th 2019


255 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Nice to still see some love for this band. Great review! Band is an all-time favorite for me, and as mentioned above it's great hearing how they've impacted the lives of others too.

Pikazilla
August 10th 2019


2276 Comments


This band is miles better than Menzingers and all that other new wave pop punk nonsense

SowingSeason
Moderator
August 10th 2019


31928 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Great write up. The lyrical passages you chose are some of the very best, too. They're my favorite pop punk band of all-time and they've always managed to release albums during critical junctures in my life (OA was my first relationship, L&S first breakup, Paper Walls starting college, WYTTSY first real job, SA met my wife, LaS was my wedding, s/t bought a house and settled down). The emotional ties are all too real.

My favorite songs here are A Place We Set Afire and Fields & Fences, although Savior's Robes is straight fire and for some reason always gets a raw deal when discussing the best on the album. After those three it's What Appears, Rest in Peace, and Got Yours all in a similar tier. The slower stuff only resonates with me anymore when I'm specifically in the mood for it, but the album is still basically perfect. Southern Air remains my all time YC album though - it's like an Ocean Avenue for grown ups. Nothing can beat the summer vibes and desperate emotion of that record; I can still close my eyes while listening to Sleep In The Snow and taste the air from August 2012.

Digging: Off With Their Heads - Be Good

Pnkr0cker
August 10th 2019


2 Comments


Yellowcard will always be the best pop/punk band - and even one of the most underrated rock bands in general in my eyes. They did away with the tropyness that still plagues almost ever pop punk band very early on in their career (if you think a song is about a girl, it probably isn't.). The mixing is phenomenal and better than most rock bands even today (in large part thanks to Neal Avron; everything he touches on gold.)

They also pushed boundaries of the genre sonically too. They could have very easily went the same route as Fall Out Boy and P!atD with Lift a Sail, they instead made a pop/rock album that was every bit of rock as it was pop. Rivertown blues has a guitar solo straight up inspired by John Petrucci of DREAM THEATRE. This band literally has a song for everybody, and the quality of each song and album has never wavered.


SowingSeason
Moderator
August 10th 2019


31928 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Agreed on all counts. Band gave it everything they had and was only marginally appreciated for their contributions to the genre.

Gyromania
August 10th 2019


28202 Comments


These guys are awesome but i much prefer Greencard

Pikazilla
August 10th 2019


2276 Comments


Are you Mexican

SitarHero
Contributing Reviewer
August 10th 2019


10359 Comments


Yes. His real name is Ricky Ricardo.

Pikazilla
August 10th 2019


2276 Comments


Gyro Garcia Mania

SymbolicInTime
August 10th 2019


4741 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"Best pop punk band of all time"



Hard to argue with that honestly

sharkmsc
August 10th 2019


225 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Agreed on Sleep in the snow Sowing, holy shit. I don't have the same banner moments in life aligning with album releases, but I had deep relationships with each album in the car in my 6 disc changer, as the years went by. Easily more than any band too.

Shamus248
August 10th 2019


445 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I wish I had a story like Sowing's, but basically my story with YC goes like this (crammed into 2 years.) They announce their breakup, I pass up the chance to see them on Warped Tour '16..I check out the s/t..they play their last show, compelling me to finally check out some OA deep cuts..WYTTSY captivated me after I randomly stumbled upon it in an FYE..Paper Walls and L&S soon followed. Finally, this past spring, Southern Air saw me through the beginning of a relationship and the ugly breakup...and last week, Ryan Key came to my hometown of Scranton PA for a show...he sang "Hang You Up", "California" and ofc Ocean Ave..I got to meet him, take a pic with him and he signed my copy of Southern Air...was one of the best nights of my life...i'm foaming @ the mouth at this point but I can't express enough how much YC has done for me in just 2 years..i can only imagine what 15+ years is like for Sowing and others.

Lucman
August 10th 2019


3084 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

My story with the band is condensed in a single year. I first started listening to them last year not long before an incredible day out with my best friend. They became the immediate soundtrack for me then and they've continued to soundtrack plenty of moments in my life since. I think, above all, this past year has been pretty rough so YC has just been like that friend who's constantly there to provide some sunshine and warmth. And Southern Air is one of the most relatable pop-punk albums I've ever heard. It's my punk album of the decade and one of the most important records to me in the last, well, ten years.

Shamus248
August 11th 2019


445 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

That's fuckin awesome. I love hearing stories like this. YC was so great at being emblematic of our lives and being a source of hope and optimism...they're definitely one of my favorite bands of all time.



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