Yellowcard
Paper Walls


5.0
classic

Review

by Atari STAFF
May 3rd, 2023 | 37 replies


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: 5 everything

I didn’t really disclose it to anyone yet, but I adopted a new method for when to give an album the sacred 5 rating: that classic score that stirs up endless debate and claims so many copy/paste victims. To get this sought-after number, an album simply needs to be perfect in my eyes at any specific point in time. That’s it. I’m not concerned with how I’ll feel in a year or two; once it passes that barrier of personal importance, it will always have that special place in my sentimental heart.

I think maybe theacademy had it right all along. Over ten years ago – during my awkwardly naïve beginnings – I couldn’t wrap my mind around why he 5’d so many albums. I remember sending him a shout asking why he slapped a perfect rating on virtually anything. His response has stayed with me to this day. I’m paraphrasing here, but I know he said something very close to this: music rating is subjective and pointless outside of “I don’t like this, this is sh*t" and “I really dig this!” The bottom line: if you dig an album, it’s a 5. If you don’t, it’s a 1. To be honest, adopting this method for rating would make things a whole lot easier.

Exactly one week ago, during the final stretch of a long work week, Yellowcard’s Paper Walls was – intensely, convincingly – perfect. And, really, that’s all that matters. I used to put so much thought into what criteria makes up the workings of a 5, but that powerful connection between the music and listener is everything no matter how brief. Though as I write this – Papers Walls blasting through the speakers at full volume as my personal therapy for two consecutive Thursday’s – I can’t help but wonder how brief my connection to the album will really be.

It’s funny how I don’t exactly choose my reviews at this point. It didn’t used to be this way back in 2012 when I was posting reviews almost every day without putting much thought into them. Being a bit generous, I'd say I had about as much self-control as, let's say, Skeletor. I’m still a flawed writer – we all are – but one thing I can’t do anymore is force a review just for the sake of writing one. When I’m feeling passionate, it just kind of happens. I was just dicking around on Sputnik and decided to binge some Yellowcard based on Sowing’s Lights and Sounds review and bada bing, bada boom. I had to express how much staying power Paper Walls has.

Over the years, my favorite tracks on Papers Walls have shifted. I used to be all about “Shadows and Regrets.” It’s fine I guess, but I probably wouldn’t be writing this review if it wasn’t for the insanely upbeat and stellar opening trio of tracks. As the stress from my fourth 10-hour shift melts away, “The Takedown” completely revitalizes me with its driving guitars and extra dose of energy. It’s an epic, convincing rocker that just gets better every time I hear it. By the time the opening track hits the midway point, my outlook had taken a swift 180 turn; the night is young, and it feels good to be alive. “Fighting” and “Shrink the World” keep the momentum going and seal the deal for the strongest opening run of tracks on a Yellowcard album. Prove me wrong.

Sixteen years since its release, Paper Walls has only continued to win me over: a thriving companion on many spring evenings and just as many autumn nights. With the swiftness of a switch, it became very important to me, and trying to even identify its flaws became a pointless exercise. These are the moments in music I live for; listening to this album makes me want to light up the fu*king sky.



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user ratings (664)
3.6
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Atari
Staff Reviewer
May 3rd 2023


27973 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Wrote the vast majority of this in 2020 minus a couple tweaks. Felt like the right time.. for reasons



Also, if you clicked on this review expecting it to be Sowing, take a drink 🥃

SomeCallMeTim
May 3rd 2023


4127 Comments


*pops bottle*

pizzamachine
May 3rd 2023


27223 Comments


Nice journal entry. I remember the good old days with theacademy, miss those days.

Storm In A Teacup
May 3rd 2023


45780 Comments


Acad was right (*)

Atari
Staff Reviewer
May 3rd 2023


27973 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

ya he's a legend



pizzamachine
May 3rd 2023


27223 Comments


U too

AsleepInTheBack
Staff Reviewer
May 3rd 2023


10209 Comments


Shit. *has sip of coffee*

Great words here pos 5ing freely without inducing anxiety balls in my chest a mysterious art that I would like to learn

Storm In A Teacup
May 3rd 2023


45780 Comments


Maybe you should try 4.5ing everything and see how your stomach feels.

AsleepInTheBack
Staff Reviewer
May 3rd 2023


10209 Comments


4.7 everything is my current vibe #flex

BitterJalapenoJr
Contributing Reviewer
May 3rd 2023


1029 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The guitar solo on The Takedown is arguably one of the finest in pop punk.

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
May 3rd 2023


60476 Comments


ngl that first para esp terrifies me in a v specific way and reminds me v actively of a time soon after I'd moved back from Japan and was living in my folks' house, which they were getting ready to sell - my mum had used all my boxes of old shit to make it look like a Real Presentable Person lived there in a way that catered to the family mythology of the rest of the house (the room having previously been a shell), and so a bunch of toddler photos, all my undergrad european arthouse films and pynchon/foster wallace/barthelme tomes, a bunch of 12 y/o abominations from art class, several highly unfortunate art nouveau and/or gothic inspired eBay reapings from my late teens, too many fucking guitars, a 10+ yr long CD collection that basically acted as a microcosm of this wider Gist (p sure Atreyu could have been jowl to jowl with the Avalanches) and so on ---- all this shit was displayed prominently and with full parity, and it gave me the most horrendous uncanny valley effect. not even in embarrassment for past taste crimes (that sense was maybe the cutest part tbh), but just seeing that kind of museumification of most of my life made me feel really deeply alienated from the person I thought I'd emerged from it as and the way I wanted to express myself as such. phases and moments like that aren't meant to endure and it struck me as morbid to memorialise them regardless

which may or may not be relevant to the feelings underpinning this review in the slightest lol, but yeah the idea of treating every Meaningful Connection With Music as canon to every other you ever experience freaks me out and seems to fly in the face of ye all-important Inevitable Personal Development, but power to you if that's what does it

conversely, it's just occurred to me that the metaphor I'm probs most comfortable with for the 5slist is the Wardrobe (this from someone who buys new clothes rarely but with reasonable care, throws them out only when they rip or have remained unworn to the point that they're forgotten, and trusts in the strength his currently available selection to save him the bother of overthinking what to wear on any given day). go Marie Kondo on that shit! hmm tbc

Sowing
Moderator
May 3rd 2023


43955 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

A few takeaways from this review:

1. Yes! An Atari review!

2. And it's of a Yellowcard album? Fuck yes.

3. It's a great and clearly inspired review.

4. Might check the box for "most internal sput references" and I'm totally down with it

5. I share your affinity for Paper Walls, and also agree with what BitterJ said about the guitar solo.



Also, on a separate note, did anything see what the band posted a week ago? https://twitter.com/Yellowcard/status/1651271208011288576?s=20

Now, they've been gearing up for a shit ton of touring in relation to Ocean Avenue's 20th anniversary, but based on all the comments clamoring for new music, then IF that's all it is then the post really failed to read the room. To me, it seems to suggest something is in the works on the recording front, which may very well be true. =D

Atari
Staff Reviewer
May 3rd 2023


27973 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

@pizza, don't make me blush, kind sir! I'm diet coke, you're OG



@Asleep: cheers!! and nice to see a fellow coffee drinker ;)



@BitterJalapenoJr: YES. it's so damn good. have no idea why it took so many spins before it dawned on me just how perfect that intro track is

pizzamachine
May 3rd 2023


27223 Comments


I’m Dr. Pepper, confirmed! :D

Sunnyvale
Staff Reviewer
May 3rd 2023


5903 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice review Atari! And yes, I clicked on this assuming it was a Sowing writeup.

Sowing
Moderator
May 3rd 2023


43955 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I clicked on it thinking it was a Sowing write up as well

pizzamachine
May 3rd 2023


27223 Comments


I clicked on it and it was a Sowing writeup.

Pikazilla
May 3rd 2023


29778 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

if I could find you now things would get better

BitterJalapenoJr
Contributing Reviewer
May 3rd 2023


1029 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Bought this CD in 07 but it (along with countless others) never made it out of my parents' house when I moved out a few years later. Spinning now and nostalgia levels are through the roof.

Atari
Staff Reviewer
May 3rd 2023


27973 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

@Johnny, was tied up with work but you do raise some points here that make for some interesting discussion! full disclosure here: I don't necessarily follow all the "rules" or criteria if you will for 5'ing an album mentioned in this review. I have plenty of albums that previously had that honor and no longer do. this is mainly due to multiple rating wipes during my time here. but I've ultimately decided that starting from scratch is a bit silly since anything I give that magical score to from here on out is still a good representation of albums that have had a powerful impact on me during my time here – specifically in my adult life. As someone in the 30+ age category, my gut instinct is (somewhat) more accurate than it was at 15 since I’ve now spent so many years figuring out exactly what I want out of my music.



This probably wasn't very clear in my "review", but I certainly don't 5 any album that has any sort of personal significance to me. I'm a sentimental guy so if I did that then most my ratings would basically fall into that category... lolz. I simply go by feel. the album has to go above and beyond that typical personal connection I get with a lot of music to the point where I just feel something different inside that can't really be put into words. with no shock to anyone, I don't bother much with negative ratings or albums I don't enjoy, but I'd like to think I'm still somewhat picky about handing out a 5/5. I’m just done with overthinking it like I used to in the past and wanting to revamp my ratings. I either get that special, irreplaceable feeling or I don’t. final note: I sorta think personal development within the realm of music taste is unavoidable based on how much music you listen to. an album that might have been a 5 to me just two years ago might not hit me with the same impact if I’ve heard over a handful of albums like it since.



tl;dr version: I just try not to overthink it and go with my gut. and the above is full of contradictions.







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