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Yellowcard – Yellowcard

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Melody Bot, Dec 1, 2016.

  1. Melody Bot

    Your friendly little forum bot. Staff Member

    This article has been imported from for discussion. All of the forum rules still apply.

    With goodbye comes reflection. This reflection is often bittersweet as it drifts between that which has filled us with joy and that which has caused us pain. There’s a cauterization of once open wounds that necessitates a search for meaning in the steps that led us here. And it’s within this reflection that we try and attach understanding to our history. Why does saying goodbye make us feel this way? What is it about this specific action that leads to an emotional cluster-fuck? A perceptible and undeniable bond between love and sadness? I keep asking myself these questions as I prepare to say goodbye to one of the best bands that ever came from our music scene. A band that has soundtracked my highs, soundtracked my lows, and has been a constant musical mirror to the love, and sadness, that life has brought. As I walk into this realization, I can’t help but reflect on just how many of my goodbyes have been punctuated by a Yellowcard song. Goodbye to friends, goodbye to family, goodbye to relationships, goodbye to states, goodbye to innocence, goodbye to youth. And with that I realize that I don’t want to become numb to goodbyes. I want them to sting. I want them to hurt. I want the goodbye to be a remembrance of everything that led to that moment. Yellowcard’s final self-titled album is that pinprick. It’s that puncture against the consciousness that reminds me why I listen to music, it’s the melodic pull that has dominated my life for all these years. It’s between this intense feeling of familiar and new that I find the closing Yellowcard album lays itself to rest.

    I’ve spent the last 15 years of my life growing with this band. It’s almost impossible for me to look at their final album through any other lens. See, that’s the thing about Yellowcard. The core of why they resonated with so many fans is because they gave us an outlet for a feeling, and they found a way to inject that emotion into our speakers. They found a way to communicate through that sensation that rushes down your spine when you find that perfect song to describe how you’re feeling. What they have given us are fantastic melodies over lyrics that feel pulled from nights you wish you could forget but can’t escape. They combine interesting guitar parts, an undeniable ear for song structure and melody, and they will leave with a catalog of music that should be the envy of virtually every band that’s graced our music scene. Closing the door on their career, they walk away on their own terms with an album that encapsulates everything that cements them as unforgettable.

    When a band goes self-titled it’s usually to make a statement. To say this is who we are and this is the music we want to define us. Over the course of 48 minutes Yellowcard puts together a collection of songs that showcase everything that I’ve ever loved about the band. But they do it in a way that feels wholly familiar and yet surprisingly fresh. This is a band that built their fanbase in the pop-punk world, but has always flirted on the outskirts of the alternative rock sound. If Lift a Sail was an album shaped as a dream, this one feels like waking up with cloudy eyes and sore joints. There’s a mixture of pain and acceptance, but an underlying measure of hope within these songs. The conviction of turning a page, but with the scars of paper cuts nestled upon your finger tips. The album says goodbye, in tone and theme, but finds a way to lead you on that journey by pushing up against a nostalgic acceptance of where you’ve been. Saying goodbye is rarely easy, but by the time the final note plays I find myself understanding its inevitability.

    While the themes of this album are undeniably about saying goodbye, and moving forward, songs like “Got Yours” act as bridge between the Yellowcard we’ve known from early albums and their final. The chorus delivery comes quick and feels like the cousin of “For You, And Your Denial.” The drums and guitars dominate as Ryan belts:

    Maybe it all comes out right here
    What I couldn’t say to you for fear, of telling true, what I need from you
    Maybe I lose you after-all
    There is nothing left for us to call home, I am sure
    I got mine, you got yours

    It’s biting, cynical, and the kind of song that would fit perfectly on any early Tony Hawk video game soundtrack. It moves into one of the best songs on the album, “A Place We Set Afire,” which shows the band taking what they reached for on Lift a Sail and pulling it back just a tad. If this song were to appear on that album it would have been flourished with electronic elements and possibly suffered from the extra weight. Instead it’s within this restraint that the song shines. It perfectly summarizes everything we’ve come to love about Yellowcard while standing on its own to become a new classic on a shelf with just enough room for one more.

    While the soft piano ballad, “Leave a Light On,” has one of my favorite chorus melodies on the album, it’s the counterpart, “I’m a Wrecking Ball,” that doesn’t quite work for me. Part of that is because I am ready to retire every metaphor related to “wrecking balls” and “cannon balls” from lyrics. I think the song’s fine, but it doesn’t hit me in the same way other similar songs from the band have in the past. It doesn’t bring the album down, but I do find myself drifting a little bit each time I listen.

    One of the songs I’ve had the most difficult time trying to pin down is “Savior’s Robes.” It’s a song that I am immediately drawn to, with a fast, driving pace and an undeniable hook. It’s been a highlight of all my listens; however, it sits as the penultimate track on the final album from the band, and therefore it brings with it an incontestable burden. The lyrics are harsh, almost bitter, and it carries with it a tinge of “fuck you” that I wasn’t expecting to close out the record. It’s a song I like, but question if it would have been better served earlier in the sequence, or maybe even as a b-side to the album. It does, however, propel us into the final song, “Fields & Fences.”

    I was unsure what expectations, the heaviness of 15 years following the band, and my own relationship with an entire catalog of songs would bring upon me as I listened to this one for the first time. I find the song powerful, emotional, and resonate. It encapsulates how far the band’s come from their first few albums to now. It ebbs, flows, and works itself from its humble beginnings to an enthralling conclusion. Taking its time to build and earn the emotional orchestral fade. It’s an instant classic in a catalog full of memorable music and a powerful conclusion to a band that has had to earn every moment of their now storied career.

    For a band that was written off as “just another pop-punk band” early in their career, I’ve loved watching Yellowcard put together one of the more impressive runs we’ve seen in this music scene. I’m unsure if this is an album that will define the band. But that’s not their fault. It’s a testament to the career they’ve had, to the albums they’ve created, and to the memories forever etched alongside those songs they played. I think that for many we’ll always define an artist by the album that got us into the band, or the album that took them to a new level. For many that may never move away from Ocean Avenue, for others it’ll be the pop-punk perfection of Paper Walls, and for me I think I’ve come to realize that Southern Air is just about as pristine Yellowcard as you can get. But what this self-titled album does is sturdily bookend their career. It’s an album that is undeniably Yellowcard, undeniably bold, and it pushes forward with what the band can do with their sound. It reaches outward and showcases not only Ryan Key’s vocal control, but his underrated songwriting ability. It highlights one of the band’s defining features, the violin, and uses it in a cinematic fashion that gives the album just the right amount of panache.

    Yellowcard may be known to the mainstream as that pop-punk band with the violin that once had a few hit songs. For some, that’s the only line on their biography. To me, that’s only the beginning. I understand, you can’t talk about Yellowcard without talking about what they did with Ocean Avenue, but I’ll remember the band for what they did after they conquered radio and MTV. Where they became better songwriters. Where they pushed their sound in directions many bands are too timid to try. Where they became classic.

    I can’t stop thinking about how we judge Yellowcard in a strange way. If this album was released by another band, it would be one of the most hyped “new” releases of the year. Many of us would be losing our minds over it. But, because of how Yellowcard has become something different to so many people, and have lived within those expectations for so long, it’s almost impossible for that bar to be met. Instead we project what we want into the band and don’t listen to what they are. This album is going to be one I find myself putting on for years to come and thinking about everything that led to its creation, to it becoming what it is, to Yellowcard becoming the band they ended up being. I’ll play back pictures in my head of sitting at my friend’s piano with Ryan and Pete Mosley and singing oldies over bad wine and hilarious discussions of the next generation of pop-punk and the future of music. I’ll remember the band members that are no longer in the band. The first time I got an email from Warren. The phone calls with Ben. Sitting in a bar with Sean while he told me he had the same cancer as my mom. How do you listen to a band that’s been a staple of your life and not project something more onto them? How do you walk into their music and not want, no, need it to be something more? How do you find a way to just … listen and attempt objectivity? I don’t think I can. They aren’t, they never were, they never will be that band. Instead, to me, they’re just Yellowcard. And I’m going to desperately miss them.

    I won’t really know how I feel about this specific album for probably a few years. It needs to sit, it needs to grow with me, I need to know what it feels like to reach for it when I need it most. But I really don’t like the idea that I’ll never again get to hear a new Yellowcard album for the first time. I don’t think I’ll ever say this is the best thing they’ve ever done. Or the catchiest. Or the best written. But I’ll say that I judge albums most by the way I feel when I’m listening to them: how my body moves, how my foot taps, how compelled am I to jump around, or bite my lip, and when they end how quickly I want to hit play again. Or if I need a moment to gather myself. By that measure this album is up there with all the others. It’s Yellowcard, and they do what they do in a way few ever have for me. It’s Yellowcard, and their music brings back feelings of joy, pain, and a formative period of my life in which they played a defining role. It’s Yellowcard, and this goodbye stings because it should. But with music, goodbyes are never permanent. I can say goodbye, but the music will forever live on — always a record spin away. The feeling is never truly forgotten. It’s forever etched in wax and bytes, in sweat on old concert halls, in the vocal chords we shredded singing along, and the way we let it stitch itself into the fabric of our youth. It’s a part of us. It always will be. And that’s why we listen. To be picked up. To be destroyed. To remember. To push play again.

    RoKKeR, Kaduck and Mr. Serotonin like this.
  2. YouOnlyLukeOnce


    Fantastic review. Well worth the 2 month wait. I was actually listening to this album when you posted. Really gonna miss this band.
    Fuckkmerunning likes this.
  3. Damn election + sickness + editing. Sorry for taking so long! Thanks for reading.

    PS: For anyone that missed it there's a full podcast episode with @Craig Manning and I talking about this album up on the site that goes into a lot more detail on the album itself. I tried to focus this article more on the place the album has in the band's catalog and their history and place in the music scene as a whole and why they resonated with so many people and had the impressive career they did!
  4. Aj LaGambina

    Hey man, we all can't be like you Supporter

    Always love reading your thoughts, Jason. This was great.
    Jason Tate likes this.
    Jason Tate likes this.
  6. Mr. Serotonin

    I'm still staring down the sun Prestigious

    Chase Tremaine and Jason Tate like this.
  7. SmithBerryCrunch

    Trusted Prestigious

    Fantastic work, Jason. I've taken a break from this album (for fear of getting burnt out on it) for a few weeks after playing the hell out of it. I'll have to jump back into it again after reading this.
    Jason Tate likes this.
  8. sebastianrcgr


    "Yellowcard may be known to the mainstream as that pop-punk band with the violin that once had a few hit songs. For some, that’s the only line on their biography. To me, that’s only the beginning. I understand, you can’t talk about Yellowcard without talking about what they did with Ocean Avenue, but I’ll remember the band for what they did after they conquered radio and MTV. Where they became better songwriters. Where they pushed their sound in directions many bands are too timid to try. Where they became classic."

    couldn't have said it any better Jason, thanks for the write up/review. it': gonna be bittersweet but I cannot wait to see them live for one last time
    Jason Tate likes this.
  9. Michael Schmidt

    Don't recreate the scene, or reinvent the meanings Supporter

    Just how this album made you go full circle on your thoughts with the band, reading this interview sent me down the same path. Man, what a band and what a career. All I can say to the Yellowcard camp is thank you.
    Jason Tate likes this.
  10. relientcasey


    Amazing job Jason! I was really looking forward to reading your thoughts on this record/band. Cannot agree more. This goodbye stings, and it should. Not many bands going away have felt like this one. And I can't imagine many will.
    Jason Tate likes this.
  11. Anthony_

    A (Cancelled) Dork Prestigious

    Great review @Jason Tate.

    I was fortunate enough to attend one of the farewell shows, here in New Jersey. One of the greatest concert experiences of my life. Cried so hard near the end, when the crowd wouldn't stop chanting "Yellowcard! Yellowcard!" long enough for the band to finish saying goodbye and play "Ocean Avenue" one last time. Goddamn, this one is tough. Going to miss all the memories they left me in the songs whenever I spin them. And they went out on such a high note with this album.
    Jason Tate likes this.
  12. Buscemi knows best

    You owe me a Sausage McMuffin

    My older brother came home from warped tour so many years ago and said he saw this great band on some tiny side stage called Yellowcard. He bought Ocean Avenue there, and I didn't listen to anything but it for weeks.

    Fittingly, I asked him to buy me this for Christmas to come full circle. There's a lot of feels I'm going to have to deal with here. Important, important band for me.

    Can't wait to finally hear it.
    Jason Tate likes this.
  13. BleedingDodgerBlue


    Your a great writer Jason, thanks for doing a review of the album. I miss seeing these from you.
    Jason Tate likes this.
  14. jorbjorb

    7 rings

    Nice review Jason. I'm going to listen to this one today.
  15. Craig Manning

    @FurtherFromSky Moderator

    Really loved this, @Jason Tate. I'm familiar with most of your song-for-song thoughts, but I really liked reading the last paragraphs where you summed up your relationship with the band, and the band's with the scene as a whole. Even two months after this album came out and two months after our discussion about it, I'm still thinking a lot about this band and their perfect, conscious, meticulously planned goodbye. It feels weird for me to see all these EOTY lists from publications and know this album won't be on any of them, simply because they've played a huge part in the lives of so many of us and this is the end of their story. To me, they'll always be one of the best.

    Also, glad to see you picking up the torch for "Got Yours" and its missed destiny as a Tony Hawk soundtrack song.
  16. Thanks for reading!
    jorbjorb likes this.
  17. Thanks so much! I'm really glad you liked it.
  18. Haha, yeah, I had more about the "songs" before, but we talked so much about that on the podcast, that it felt too long to go into too much detail when really what I wanted to do was more a reflection/perspective look on the band's career and why I think they resonated with so many people and why I think they were important in this scene and history should remember them as such and not just for Ocean Avenue — that just ended up feeling like the right direction to go.
    Craig Manning likes this.
  19. Craig Manning

    @FurtherFromSky Moderator

    Yeah, I definitely didn't feel like writing in-depth track-by-track stuff on either this or JEW after we talked about them. Took different not-quite-review directions with the pieces I wrote about those albums.
    Jason Tate likes this.
  20. Yeah, it's interesting, cause it just seems, after doing it for so long now, that the podcast gives more free form thoughts. I just enjoy talking about the music in that way more. Where writing lets me kinda dive into what I'm thinking and make an argument or express a specific feeling. Interesting way both mediums work and play with my thinking.
    Craig Manning likes this.
  21. Craig Manning

    @FurtherFromSky Moderator

    Hopefully 2017 brings a few more opportunities for in-depth album podcasts. I like doing that a lot. I tend not to do as much track-by-track stuff in my reviews these days anyway, so it's fun to talk through albums like that.
    Jason Tate likes this.
  22. RoKKeR

    The Fly

    Fantastic stuff Jason, well done. This band has meant so much for me not only on a musical level, but also in life and growing up, so seeing your thoughts on the band and their impact is a real treat.

    Going to miss this guys a hell of a lot, but they are going out on the top of their game. I think Yellowcard is among the best work they've ever done.
    Jason Tate likes this.
  23. StoJa9


    Is the Anberlin drummer on this album? How is the drumming on it? I was always mesmerized by LP's playing and think he left behind huge shoes to fill. Still fucking pissed he's not on the farewell tour.
  24. RoKKeR

    The Fly

    Yes, Nate Young did the drums on this album and it is a huge step up over Lift a Sail in my opinion. One of the reasons I got so into Yellowcard was LP's drumming – it's what got me to pick up the sticks in the first place. There are some solid drum tracks on the record... Overall there is a much larger presence, better fills and a bigger sound from the drums on this record which I was very pleased about.
    StoJa9 likes this.
  25. Craig Manning

    @FurtherFromSky Moderator

    The drumming on this album is great.