“We don’t have to say goodbye, but we can’t get lost in time” states Ryan Key. A simple admission but a lyric that encapsulates the mindset of Yellowcard’s self-titled final album. Reflective, rueful but resolute. They’ve accepted that it’s time to move on and explain why.
Casual fans and die-hards will view this album differently. Many of the former will casually dismiss it for not being ‘Ocean Avenue’ mk6, but that’s an unrealistic expectation. Yellowcard would have marched off into the sunset long ago if they’d only ever tried to recreate the magic of that album. While the latter will dig deeper; relate to the lyrical content harder. This is an album for them. It’s the bittersweet goodbye they’ll expect.
First single ‘Rest In Peace’ kicks things of with some vintage Yellowcard, before whirring electronics and crunching drums provide the backdrop to effects laden guitars and violin sections on ‘What Appears’, the record’s most expansive effort.
‘Empty Street’ just keeps the tears at bay, Mendez’s emotive guitar work shining through the parting words of comfort on a track that should have closed the record. Later Key bares his troubles on confessional acoustic slow burner ‘Wrecking Ball’. There’s even a throwback to ‘Lights and Shadows’ era YC on the defiant ‘Saviours Robes’ that’s complete with the line “play us a song we know, make it an older one”, that gets right to the heart of a factor in the decision to call it quits.
‘Yellowcard’ provides both a meaningful end point to and a solid retrospective of the band’s career. Be it the essential pop-punk of their early years, their more impactful pop-rock phase or the ambitious approach of recent times. Lyrically, as always, Key puts life and its trials into perspective, albeit one that tears deeper at the heartstrings with each insight. It leaves a reminder of why Yellowcard are beloved by fans and shows why they’ll be sadly, if understandably, missed. “Did I teach you to be humble, did I help you to grow?” they ask at one point. Yes, you did gentlemen, and for that we thank you.
‘Yellowcard’ by Yellowcard is released on September 30th on Hopeless Records.
Words by Dane Wright (@MrDaneWright)