Yellowcard are troopers. Despite countless problems in their fifteen-year career, this five-piece from Jacksonville, Florida has never given up the fight. Even a two-year hiatus promoted a hasty return, and their upcoming album Southern Air promises to shock and awe everyone. But, as they crusade their way back to the top, a friendly analysis of previous albums should cater to the excitement. My album of choice is the not-so-popular, 2006 release, Lights and Sounds. Its experimental departure from familiarity was met with hesitation, and lousy reviews.
However, this concept album quickly grew on me. I was surprised Yellowcard could try a new sound and adapt so well. This “heavier” noise was pretty true to form. They were able to excite me with upbeat and angry melodies, but calm and slay me into serenity with pretty and relaxed rhythms.
Additionally, this record’s politically charged statements confused some critics, but highly intrigued me. These statements gave Lights and Sounds a definite edge and allowed the band to be taken differently. Their thoughts on the world were highlighted and exposed, letting the listener experience Yellowcard’s innermost depths. Overnight, they became a band of seriousness and charge.
The “mature sound” that caused many critics to write them off is actually something I highly praise. Although this record employs some familiar Yellowcard characteristics, the subjects are differently discussed. Relationships are explained in extensive detail, while life is heavily questioned and external forces are re-examined. They take better issues into account on this record, focusing more on what affects society than an individual. Its concern lies in togetherness, and how much we can influence each other. Not to mention the unique aspect of creating a character, Holly, just for this album. They’ve evolved as storytellers.
Basically, this record is just more adult. This album falls victim to criticisms and dislike because it’s odd, but should be praised for its honesty. You really can’t expect maturing individuals to write about generic topics forever. Eventually, something has to break the mold and I think Yellowcard did just that. They strayed far away from normalcy, which was risky, but made something substantial. Music isn’t supposed to be safe, and people are supposed to develop. This album is what Yellowcard should have been doing the entire time. So honest in their approach and delivery of this material, I believe this album shines.
Now, as I sit and wait for Southern Air, I can only hope it’s something worthwhile.