I remember it like it was yesterday when I saw the music video for Yellowcard’s “Ocean Avenue” playing on MTV (when it was still a music channel of course) back in 2003. And then I remember when they went on to make two more albums before a way-too-long hiatus which resulted in their 2011 comeback album When You’re Through Thinking, Say Yes. Now, in 2013, they have decided to re-release their breakthrough album completely in acoustic form for its 10-year anniversary. Holy crap, doesn’t that make you feel old?
Thanks to good ol’ Spotify, you can listen to the original Ocean Avenue album along with the acoustic one to compare the two if you want. Of course, the new version has a completely different feel than the first since it’s the product of a band that has been around for over a decade and time has definitely gotten ahold of them as musicians (in a good way). Lead singer Ryan Key’s voice has obviously developed over the years and the prominence of Sean Mackin’s violin mastery gives each song a more mature feel to transcend to the fans who have been with them since the beginning.
The new version of “Ocean Avenue” literally makes you feel like you’re circled around a campfire, singing along to the song. Even in its mellowed out state it’s hard not to have a smile on your face when listening to it. “View from Heaven” has a very country line-dancing bar feel to it now that the percussion is pretty much non-existent in the track, but it was great that they kept Alieke Wijnveldt’s vocals when re-recording it. “Empty Apartment,” “Back Home” and “Twenty Three” sound more solemn, which goes hand-in-hand with their deep, semi-moody lyrics. And of course, “Only One” gets a lot more romantic than it already was due to Key’s softer vocals and the combination of the violin and light guitar strumming before the bridge.
Listening to the acoustic re-release of Ocean Avenue is like listening to a brand new album while still being able to bask in the glory of the original songs we all know and love. It’s perfect for when you’re feeling nostalgic or even when you’re looking to listen to a slowed down, older version of Yellowcard. Overall, it’s definitely an album that everyone who has stuck with them throughout the years should have in their CD collection (or at least in their iTunes).