Yellowcard - Paper Walls
Label - Capitol Records
Release Date - 17 July 2007
Summer and Yellowcard. Most people will tell you the two go together like peanut butter and jelly. There's just something about the season that makes pop-punk the perfect choice. But that wasn't the case with last year, Lights and Sounds, now was it? While the album had critics all around giving their blessings, others considered their "darker sounding" record to be a complete misfire, losing the band hordes of fans during its run on the charts. "What the hell happened to Yellowcard?" was a very common question at the time. Well one year has passed and the LAS era is over. The band is back with a new album in their arsenal by the name of Paper Walls. Those who were questioning the band earlier can now rest assured because I'm here to say that Yellowcard has finally made the return that everyone wanted.
The album starts off with a bouncy little track called, "The Takedown." Not as a great a opener as "Way Away" or even "Lights and Sounds," but nonetheless a good song. The second those drums hit your ears, all previous doubts will just melt away.
Yellowcard keeps the party going with tracks "Fighting" and "Shrink The World," before we arrive at "Keeper," which brings the album down a little too early for me. Don't get me wrong though, the song is good and really has that "Only One" feel to it.
Things pick back at with their single, "Light Up The Sky," a nice track I can imagine plenty of teens proclaiming their love with. "Shadows and Regrets" is a really solid track that leads us into the more talked about "Five Become Four," which has Ryan giving you his feeling over the band's ordeal with ex-member Ben Harper. Ironically enough I find it be one of my favorite tracks on the record due to LP's lighting fast drumming and Mackin's well-placed violin parts. One of the stand out tracks on the album musically and not because of the lyrical material.
"Afraid and "Date Line" are two tracks that I love for some reason. The pair just display that energy and emotion I missed so much on Lights and Sounds. Nothing too special about either song, but that "alive" feeling really does seal the deal for me on them.
"Dear Bobbie" is an interesting and welcoming track from Yellowcard. It starts off with Ryan's grandfather reading a love letter he wrote right before the music starts to take shape. The vocal intro will almost immediately remind you of the Blink 182 song that was done in the same fashion, but it is executed a little differently here.
"You And Me And One Spotlight," "Cut Me, Mick," and "Paper Walls" are the last three tracks ending the album on a very high note, smiles and all. Now I am one of the few that actually enjoyed Lights and Sounds as flawed as it was, but this is the album that should have been the follow-up to Ocean Avenue. Progression doesn't always have to be about changing your sound and I believe Paper Walls shows that very well as it doesn't come off not nearly as forced as the last album. With that being said, if one band needs to receive a "Greatest Comeback of the Year" award, it would obviously be them hands down. Paper Walls is like having an old friend back in town to see you after a fallout. Sure you remember those bad times, but you remember most of all the very reasons you were friends in the first place.
I looove this album, but the scores are way too high, IMO. While Ryan has a pretty decent range, his voice sounds a million other ones. The only musicianship really worthy of note here is the violin, and maybe the drums. Lyrics, I would place at a 6.5-7. While they're above average for pop-punk, they still leave a lot to be desired. Production is good, but not perfect, and sometimes sounds a bit muddled. The only creative aspect of this band, like I said earlier, is the violin, and it's very forgettable at times. But that's just my opinion. Good review.
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