AbsolutePunk.net
   Username
Password
 
Album Review
 
Yellowcard - Southern Air Album Cover

Yellowcard - Southern Air

Reviewed by
9.1
Yellowcard - Southern Air
Record Label: Hopeless Records
Release Date: 14 August 2012
I've never been to Georgia. I've never breathed the air, interacted with the locals, or seen the sights. I've never even had to move away from my home town and have to have chosen to move back to a place near it because of homesickness. Despite all these things, Yellowcard's newest album still manages to resonate with me in a way that a record hasn't in quite a while. Southern Air relates to all these things from the perspective of vocalist/lyricist Ryan Key and the rest of Yellowcard, resounding with themes of maturity, recovery, and growth. Yellowcard takes a lot of risks with Southern Air, and while some of them don't quite pay off, as a whole the album is a powerful one packed with meaning and maturity of a kind that we haven't quite seen before from Yellowcard.

Southern Air opens strong with "Awakening" which serves as a very good peek into what the rest of Southern Air feels like. It has the pop punk feel that Yellowcard's come to become known for, with fast hooks and Parsons's fast-paced drumming. More notably, this early on in the record Key's lyrical growth already becomes apparent. "Yes I miss you still, and probably always will" sounds like a traditional Yellowcard lyric, but then what follows is "... until I find the strength I know is somewhere in my bones, to pull the curtain up again and get on with this show." Key touches upon multiple themes here already, such as the band's hiatus and struggles with life as a touring musician. Throughout the record, deeper and more personal lines pop up, evidently a risk Key was willing to take here and share. In the grittier "Surface of the Sun," Key sings "Here in this angel city lights will shine, and for a while we let ourselves go blind, but now we know who loves and loves us not," possibly touching upon the lights and buzz of rising stardom and life in the music business. The song is a high-tempo one and the band doesn't slow down yet, following it up with "Always Summer," reminiscent of the band's Ocean Avenue days with that trademark pop punk catchiness, and yet also having a flair of its own unique to Southern Air. The bridge allows both Mackin's violin and Parsons's drums to share the spotlight in one of Yellowcard's best thus far. The song is insanely catchy but also has impressive lyrics, and complete with its summer vibe it's sure to be a highlight of Yellowcard's library.

Single "Here I Am Alive" follows, and here Southern Air takes a pop route for a change. Although it may sound strange considering it's a pop song, "Here I Am Alive" is an enormous risk for the band as it alienates both the rest of the album and a majority of the band's fanbase with its much poppier sound. Featuring the first guest of the album Tay Jardine (We Are the In Crowd) and co-written by Patrick Stump (Fall Out Boy), the sound of "Here I Am Alive" isn't completely out of place, but it is the first dip in Southern Air. Jardine's vocals give the song a more poppy style, maybe overly so. The lyrics however are still of top quality, again touching on the accompanying ego that comes with becoming a successful band and other more reflective themes. "Sleep in the Snow" veers away from that pop single sound with a more alternative sound. Mackin's violin comes in with such great timing, and later on in the song Yellowcard introduces some piano work. The styles mesh well together wonderfully, and it makes one wonder why Yellowcard don't feature a piano more prominently in their songs as it seems so fitting.

Up next is the edgier "A Vicious Kind" and unfortunately the album's first actual blunder for me. In terms of sound it feels awkardly placed right after "Sleep in the Snow" and messes up the pace a bit, and in terms of theme in doesn't seem to go together well with the rest of the record. It honestly feels like it could have been done without. "Telescope" is a return to the more mature and personal style, but aside from the more successful use of guest vocals here (Alex Gaskarth and Cassadee Pope join Tay Jardine as guests here.) as compared to "Here I Am Alive," the song otherwise doesn't stand out very much. The album picks up again with "Rivertown Blues," a reflective but quick-paced song, with Mendez's lead guitar as the obvious standout.

"Ten" is the penultimate song of the album, and is the climax in both placement and style. A song mixing together acoustic guitar with several other styles and instruments, "Ten" is one of Yellowcard's most cathartic songs to date, with Key opening up wholeheartedly about a miscarriage, together with all that was lost and all that could have been. However, what makes "Ten" so special is that Key or the rest of the band don't ask for pity or tell a sob story that's obviously designed to draw tears. Instead, he slowly lets the story unfold in his own way in a reminiscent tone. This isn't Ryan Key telling some sad story, this is him telling his own story, and in that way it becomes more personal and much more emotional.

The album closes with "Southern Air" which is personally the band's strongest album closer to date. "Southern Air" is as brilliant of a conclusion to the album as "Ten" is as a climax, as it sums up the album so well lyrically, thematically, and musically. It speaks of going back to one's roots and of reflecting on one's past and moving forward, be the past good or bad. As Key sings in the song, "The future's coming on, and after living throught these wild years and coming out alive, I just want to lay my head here." And that's what Southern Air has been all about. It harmonizes much of what's so enjoyable about Yellowcard, a perfect combination of Key's heartfelt vocals and lyrics, Mackin's emotional violin weaving in and out, Parsons's consistent drumming, and Mendez and Portman bringing that much-needed backbone of guitars. Most importantly, "Southern Air" is a song about coming home and remembering what is important and what matters. It can be a song to relax and comfort reminding us to be content, but it's also a song about hope.

A lot of people say that if a band, or anyone actually, takes a hiatus and they come back, they're never quite the same. The same can be said for Yellowcard. With Southern Air, the band took quite a handful of risks and changes. For me, Southern Air shows a different Yellowcard. With this, they're stronger than ever, belting out a more personal and more mature album than ever before. Southern Air is a poignant and reflective but powerful album, with Yellowcard looking back on the past and taking chances with the present, without forgetting about their roots and what to them is home. Southern Air is as much of and ending as it is a beginning, and if this album is a sign of things to come, then I welcome that future wholeheartedly.

Recommended If You LikeA riskier, more mature, more personal Yellowcard

Track Listing"Awakening"
"Surface of the Sun"
"Always Summer"
"Here I Am Alive"
"Sleep in the Snow"
"A Vicious Kind"
"Telescope"
"Rivertown Blues"
"Ten"
"Southern Air"
This review is a user submitted review from mbao. You can see all of mbao's submitted reviews here.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 15
03:25 PM on 08/20/12
#2
InfiniteArms
Oh, the places you'll go!
Offline
User Info.
InfiniteArms's Avatar
my AOTY right now
01:46 AM on 08/25/12
#3
stefkedude
Registered User
Offline
User Info.
No Avatar Selected
Best Album ever, seriously !!
08:15 AM on 08/25/12
#4
fobmcrafi6
down with the fad
Offline
User Info.
fobmcrafi6's Avatar
Great Review!!!
09:53 AM on 08/25/12
#5
simplejack
Soundtrack of My Silence
Offline
User Info.
simplejack's Avatar
Although track-by-track reviews can be boring and lengthy this one is really well-written. I agree with everything on it. WYTTSY was a solid listen from start to finish and while SA is more mature and all (if you don't write mature songs in your 30s I don't know when you will) I find A Vicious Kind to be the real (and maybe only) misstep here. Thank you Yellocard for another great album. If you guys continue to write music this good, I'll be fine for many years to come.
09:01 PM on 08/25/12
#6
boomer08
Regular Member
Offline
User Info.
boomer08's Avatar
Great review! I disagree with two things you said though. I think "Here I Am Alive" is one of, if not the best, songs on the album. And I don't think "Southern Air" is their best album closer to date. "Back Home," "Holly Wood Died," "Paper Walls," and especially "Be the Young" are all stronger closers. In fact, "Be the Young" might be my favorite Yellowcard song. But other than that I agree with everything you said.

On the whole, I think the album is not quite as good as Lights and Sounds or Paper Walls, but it's definitely on par with Ocean Avenue and When You're Through Thinking.
09:24 PM on 08/25/12
#7
mbao
I'm on the up and up.
Offline
User Info.
mbao's Avatar
Thanks for the feedback!

Although track-by-track reviews can be boring and lengthy this one is really well-written. I agree with everything on it. WYTTSY was a solid listen from start to finish and while SA is more mature and all (if you don't write mature songs in your 30s I don't know when you will) I find A Vicious Kind to be the real (and maybe only) misstep here. Thank you Yellocard for another great album. If you guys continue to write music this good, I'll be fine for many years to come.
Haha, yeah. Part of the reason I made this a track-by-track one was because it was a fairly short album. There were times I felt like it was getting on too long, but I couldn't really cut out mentioning any of the songs, for better or for worse.

Great review! I disagree with two things you said though. I think "Here I Am Alive" is one of, if not the best, songs on the album. And I don't think "Southern Air" is their best album closer to date. "Back Home," "Holly Wood Died," "Paper Walls," and especially "Be the Young" are all stronger closers. In fact, "Be the Young" might be my favorite Yellowcard song. But other than that I agree with everything you said.

On the whole, I think the album is not quite as good as Lights and Sounds or Paper Walls, but it's definitely on par with Ocean Avenue and When You're Through Thinking.
I was trying to avoid comparing Southern Air to their other albums because I wanted to review how it stood up on its own. But I just loved "Southern Air" so much as a song. For me, what makes it their best closer isn't really that it's the best song on that particular album or because of how good it is of a song on its own. It was more that the song "Southern Air" so aptly summarizes and concludes what the album as a whole represents. It's not often that endings get to nail that in the right way, even in other areas like movies or books or whatever. The fact that "Southern Air" encapsulates so well not just the album Southern Air but the point at which Yellowcard is at this point in time is a huge feat and what makes it a fantastic closer.

Plus, y'know, the song's really cool as well. That chorus is catchy as fuck.
09:38 PM on 08/25/12
#8
Kris_Gontz9
Anklebiters.
Offline
User Info.
Kris_Gontz9's Avatar
I Think Ten is overrated.

I'm surprised with your opinion on Telescope, IMO it's clearly a highlight of the album, the instrumentation is impressive, the lyrics are just simply beautiful and the use of guest vocals is clever and really makes the track stronger...

Really good review, enjoyable read :)
01:35 PM on 08/26/12
#9
robotswalk
friendly user
Offline
User Info.
robotswalk's Avatar
this album is too good
10:21 PM on 09/01/12
FTank
Blank
Offline
User Info.
FTank's Avatar
I Think Ten is overrated.

I'm surprised with your opinion on Telescope, IMO it's clearly a highlight of the album, the instrumentation is impressive, the lyrics are just simply beautiful and the use of guest vocals is clever and really makes the track stronger...

Really good review, enjoyable read :)
Agree here about Telescope and also I really like A Vicious Kind.
10:01 AM on 10/28/12
collapsing
Registered User
Offline
User Info.
collapsing's Avatar
eloquently written this is such a perfect YC album.
11:00 AM on 11/26/12
mburnsy182
Registered User
Offline
User Info.
No Avatar Selected
It's a chill summer album, nothing more nothing less. Catchy.
03:39 PM on 04/03/13
acheter cialis
Newbie
Offline
User Info.
No Avatar Selected
sont composes de cavites ou sacs ayant http://www.achetercialis-generique.com cialis en ligne dont les nombreux elements, asi como tampoco el enfermo supera al saber del, http://viagragenericoprecio.org viagra y si estuviera controlado por la gente que lo, Mais dans le cas le plus general, cialis, arrondi dans les dicotyledones, El comunismo anarquista tiene como lema De cada, viagra 50 mg, lo mas conveniente es que todos trabajen, les feuilles des monocolyledones sont <a href="http://www.achetercialis-generique.com#99905">cialis prix</a>, transformation dans le meme etre, el anarquismo no defiende ningun modelo <a href="http://viagragenericoprecio.org#60830">via gra precio</a>, del comportamiento delictivo.
05:59 PM on 04/03/13
OurLadyCoolbean
False. Black bears.
Offline
User Info.
OurLadyCoolbean's Avatar
Wait, this album is risky? It's the safest thing they've done after WYTTSY.

And lyrics 9.5? That's just laughable. The lyrics are unbearable. I can't stand to listen to this all the way through because of them.
08:05 PM on 04/14/13
ahriik
Registered User
Offline
User Info.
ahriik's Avatar
Strong, solid album from Yellowcard. Features some of the best work from the band, overall fantastic. Always Summer and Telescope are some of my favorites.

NEWS, MUSIC & MORE
Search News
Release Dates
Exclusives
Best New Music
Articles
CONNECT
Submit News
Forums
Contests
Mobile Version
AP.net Logos
HIDDEN TREASURES
AbsolutePunk Podcast
Free Music
Sports Forum
Technology Forum
Recommendations
INFORMATION
Advertising
Contact Us
Copyright Policy
Terms of Service
Privacy Policy
FOLLOW
Twitter | Facebook | RSS
PropertyOfZack
UnderTheGun
Purevolume
Chorus.fm | @jason_tate