UG Team, on july 17, 2007 7 of 10 people found this review helpful
Sound: For those who were fans of Yellowcard's multi-platinum Ocean Avenue or the next CD Lights And Sounds, the Jacksonville band's latest release should be a satisfying follow-up. Paper Walls never strays too far away from the pop punk sound that has endeared Yellowcard to fans, but to the band's credit there are also a few unexpectedly creative turns along the way. While the lyrics do tend to focus on what you'd probably expect -- namely relationships -- the guitar riffs and high-energy vocals never allow the songs to get bogged down with the love talk.
The band chose one of the best tracks, The Takedown, as its opener. The guitar-heavy intro is hugely effective in starting it all out, and when you hear a second guitar join in to harmonize, it almost allows you forget that Yellowcard is just a pop punk band. What is truly Yellowcard's ace in the hole is Sean Mackin's violin work. The violin takes on all sorts of personalities throughout the course of Paper Walls, and it almost sounds like a keyboard-guitar hybrid in The Takedown. When you combine that with great harmonies and solid guitar work, the track immediately stands out.
Although the majority of the tracks on the album follow a fairly typical pop punk format, Dear Bobbie is unusual enough that you wouldn't expect it to show up on most rock albums today. It starts out as a bare bones acoustic track and tells the tale of vocalist Ryan Key's grandfather, who reads a love letter to his wife of 58 years. You'll hear the weathered, but gentle vocals of the main character talking about his wife, but vocalist Ryan Key still sings much of the song. Dear Bobbie is easily the most genuine song on the album, and it's refreshing to know that Key was inspired enough to write a song about his grandparents.
Ryan Mendez definitely stepped up his guitar work on the album, and it's great to hear him go all-out a few times on lengthy solos. But there are also moments that are just as worthwhile when Mendez is merely transitioning to a final chorus (Fighting) or providing backing for a big finale (Shrink The World). As far as the vocals go, Key's phrasing does tend to get repetitive at times, but there is enough going on otherwise to keep things interesting. And to Key's credit, when he's able to get out of the repetitive rut, he can come through with some powerful vocals. // 8
Lyrics: The lyrics on Paper Walls are standard material for Yellowcard, and the majority of songs do tend to revolve around relationships. While the band's fans should have no problem with the themes, some listeners might think it's all a bit too emo-friendly. Fighting is just one example of a song in which Key is grappling with his emotions. He sings, What am I fighting for? There must me something more; For all these words I've said; Do you feel anything? While plenty of artists write about similar themes, these particular lyrics just sound a bit too familiar.
As was mentioned earlier, Dear Bobbie strays from the norm both musically and lyrically. In the moments when the grandfather character speaks, the typical rhyme scheme is broken and it's cool just to hear this elderly man speak from a love letter. He says, Dear Bobbie; Do you remember when you were young and very pretty? I do; I remember pleated skirts, black and white saddle shoes; Do you remember dancing that night? These are lyrics that are pretty much the antithesis of what you'll hear in the average pop punk song, and it's a welcome change. // 7
Overall Impression: The band tries out a few new things along the way, even including a children's choir at the introduction of Paper Walls. While the violin is also given some time in the spotlight, it wouldn't hurt to utilize the instrument a bit more. Sean Mackin does have some incredible violin lines hidden underneath the choruses and verses, and he deserves a chance to show what else he can do solo-wise.
The first single Light Up The Sky actually doesn't represent the best of what's on Paper Walls. While the song has a nice guitar riff running throughout, the song is a bit too dull in comparison to other 12 tracks. It's true that Yellowcard's newest collection of songs won't break any new ground in the pop punk world, but the majority are actually a solid bunch of tunes that will likely be embraced by the band's fans. // 8
guitarista_727, on july 17, 2007 4 of 7 people found this review helpful
Sound: Yellowcard bounces back from Lights and Sounds with their new album Paper Walls. Now, why do they bounce back? To be honest, it's hard to describe generally, so let's just go down the list before I sum it up:
01. The Takedown - the opening track. It's a good idea fo start with a fast track, you know, to keep your blood pumping for the whole album, if you know what I mean. LP keeps it really fast in this track, and with Sean's fiddling and Mendez' solo, you're probably born without adrenaline to not get pumped up for this.
02. Fighting - one of the first songs the public heard off the new album. Yellowcard slows down a bit compared to 'The Takedown', but remains it's fast pace. As usual, LP's drumming and Sean's fiddling maintains the pace well.
03. Shrink The World - this track maintains 'Fighting's pace, with Sean performing a really fast paced fiddle along the way.
04. Keeper - Time to slow down. This is similar to Space Travel. As with other Yellowcard songs, each member easily adjusts to the pace for the overall feel of the song, which means that LP moderates just how fast drumming is necessary for the song. Sean has very nice touches to the song's whole feel as well.
05. Light Up The Sky - the first single off the album. Whoa, I miss my friend, again. Just a little note about this song. I learned the song as much as I can (a bit decent amount, honestly) and played this for my friend a few days before my graduation, since she couldn't attend. And no, we're not dating, in case you're asking. Anyway, back to the sound. This is Yellowcard's song for the girl you love the most #1. Well paced song, and as explained earlier, all members adjust to the pace, effectively contributing when necessary, like Sean's fill when the guitars are not strummed.
06. Shadows And Regrets - slowing down a bit compared to Light up the Sky. It is an appropriate pace with regards to the song's meaning. This song, according to sources, is dedicated to Shad, Ryan Key's personal drummer friend who died in an accident. Sean's style adjusts to the song, probably the main contributor to the overall feel.
07. Five Becomes Four - I forgot to tell you. Ever since 'The Takedown', the violin is officially a rock instrument. And there's proof in this song. LP quickens the pace, and I mean quicken, and Sean blends both slow and fast fiddling for an effective and appropriate style for the song. And if I'm right, the song's about Ben Harper.
08. Afraid - the pace pattern somewhat repeats from the first three tracks. Nothing much special about the track. To put it in simple words, it's a standard paced Yellowcard song.
09. Date Line - the drum pace varies throughout the song. The violin touches are all in the right places. While 'Afraid' is a standard paced song, 'Date Line' is a standard Yellowcard song. When I mean standard, I meant nothing special like solos or bridges. And correct me if I'm wrong, but if you listen to blink 182 as well, doesn't the intro to this song a bit similar in style (not rhythm) to one of blink's songs?
10. Dear Bobbie - Yellowcard's acoustic entry for this album. From here on, the pace wouldn't speed up to 'Fighting's or 'The Takedown's caliber, but that doesn't necessarily mean that everything's slow. Unlike How I Go, LP doesn't play here, so skip that part. Anyway, the guitars are played really well, with a piano accompaniment, most likely from Pete. The violin then comes later rather than early as to not ruin the emotional intent of the song. And to put two cherries on top of the sundae, there are insert recordings of Ryan Key's grandfather reading some love letters he had with Ryan's grandmother. The best acoustic song Yellowcard has so far, if not ever, made. You're bound to cry at least once hearing this song. And this song is Yellowcard song for the girl you love the most #2 (by order in the CD).
11. You And Me And One Spotlight - anyway, in this song, there are not much, if any, drum rips from LP. The violin remains a standard pace as well. And there is a piano accompaniment as well.
12. Cut Me Mick - this speeds up from 'You and Me and One Spotlight', with a simple style for each instrument played. The bass plays an important part in this song, during verses and finishing song.
13. Paper Walls - the title track and the final track. A bit faster than 'Cut Me Mick', the song opens with a choir singing a few notes before the band enters altogether with their repsective instruments. For this song, the instruments start playing one at a time during the verse to increase the feel to the necessary levels, with a moment of guitar only music. Unlike the final tracks from Ocean Avenue and Lights and Sounds, the song just abruptly stops.
Paper Walls is an improvement of Lights and Sounds, no arguing about that. What disappoints me a bit, however, is how the songs are arranged pacewise. After Date Line, it's not going to speed up to the same level, which I could see is a weakness for the album, as most Yellowcard songs the majority of the public knows are fast. But the style, I give 3 thumbs up if I have a third hand. // 9
Lyrics: Many have heard Ryan's singing skills before, and yes, it's just as good as usual, with Sean and Pete helping out in background. The focus of this part of the review, however, is on the lyrics. The lyrics go well with their respective paces. The most impact any of the lyrics will deliver will most certainly come from 'Dear Bobbie'. As I mentioned earlier, there are recording inserts of Ryan Key's grandfather reading love letters he had with Ryan's grandmother. The lyrical style in this album is designed to really draw out specific emotions from the listener. With the recording inserts, the style's full potential is reached, as displayed in 'Dear Bobbie'. // 10
Overall Impression: Most definitely an improvement of Lights and Sounds. This album actually combines the styles of the three previous albums (One for the Kids, Ocean Avenue, Lights and Sounds) with some adjustments. As mentioned earlier, song order bothers me, as well as Paper Walls' abrupt ending. But it seems minor compared to how good the album can really be. Of course, as hinted earlier, 'Light Up The Sky' is my favorite in the album, followed closely by 'Dear Bobbie'. Anyway, it's coming out Jul 17th. And please, murder is a crime. Even though the album's that worth it, we don't want anyone hurt or dead over it. Thank you. // 10
Abandon Ship!, on august 10, 2007 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: Yellowcard have always had a unique sound, they are after all, a five man band who boast a violinist. In their previous album (Lights and Sounds) they somewhat strayed from this sound; however in their latest album, Paper Walls, they've well and truly returned to their sound. The album is, if anything, confident, it features everything you could expect from Yellowcard, their sound is somewhat amazing this time around, and they've not shied away from using their violin player again. The guitars are rocky, they carry the theme of the album perfectly and don't shy away from a challenge, it's hard to think that Ryan Key wrote this album in a shoddy motel! The drums are also impressive, LP is a brilliant drummer, the drums fit everything perfectly and on some occasions you sit with your mouth open at the speed he can play. What this album really has is a fantastic range, some songs are hard and fast, and then slow and acoustic. The song Paper Walls features a choir on top of an acoustic riff, the heavy guitar riff comes in straight away after the slow introduction, I first heard this song at my friend's house and I knew I had to have the album then the heavy composition that recurs through out the album is amazing, and it makes the album what it truly is. The sound, all together is amazing, Yellowcard have returned to their roots with this one and not shied away from making a brilliant album, the sound is truly phenomenal. Perhaps the only real problem I had with Yellowcard's sound is that some of the songs are somewhat forgettable, I remember having a conversation with my friend about the album and he made a reference to a couple of the tracks and I was clueless as to the sound, some of the song's sounds just miss being impressive and instead settle at being good. // 8
Lyrics: The lyrics are superb, they each tell a story that is a personal one, Ryan Key has truly excelled himself once again, the most impressive set of lyrics for me personally are Dear Bobbie, a story about Ryan Key's Granddad reading a letter he's sending to his wife about how he still remembers all those years ago, and how he still loves her despite the years, the words are spoken over a soft acoustic and piano backing track, with Ryan Key's wonderfully soft, yet strangely powerful, voice coming in, singing about how he'll die loving this person, and no matter what, he always will. All the lyrics in this album are personal, the song Shadows And Regrets (from what I can tell) is about Ryan Key's return to his home town where he wrote the album, in an interview he said that he wrote the album in a motel, because he'd become a stranger in his home town, this song, to me, reflects his feelings. Having said all this, to me Yellowcard have lost their strange lyrics, in their past albums you've had to search for meanings behind the songs, in this album everything's kind of laid on thick, personal songs are all well and good, but sometimes it would be nice to have a bit of 'this is the world coming down on my head'. "I'm back, back in town/And everything has changed/I feel, feel let down/The faces stay the same/I see, see shadows/Of who we used to be/When I drive, drive so slow/Through this memory," Shadows and Regrets, first verse. The lyrics are never out of place with the music, the lyrics and the music blend perfectly, when you want the music to get powerful, it does, and even when you don't want it to, you're pleased that it did. The album features many songs that tell personal stories, and the music always, always blends beautifully with the lyrics. The lyrics are brought to life by the music in a way that only Yellowcard can do. Ryan Key is still one of the most amazing singers in this genre, he has a range that would make most singers jealous, I know I am. He can reach strong powerful notes, holding them for several seconds without any obvious effort, in every song Ryan Key's vocals are impressive, if the lyrics and music were beautiful enough, Ryan Key makes this album utterly superb. // 9
Overall Impression: Overall, this album is brilliant, it's hard to find any flaws in it, perhaps the only two is that there aren't enough acoustic songs for my liking and that a couple of the songs on the album you can't help but feel like they're filler tracks, and if the album went without them, it'd be even better. That is however, me being picky, this album is amazing and I would recommend it to anyone, from long term Yellowcard fans whose faith has dwindled since Lights and Sounds, to anyone into rock looking for a new band to listen to. Many albums were released around the same time as this, I remember wanting at least six others at the same time as this, but Yellowcard's style is simply unique, they do what they do perfectly, this album truly is amazing. In my opinion, the most impressive songs on the album are Light Up The Sky, Shadows And Regrets, Five Becomes Four, Dear Bobbie, Paper Walls. All for various reasons, whether it be lyrics, sound, or a combination of both. I love this album's repeatability, you can listen to the whole thing dozens of times without getting bored - and then go back and listen to your favourite songs for many, many months. If this album were lost, and all records deleted from my computer and all my friends suddenly became reluctant to lend me a copy, then I would definitely buy this album again, it's simply one of those albums I have to have. Overall, this album is a spectacular blend of lyrics and sounds, the guitar work is amazing, the vocals are amazing, the mixture of rockier songs to the slower more powerful songs are simply brilliant. // 9
muzztmt, on september 01, 2007 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: Oh yes, Yellowcard is back and they have rocked my world for several years. But, on July 17, 2007, they released a new album named Paper Walls. As you expected, this is my favorite album of this year. Yellowcard is extremely my favorite band because of this brilliant masterpiece. I just couldn't stop listening to it. To me, this album of theirs is worth a fortune. Now, let me guide you through every song this album.
01. The Takedown - this is the best rock song of music history and also my favorite song of this century, if possible. Th guitars, violin, drums and bass are perfect in this song. The drums are furious throughout this song. The guitar solo is incredible. The violin is fast-paced. The vocals will force you to sing along. I fell in love with this song and this is my no.1 song on the album!
02. Fighting - the rock song I was impressed with. As the first song released from the album, I was surprised. My favorite thing in this song, is the vocals. The verse is incredible. But I just wish there were more lyrics to the song. But overall, this a pure rock song.
03. Shrink The World - love the lyrics. Perfect arrangements. I love the vocals. This song is like a Down On My Head Pt.II. The guitar riffs make me listen to it over and over again. Good song to listen if you want to rock out.
04. Keeper - brilliant song. Brilliant chorus and verse. The vocals are very emotional. This song is not like Martin Sheen or JFK but the opposite. "I wish I could be, somebody else. Wish I could see, you in myself. Wish there was something inside me, to keep you beside me." Like I said, brilliant chorus.
05. Light Up The Sky - the first single off the album. I love this song! It isn't like any other Yellowcard song. Oh yes, this one is special. The drums fired me up in this song. And, the chorus is very comfortable to hear. But I still wish that The Takedown was the first single off the album.
06. Shadows And Regrets - this is one of my personal favorites. An acoustic song suddenly blows up with electric guitars, bass guitar, and drums! The chorus is wonderful to hear with such good vocals.
07. Five Becomes Four - the most fast-paced song on the album coming through. This song reminds so much about Life Of A Salesman. I love hearing to the drums of this song. Longinue Parsons (drummer) did a very good drum work. Well done for that. But I still wish that the verse was better. But anyway, this song still rocks my world!
08. Afraid - I can't say to much about this song because it is such an amazing song. I want you to hear this song yourself. Ryan Key (vocalist, guitar) did a very good vocal work. Perfect chorus! Reminds me so much about Ocean Avenue.
09. Date Line (I Am Gone) - when I first heard this song, I knew I was going to love this. No, but even better. The song starts with some drumming work. And then comes to the verse and the awesome chorus. After that, you will be satisfied with such a nice song with very good lyrics and vocals.
10. Dear Bobbie - this song is full acoustic song and an emotional one. You will hear Ryan Key's grandfather's voice that may make tears drop down from your eyes. The lyrics are totally brilliant. The chorus is very emotional and melodic. That makes this song special but to me, the weakest song on this album. But overall, I still love this song as much as the other songs off this album.
11. You And Me And One Spotlight - love this song so much! Especially, one of my personal favorites!! I can't stop talking about this song! When you hear this song, remember to turn up the volume extremely high. You will start to love and appreciate your life just like I did when I heard this song when I turn the volume really high in my dad's car. I feel like apologizing for everything I did wrong in this world. I thank this song billions.
12. Cut Me, Mick - very good rock song. Catchy and fast-paced. Drums will always turn me around listening to this song every second, if possible. Amazing vocals and cool lyrics apply in this awesome song.
13. Paper Walls - the final song off this album and the most extraordinary one. The song starts with a choir singing. Suddenly, boom! The rock section comes in! For me, the most sweetest and extraordinary song that will past expectations. I incredibly love the chorus like billions of stars dropping from the sky. Yellowcard has closed their case with the most extraordinary song off the album. Well done, Yellowcard. Well done. // 10
Lyrics: I really think that the lyrics are absolutely perfect for the songs available. The lyrics make the song more powerful, emotional and more comfortable to hear. Ryan Key's voice is extremely terrific and is perfect for an album like this. To me, the songs which have the best lyrics are The Takedown, Keeper, Light Up The Sky, Date Line (I am Gone), Dear Bobbie, You and Me and One Spotlight and Paper Walls. // 10
Overall Impression: Yellowcard, to me, is a band that managed to take me to their world. In fact, it just gets closer and closer. The best songs are well, every song is perfect. What do I love about it? Everything in this album. What do I hate about it? Absolutely nothing. If it were stolen/lost, would I buy it again or get something else? I would rush to the nearest record store and immediately purchase a new Paper Walls album. Like I said, this album is worth a fortune. This may very well be their best album so far, and I guarantee, it will get better and better. Finally, thanks for reading this review. // 10
arcwarrior, on january 26, 2008 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: Yellowcard made their album as a balance between their other albums. Their music is still the same but there are more riffs and good mix of violin and guitars. Their overall sound is great. Their music style got better and better as they mature. They added great effects to their music right now compared to their previous major labeled albums. Paper Walls has a great sound. // 10
Lyrics: The lyrics in their album were really good. They used many methods in composing their lyrics. They created lyrics based from experiences and some based from other people. The lyrics is very compatible to the tempo of the song. They used a violin to support the emotions of their lyrics. The singer showed an excellent job. He sings very well. He's still the very good eventhough he had some problems at his throat. // 10
Overall Impression: Compared to Ocean Avenue and Lights and Sounds, this album is better. They used the musicality of Ocean Avenue and the hard-sounding Lights and Sounds. The most impressive songs in their album were "Five Becomes Four", "Paper Walls", "Light Up the Sky", and "Fighting". But the others songs were good too. I love all the songs from the album. I hate nothing. If it were stolen/lost, I would buy it again because it is really impressive. Paper Walls will definitely rock your world. Yellowcard has grown with full potentiality and skillful musicians. Great. // 10
3BlindMyceZeke, on march 20, 2009 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: Yellowcard were, and are, sort of stereotypically emo, with a squeaky violin, sad songs and loud guitar while the drums go insane. While it might not be original, does it sound good? Yellowcard's alternative rock take in nice melodies, additional violin and energetic guitar and beat to create great sounding songs. The vocalist is just amazing, great melodies with a great alternative voice. The guitar can get old and too loud, but never stops, just like the drums. The drummer is like a drum machine that's being fast forwarded through. Songs like 'The Takedown', 'Fighting' and the album's namesake are all energetic. Now, take the sound of 'Shadows And Regrets'. It's a really nice, sad sound that lacks violin. Which, in this case, is good; the violin is so repetitive in Yellowcard it can ruin their songs. 'Light Up The Sky', 'Shrink the World' and 'Five Becomes Four' all sound the best on the album with really beautiful melodies and a nice alternative rock arrangement. 'Afraid' is a bit plain, your typical alternative rock/ pop rock song with a small, catchy melody and pounding backing but still a good song nevertheless. 'Dear Bobby' is a nice sound when they're not playing the old people, but a hard song to listen to. Not just in sad lyrics, but also a bit too slow-fast at the beginning, and formulaic at the end. 'You And Me In One Spotlight' is a great alternative rock song, similiar to 'Afraid' but with a bit better melody. Not the best sound from Yellowcard, but a good sound none the less. 'Date Line (i Am Gone)' is similiar to 'Afraid' in rock song quality but has a really catchy melody. 'Keeper' sounds great, nice melody. 'Cut Me, Mick' sounds amazing as well, a cross between the three best and 'Paper Walls'. Only a little bit too bland guitar for me. Speaking of, 'Paper Walls' does seem a typical alternative song, but the extra effort with the choir, the different violin track and the energy poured in shows it's a great song. This album's appeal is definitely mostly in it's sound. // 7
Lyrics: Many people consider Yellowcard lyrics genuis, but that's because they can't figure them out and they sound cool. Anybody can right about their pain, especially when they're rock stars at the top of their game. Yellowcard have not climbed out of mainstream just yet. In the beginning they weren't, but their 'cool' cryptic lyrics don't seem to have meaning. 'The Takedown' and 'Fighting' are just your average 'come back to me' emo love song. 'Shrink The World' is a good song, it's a poetic emo love song. Emotional love songs should be poetic, like Death Cab for Cutie and such. While this isn't as good as, say, 'Marching Bands Of Manhattan' it's better than the previous two tracks. 'Keeper' is back to first two's level of lyrics however it also has level of metaphorical depth and poetic expression. 'Light Up The Sky' is amazing for poetic expression and emotional love. Possibly the best song on the LP, 'Light Up The Sky' is a collision of feelings, expression, ideals, creativity and a beautiful melody. Next up, probably the best on the album musically is a song that has such lyrical depth; 'Shadows and Regrets'. Everybody comes to a point where they confirm an inevitable truth; they can't relive memories. They all die. They're life so far is gone; holding onto those memories seems pointless. Everyone's already left. This song should make you look at yourself in the mirror and cry. 'Five Becomes Four' is also pretty original lyrically, about a friend who he once was very close with now treating him like dirt. This song is an internal retort, like when a small child is beat up and wants to say something but holds it inside. 'Afraid' is even more original, about a sick person and his girlfriend who's seeming more and more distant and self-centered. It tells the chronicle of her daily trips to him and how they grow more and more distance as his illness worsens. Great song. 'Date Line (I am Gone)' is, to me, a comedic hate song. Funny lyrics, very clever. Next up is the 'kill yourself' ballad, common in Yellowcard albums, 'Dear Bobbie'. About an old widow writing to her dead husband. Brilliant lyrics, hard to sit throw because of them. 'You And Me And One Spotlight' is unoriginal lyrics, with a new original concept. It's done extremely well, but it is without a doubt inferior to many of the LP's lyrics. 'Cut Me, Mick' is at first glance the emo, cryptic lyrics that everyone's like 'those are the best lyrics ever' because one; they can't figure out what it means and two; it's emo. I'm not sure if that's true, but my dissection of the lyrics shows an original concept of a man who killed himself but realises his mistake and wants life back, wants to apologise but cannot. Great idea. The grand finale is 'Paper Walls', which is burning the bad memories and restrictions down. Now, it's no new pop punk concept for lyrics, but the extra effort makes it a great song.
Although not what's selling out Yellowcard, the lyrics in this album are better than their music. // 9
Overall Impression: This album is great late night drive, definitely worth the buy if you're into alternative, rock or emo. While some of it is just cryptic or stereotypical lyrics and repetitive violin, the album is a great collaboration. The best songs are 'Cut Me, Mick', 'Light Up the Sky', 'Shadows and Regrets', 'Five Becomes Four', 'Shrink the World' and it's namesake. Yellowcard are the emo that are heavy guitar without being hard rock or heavy metal. Their not a 3 Days Grace band that tries emo, they change and make emo. Great songs, no Beatles or Hendrix hit, but if you're an alternative rock fan and thinking of getting 'One X' or 'The Black Parade' (A great album, but you have to like apocalyptic or a wide variety of alternative) pick this up instead. Also, if you like Yellowcard, you'll LOVE Mayday Parade. It's almost as if they have the same singer. And while MP do cross the poetic-cryptic line, they sound better. Overall? Great album. // 8