Sound — 9
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.
Lyrics — 10
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'.
Overall Impression — 10
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.