Sound — 7
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.
Lyrics — 9
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.
Overall Impression — 8
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.