Sound — 9
As frontman Ryan Key's lyrics and vocals will sure to catch your ears the most, "Southern Air" is the band's most impressive album as a whole. Many people have been hoping that Yellowcard would return to their "Ocean Avenue" stage, but I never understood why. Every album since then, especially "Paper Walls" and "When You're Through Thinking, Say Yes", have been phenomenal. "Southern Air" does bring back that "Ocean Avenue" feel, while maintaining most of the "WYTTSY" vibe to it. Every song on this album feels like the band put in tremendous amounts of effort into making this album as good as it could be. Although it's only been a year and half since their previous record release, you wouldn't be able to tell. "Southern Air" is it's own record alone, and doesn't carry too much of "WYTTSY" along with it. The violins in this record are perfectly placed and couldn't fit the guitars or the vocals any better, and the bass is actually audible and doesn't just follow the guitars. The album kicks off with "Awakening", which is a perfect opening track, and a perfect way to describe the explosion at 0:25. The record perfectly swings into "Surface Into The Sun" which will surely be one of their best songs live. The instant summer jam (that will without a doubt be nostalgic in the future) is the perfect road trip song for you and your buddies to sing along loudly in the car, and the most epic violin solo of all time. "Here I Am Alive" uses one of the band's catchiest sing alongs to date. As many of you would expect of Yellowcard, the very upbeat pop-punk anthem "Rivertown Blues" would be found on this record, which is very reminiscent of "The Takedown" and "The Sound Of You And Me" which will surely have you starting circle pits in your living room. The songs displays drummer Longineu Parsons III ability to be one of the most underrated drummers in the scene, and also guitarist Ryan Mendez unleashes a filthy guitar solo with uplifting violin riffs by Sean Mackin. But "Ten" is the song where Key's lyrics have been the most emotional ever in this heart breaking song. It's one of the very few songs that have actually been able to make me cry, due to it being about Key's unborn son and how life would be like with him. The album closes out with the title track "Southern Air", which contains one of the bands best closing out tracks, as well as the best endings and bridges to a song in general. "Southern Air" represents the band's best efforts without a doubt, and every member is brought to life on this album in every song.
Lyrics — 9
Ryan Key's lyrics and vocals have never been better than they have on this record. They're all very personal lyrics in which most people can relate to, and some which not that many can. Break ups, having to move away from home but never forgetting it, losing someone you love, are all topics we can relate to. But the song Ten is the stand out song in terms of lyrics. Lines such as "Don't you think we would have been best friends?" and "I never got to meet you my best friend" just show how how would have meant to Ryan and how emotional he is about this subject. But other than lyrics, Key's best vocal performances are on "A Vicious Kind", "Southern Air", "Rivertown Blues", and "Ten". This whole record just shows how much he's improved over the years and how all the emotion he put into every song.
Overall Impression — 9
"Southern Air" is arguably their best album to date. As a long time huge fan of Yellowcard, I was nowhere near disappointed. Yellowcard definitely knows how to separate themselves from the rest of the pop-punk cliches and continue to be some of the biggest players in the scene. Songs like "Awakening", "A Vicious Kind", "Rivertown Blues", and "Surface Of The Sun" will greatly appeal to those who love the fast paced and heavy stuff, while "Ten", "Telescope", and "Sleep In The Snow" will be loved by those who prefer the songs. "Southern Air" was incredible and should be in the discussion for Best Album of 2012. But we all know Justin Bieber and One Direction will be stop the charts.