“With this, the final chapter, we close the book on a story we never could have imagined. We owe every incredible experience to you, the Yellowcard family of fans. You have taken us around the globe for two decades. You have sung your hearts out for us and amazed us at every turn. We will, all of us, carry these memories with us for the rest of our lives. Not a day will pass that we don’t think about how lucky we were to play the music we loved while seeing the world together. For all that you have given to us, we are forever humbled, and forever grateful.”
This is the excerpt left on the back of the CD cover art, where Yellowcard bids farewell to the world of music with their final album — the self-titled Yellowcard. With their rise to popularity thanks to hit trick “Ocean Avenue” being played all over radio in the early 2000s, Yellowcard has had a significant presence over the years in the pop-rock scene. Clearly, this goodbye left to their fans is a loving tribute to the legacy they created by making the music they loved. Unfortunately, this excerpt is one of the few things that actually felt like there was love and dedication put into, as the album itself just feels like a rushed out, unimaginative final chapter where the band members were just going through the motions to get it done and over with.
That’s not to say Yellowcard’s final chapter doesn’t have its occasional moments to shine. It’s especially nice to hear the band return to form after the departure in style with 2014’s Lift a Sail. Songs that particularly stuck with me were “Rest in Peace,” “I’m a Wrecking Ball” and “The Hurt is Gone.” Most of these tracks work because they’re simply composed and catchy, with “The Hurt is Gone” relying on an upbeat twang style that’s effective in getting stuck in your head. Sure, the lyrics aren’t particularly deep or resonating, but the beat will inarguably leave its mark.
“I’m a Wrecking Ball” has lyrics that are a lot more impressionable, and backed with a sweetly minimal music tone helps bolster it as one of the album’s highlights. “Rest in Peace,” while not close to being one of the band’s best songs, is still a decent enough intro track. It tries to set you up with good expectations for what should be a heartfelt farewell from the band for its fans. While the album itself doesn’t deliver on that promise, the “Rest in Piece” is still has a good beat onto itself.
On the other hand, The problem elsewhere is that most of the other songs just feel like unmemorable filler. With no stand out lyrics or tunes to keep my attention for long, I only blew through the album twice before I started skipping around to the more interesting songs. And yet, even the aforementioned songs can’t compare to earlier songs off of Yellowcard’s other albums. The second and third songs, “What Appears” and “Got Yours” are just plain substandard, along with “Leave a Light On” and “Empty Street” serving as the blandest the album gets.
What worse is when potentially moving songs on Yellowcard swiftly turn into a garbled mess, quickly eliminating the impact they could have left on its audience. The last song, “Fields and Fences,” which should at the very least be a fitting farewell, starts out as such with a simple acoustic style matched with violin chords. However, for whatever reason, the style changes half way through to a messy, rock style that only serves to repeat one phrase over and over again until the song ends with some nice orchestral instruments. Not that there’s anything wrong with the idea of shifting a song’s style, there are plenty of tracks elsewhere that do it very well. However, here is what is to be Yellowcard’s final song, and it just comes off as a bit jarring. By the end of the album, I was left feeling underwhelmed.
There’s nothing particularly bad about Yellowcard’s final album, I couldn’t imagine a band die-hard feeling betrayed over this one. However, for a album that’s toted as the final chapter on Yellowcard’s legacy, something that should at least pull on the heartstrings of dedicated fans and followers, Yellowcard just doesn’t provide nearly enough memorable tracks to leave a lasting impression. If you want a more well-rounded album to listen to as their valediction, I’d recommend When You’re Through Thinking, Say Yes. Otherwise, listening to Yellowcard just feels like a disappointingly mediocre send off.