Review: Yellowcard – Childhood Eyes

Much like seeing an old friend that you thought you’d never run into again, reunions bring back a flood of memories that make you realize just how important these people are in your life. When Yellowcard announced that they would be playing a show at Chicago’s Riot Fest in 2022, the band realized that there was still a lot of positive energy that happens when they get together. When I last chatted with lead vocalist, Ryan Key, he mentioned that there was a feeling within the Yellowcard camp that their last two albums, Lift a Sail and their self-titled, were made “more for them” in the band and that this latest EP, Childhood Eyes, would have the potential of getting longtime fans of the band excited in the direction they’re taking. Key mentioned in a different interview, “We knew we were writing an EP which meant we only got five songs, so we had to really make them special. And I think there was an immediate sense of bringing it back to Paper Walls—the idea that we need to make something that we’re proud of, but also something that gets Yellowcard fans excited about what we’re doing. So at that point, we picked up the guitars and started demoing and, honestly, I think these five songs could have just been on that record in 2007. And I love that.” By getting that familiar, yet glorious feeling of reinvigorating their passion for playing music together again, Yellowcard have made a dramatic collection of songs that not only lives up to the legacy they built, but hints at the possibility of more music in the future.

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Review: Yellowcard – Ocean Avenue

It’s the night before my first day of high school, and I’m feeling some feelings. Anxiety. Curiosity. Nostalgia for what I’ve left behind. Excitement for what’s to come. Just 12 hours from my first day in a brand-new school, I don’t know whether I should be scared shitless about diving into the deep end, or reveling in the anticipation of everything that comes with a new start. I know I might lose myself in the great big unknown I’m journeying into. But I also know that there’s opportunity for growth and reinvention and self-discovery waiting somewhere out there. And so, I’m staring down the first day of the rest of my life and trying to sort out the good from the bad. It’s enough to drive any 14-year-old boy mad. Thank goodness, then, for the soundtrack, which might just be the only thing keeping me sane.

I’m fond of saying that my favorite traditions are music-related traditions. I love marking different points of the year with different songs, or albums, or playlists. Holidays; anniversaries; seasonal shifts; specific runs or drives; daytrips to certain places. All these things, for me, can be tied to specific musical cues that become rituals or traditions. Every year when it gets warm enough for a windows-down car ride, for instance, I am, by personal law, required to take a drive with Jack’s Mannequin’s Everything in Transit playing very, very loud. It can’t be summer until I’ve done precisely that.

My favorite musical tradition of all time dates back to that Labor Day evening in 2005, right before I headed off to high school for the first time. I’ve always held that there is no melancholy quite like the melancholy of the last day of summer when you’re young. It’s a bit like the peculiar sadness of a Sunday evening, when you know that you have to head back to work or school the next day, but wish the fleeting freedom of the weekend could last a little longer. Except for that, in summertime, as a kid, the freedom does last a little longer – so long that it seems it might last forever. I’d felt that peculiar melancholy before – the mix of sadness at summer’s end and anticipation for the start of something new. But I’d never felt it quite as strongly as I did that day, when it seemed like I might be at the end of what constituted my true “childhood.” It felt momentous in a way, and it needed a soundtrack to capture what I was feeling: the end-of-summer ethos, the melancholy, the finality, the excitement. No one album felt fitting, so I made a playlist.

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Interview: Ryan Key of Yellowcard


This past week, I was able to catch up with Ryan Key of Yellowcard before he and his recently reunited bandmates embark on their summer tour celebrating 20 years of Ocean Avenue. In this in-depth interview with the lead vocalist of Yellowcard, I asked him about what went into the writing and recording of their new EP Childhood Eyes, the comparisons of the new EP to the sound of Paper Walls, and how he keeps the spirit of Yellowcard alive through various projects and outlets. Childhood Eyes will be released on July 21st via Equal Vision Records, and pre-orders are live.

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Review: Yellowcard – Southern Air

Yellowcard - Southern Air

By default, the most important Yellowcard album is Ocean Avenue. It’s the one that made the band stars, the one that gave them a classic hit that still lingers in the cultural bloodstream, and the one that provided them with the platform to launch a long, rewarding career. But Southern Air, the band’s eighth studio album, is uniquely vital to the band’s story too, because without it, the Yellowcard arc would feel incomplete. It was the album that took everything they’d been building toward and everything they’d been promising as a band and captured it all perfectly in 10 songs and 40 minutes. It’s not the most famous Yellowcard album, and there are days when it’s not even my favorite, but it is the best single-album distillation of what this band was capable of when they were at their best. And somehow, it’s 10 years old this week.

When Southern Air came out, it felt like Yellowcard had a lot of gas left in the tank. The band had just roared back to life the year before, with 2011’s When You’re Through Thinking, Say Yes, and Southern Air felt like the blockbuster sequel to that album. The two records share a lot, from their fleet 10-song tracklists to the faux vinyl wear rings that are drawn into the album art. Like two movies in a duology, they play beautifully as companion pieces – When You’re Through Thinking coming across as the origin story and Southern Air playing as the bigger, bolder, louder sequel that deepens the themes of its predecessor. In 2012, it felt like Yellowcard could keep making these types of albums forever, but looking back, Southern Air feels oddly like a swansong. The band would make another two LPs after this one, but this version of Yellowcard – this lineup, this sound, this aesthetic – would never exist again.

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