By Helen Mannion
After three long years without new material, alternative Florida rockers Yellowcard are back with their seventh full-length album — the 10-track anthem-filled When You’re Through Thinking, Say Yes.
With 2007’s disappointing Paper Walls behind it, Yellowcard matures its sound while sticking to its roots with Say Yes, released on March 22.
Say Yes begins in typical Yellowcard fashion with the violin and percussion-packed, “The Sound of You and Me.” Lead vocalist Ryan Key sings about the trials of love over a fast-tempo beat that makes you want to roll down the windows and take a drive. About midway through the song, the tempo changes. Guitar, violin and percussion are layered to create a dramatic, mature effect that is an example of how the band has grown musically since its last album.
The next track, lead single “For You, and Your Denial,” is one of the best songs on the album. It is musically reminiscent of “Way Away” from the group’s 2003 release Ocean Avenue. The song begins with a single violin played by Sean Mackin. It then explodes into a scathing recount of what can only be presumed as a past relationship. The music and lyrics, once again, are a sign of the evolution the band experienced during its hiatus.
In the first slow song on the album, Key sings of loss and love on “Hang You Up.” Key originally wrote the song for his side project, Big If, which performed while Yellowcard was on hiatus. The lyrics are full of heartbreak (“I don’t hear music anymore/my ears are tired of all the pictures in the words/cause you are in them still”) and paired with the simple melody, the song is hauntingly beautiful.
While Say Yes is full of growth, Yellowcard stays true to its sound. “With You Around” is a summery love anthem, another track that is perfect to listen to on a long car ride with the windows rolled down. Key references one of Yellowcard’s popular songs, “Only One” (“Do you remember when I said you were my only one?/We were running underneath the California sun”) and the band Saves the Day (“All I can think about is you and me driving with a Saves the Day record on/we were singing ’til our voices were gone”), which is a nice throwback for the band’s early fans.
One of the themes present on Say Yes is growing up. Many fans remember Yellowcard from their late middle school or early high school days and have literally grown up with them. The band understands who its fans are and captures the sense on two tracks in particular, “Life of Leaving Home” and “Be the Young.”
On “Life of Leaving Home,” Key sings about self-discovery and stepping out of his comfort zone (“The day that I found my voice /I knew that I had no choice/The only way I learned to love is if I found it on my own”).
“Be the Young” is a song encouraging fans to stay young at heart and stay true to their roots (“But there’s a place/we could find/where this pain is useless/and we’ll forever be the young”). The words have a profound effect and the music gives it an epic backdrop. Both songs embrace the fans and provide a soundtrack to their journey to maturity.
Even after their hiatus, Yellowcard does not disappoint. There is not a bad song on the album, both lyrically and musically. Say Yes genuinely embraces the theme of growing up, something the established fan base will be able to relate to and appreciate. When you’re through thinking about buying the album, just say yes.