“There’s a place off Ocean Avenue”

I hate flying, I downloaded the Yellowcard discography for my flight to Seattle this AM, and I’ve listened to all these records as I type this from my iPhone at 34k feet above the ground so I could focus on anything other than my flight. 

The first time I saw Yellowcard was in May of 2002 at the Metro in Chicago, we drove in from Hanover Park in my buddies busted up 1980 something Lincoln Mercury to actually see Allister and my buddies friends in the band Logan’s Loss, and we parked in the McDonalds parking lot on the corner of Clark and Addison and threw our McDonalds receipt on the dash because we thought they wouldn’t tow us, we were young and dumb, I really had no idea how much this band would mean to me and my friends. 

The following summer I was living in Bloomington-Normal with my buddies and my best friend Mikey was in for a weekend of drinking, and during our Saturday morning hangover we played Madden 04 on the OG XBox and i heard Ocean Avenue for the first time and I was hooked, I was a young, naive moron, and now I’m an older, still naive moron but I’ve grown so much with this band and they have helped me so much. Here I’ll discuss my favorite Yellowcard albums, I’m not going to really rank them because they all have special meaning to me. 

  1. Southern Air (2012) my first serious adult relationship had just ended, and I was an inconsolable mess, I went to work and went home, I didn’t leave the house, and this album got me thru it. Ryan Keys ability to write lyrics about heartbreak and loss hit home more than anything I’ve ever heard before, probably my favorite YC record.

Standouts: Rivertown Blues, Southern Air and Always Summer which has become an anthem with my best friend and I, I tattooed it on my arm. 

  1. Lights and Sounds (2006) This was the follow up to Ocean Avenue, and everyone expected another 13 tracks of pop punk bangers, and this wasn’t that, the song writing grew, the music itself was deeper and more “grown up” I guess. And the lyrical content took a different approach. Underrated or under appreciated album in their discography IMO.

Standouts: Martin Sheen or JFK, City of Devils, and How I Go) which features Natalie Maines from The Chicks. This whole album is a mood and I love it.

  1. Ocean Avenue (2003) What can I say about this album, if there is a Mount Rushmore of Pop Punk albums this album is on it, the title track alone was everywhere in 03, but this album is filled with fantastic song right after one another. 

Standouts: Obviously Ocean Avenue, Only One, Empty Apartment, and Way, Away. 

  1. Paper Walls (2007) I remember vividly hearing “Light Up the Sky” on what I believe was the season 4 premiere of One Tree Hill ( I’ll confirm when I get to season 4 in my rewatch that I’m in right now) and absolutely losing it when I heard it.  I think the feedback or performance from Lights and Sounds fueled these guys to write an absolutely fantastic album. It’s also the first album with Ryan Mendez and despite him being a Red Wings fan is absolutely a brilliant musician and a really great guy the few times I’ve met him. 

Standouts: Dear Bobbie(Ryan’s grandfather read a letter he wrote to his grandmother for the intro of this song and it gets me everytime, I never knew my grandfathers but it reminds me of the way my wife speaks of her grandfather and her grandmother who was an absolutely lovely woman, I like to picture Kelly’s grandpa Harold reading to her mum-mum. Paper Walls, 5 becomes 4, and Bombers which was an iTunes bonus track are all great songs. 

I missed Yellowcard on Sunday in Chicago, but unlike the 2016 self titled album, I’m excited for what’s to come from Ryan, Ryan, Sean and Josh. 

Yellowcard have a new EP Childhood Eyes out on Friday July 21st on Equal Vision Records, and our on tour all summer long! 

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