Yellowcard’s boppin’ jams show maturity, awesomeness

From that moment way back then when their name was announced as winner of the MTV2 award at the 2004 MTV Video Music Awards, Yellowcard has come a long way. With the huge success of their last album, Ocean Avenue, sold-out concerts all over the world, and a punk-rock revolution, Yellowcard was ready for a more real, introspective album. That was the idea behind their latest album, Lights and Sounds, released Jan. 24. The whirlwind of fame is one of the many things that inspired the album. “Lights and Sounds” is the second track of the album, and it’s a single that explores being a celebrity and all the distractions it offers. Lights and Sounds is definitely an album unlike any other that Yellowcard has done before. Among its themes are fear, war, adulthood, Hollywood, and the album explores these ideas in a more thoughtful, raw, and challenging way than before. “On this album, we took the opportunity to show people that hey, we like to make real music,” lead singer William Ryan Key said. To get ready to write the album and make a fresh start, Key and keyboardist and bassist Pete Mosely moved to New York City. They wanted to take risks on this album by not worrying about being safe, but saying what’s real. According to Key, the album is a lot more about what’s going on in his head, something he was previously afraid to write about. As a result, the record deals with a lot of themes and issues and represents a period of battles and changes. With their new album, Yellowcard has succeeded in proving what they set out to do to the world. The album begins with “Three Flights Up,” a string piece with a gentle, hopeful vibe. The next track, “Lights and Sounds” is a lot more explosive with its strong, energetic drums and guitar pulling the listener in, and the classic Yellowcard sound and vocals. “Sure Thing Falling” is about fear and change, talking about how all sure things fall, with a steady, but strong melody. “Two Weeks From Twenty” is a beautiful composition with a sad vibe, commenting on the war in Iraq by focusing on a U.S. soldier killed there two weeks from his twentieth birthday. A big theme that the album explores is Hollywood with a girl named Holly Wood. The last track of the album, “Holly Wood Died” retells her trials and tribulations: “The night life, The high life/ She just wants a good life, so someone remembers her too/ But somewhere she heard there was some place to go when/ You die when you live like we do,/ Die when you live like we do.” The album ends with a gentle string melody, much like that of the first song. The new album, according to Key, is about being hopeful and hopeless at the same time. Most songs on previous albums ended with resolutions to the problems, but on this one, there aren’t really any solutions – this is a new level of maturity for Yellowcard. Lights and Sounds gives a view into the tragedies and joys of life. Mosely sums it up well, saying that a lot of what Yellowcard tries to convey is that there’s always the other side and life is just about getting there, that you’ve got to believe that’s where you want to be, and no one else can get there for you. It’s no doubt that Yellowcard has come a long way. Lights and Sounds shows a new, more mature side of Yellowcard, but it still includes that adored California-rock Yellowcard sound.