The Daily Gamecock

Yellowcard's final album is heartfelt yet unremarkable

Release Date: Sept. 30

Duration: 47 minutes 

Record Label: Hopeless Records

Grade: C- 

After a nearly 20-year career with many twists and turns, the pop-punk band Yellowcard announced that they would be calling it quits after a self-titled 10th album and a farewell tour. The album is here, and while it was made as a heartfelt love letter to the fans who have supported them throughout their career, the album takes numerous risks that don’t pay off and comes across as somewhat lifeless.

This final album starts out strong with the appropriately titled, “Rest In Peace.” The song has the band’s classic pop-punk/violin-hybrid mixed with emotional lyrics relevant to their break-up and hints of a new style in drum-heavy choruses and a range of vocal styles from the band’s vocalist, Ryan Key. “Rest In Peace” is everything that fans could ask for in Yellowcard’s last outing, yet only a few songs on the album ever come close to topping it.

One of the biggest problems on the record is immediately apparent in the very next song, “What Appears,” and that is a lack of identity. Right after starting out strong with the nostalgic yet inventive “Rest In Peace,” this song comes in with a strange, almost '80s-style beat and an electronic effect on Key’s vocals, clashing with the style that was just set. The song never really picks up or changes much, leaving it as a rather monotonous and droning tune that is a departure from Yellowcard’s traditional sound.

This type of departure is shown at several other points throughout the album, such as the piano ballad “Leave A Light On,” the minimalist acoustic song, “I’m A Wrecking Ball” and punk-inspired “Savior’s Robes.” While there is a range of quality in these songs — with “I’m A Wrecking Ball’s” relaxed vibe leaving the best impression on me — none of them are good enough to make up for how much they clash with the tone of the album. There isn’t anything wrong with the idea of pursuing new sounds, but when a band introduces them seemingly at random without doing anything to make them interesting, it makes for problems with album quality and pacing.

When Yellowcard isn’t stopping to explore every style they can find, they are largely still driving well under the speed limit. The majority of the other songs on the album are slow-paced and unremarkable, each of them feeling like a B-side track to a previous Yellowcard album. The worst offenders of this are the “A Place We Set Afire” and “Empty Street,” songs that feature predictable patterns and slow paces that fail to stand out in comparison to both Yellowcard’s entire library of songs as well as the album they are on.

As the album progressed, I was waiting for them to pick up the pace and come out with hard-hitting, iconic Yellowcard-sounding songs for their final album but, aside from “Rest In Peace” and to a certain extent “Got Yours,” this wish was largely unfulfilled. Each song was bland at best, tedious at worst and neither the instrumentals nor Key’s vocals did anything to make the album stand out. However, despite the disappointment from the majority of the album, the final song of the album, “Fields & Fences,” is a beautiful and emotional country inspired tune that serves as an incredible parting song between Yellowcard and their fans. The song is almost good enough to save the album, but not quite.

As someone who has been listening to Yellowcard since elementary school and has been deeply moved and affected by their music on an emotional level, I am disappointed that this final album failed to live up to the others. As much as I wanted to like the album, I can’t bring myself to give it any higher than a C-, because, aside from a select few songs, the album is forgettable.