Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Album Review: Yellowcard - When You're Through Thinking, Say Yes

Memories and nostalgia are at the forefront of Yellowcard's latest release. People used these two terms in response to nearly every significant event since the reformation of the band after their two and a half year hiatus. The release of first single "For You And Your Denial" brought many minds back to grade school, when many of us heard "Ocean Avenue", "Only One", or "Way Away" on the radio for the first time. However, unlike many nostalgia trips, Yellowcard's return isn't a letdown. In fact, the band may have even released their strongest to date, fueled even more passionately by flames of the past.

Yellowcard has always started off their albums with an energetic assault of sound. "The Sound Of You And Me" continues this trend, as drummer Longineu Parsons sets a landscape of vicious drumming, while lead singer Ryan Key's vocals soar at a slower tempo like an eagle over a battleground. The song soon changes its feel, as the relentless drums drop out and Sean Macklin's violin leads a solemn string section before exploding behind Ryan Mendez's powerful riffs. The previously mentioned "For You And Your Denial" will be forever known as Yellowcard's comeback song. The violin intro is a perfect use of the unconventional instrument, while the chorus allows it to flow behind the riffage. The echoing of "go now" and "break down" pushes the messages into your mind, as the band has crafted one of their best songs to date.

And then comes "With You Around", where both band and listener join together in thoughts of the past. The band references one of their most well known and best tracks in the first line of the song, as Key sings "do you remember when I said you were my only one?" The sing-along chorus brings back even more nostalgia, as many listeners will be shouting "all I can think about is you and me driving with a Saves The Day record on" as they pretty much had the same experiences back in their youth. Even as a listener that is too young to experience such memories, it is easy to imagine what it would be like as one listens to the song. The track has all the characteristics of an easy hit single, and will be soon known as one of Yellowcard's classics.

The mid-tempo "Hang You Up" is a remake of one of Ryan Key's songs as Big If, but Yellowcard makes it their own. The added violin squeezes every bit of emotion out of the the already emotionally drenched track, making it another highlight in an album that may very well not have a poor song. "Life Of Leaving Home" brings the energy back to the record with a bang. Pummeling guitar riffs lead up to the contagious chorus, one which any pop-rock band would dream of writing.

Of course, after this incredible five song stretch, it would be extremely hard to live up to those standards. "Hide" and "Soundtrack" are both great songs, but in the context of the rest of the album they seem almost like filler. The latter is definitely the better of the two, as the powerful instrumentals create a storm of energy that should make this song a staple in the band's set lists. "Sing For Me", the one ballad, shows potential in the string guided verses, but the chorus is a wave that fizzles out instead of having a glorious crash.

"See Me Smiling" and "Be The Young" could best be thought of as dual closers, as each of them would be excellent in the celebrated final spot on the album. The former features crushing guitar riffs that almost seem out of place in a Yellowcard song, but are pulled off extremely well. Macklin shows that the violin can be used in pretty much any style of music when used correctly, as it accompanies the heavier riffs well. The latter song indicates that Yellowcard cherishes their past, and knows that even though growing up is always happening, it doesn't mean that you need to disregard the past. In fact, the band uses that message in order to create this exceptional album, as even while creating such a nostalgic album, it doesn't seem like regression. Instead, When You're Through Thinking, Say Yes is a reflection of the past, and a view at the future. But for now, listening to this album in the present is perfect enough.

Projected Score: 9.3/10
Revised Score (5/19/11): 9.4/10

Track List:
1. The Sound of You and Me
2. For You, And Your Denial
3. With You Around
4. Hang You Up
5. Life of Leaving Home
6. Hide
7. Soundtrack
8. Sing For Me
9. See Me Smiling
10. Be The Young


  1. What i have heard so far you are completely right! I have been fans from the start and loving every second of their return!!!

  2. Nostalgic album, it is.
    And I am missing my high school now.
    Yellowcard is back!

  3. Love this album review. Best one there is. :D

  4. Great review, I disagree with you about "soundtrack" though, it's one of the strongest songs on the record.