Few albums in our CD collections (yeah, remember those?) have the ability to transplant us back to days of our youth and make us feel as though we’re reliving those days. An even smaller number of albums within that subset have the distinct honor of having more than three or four good tracks. Instead of having three or four good tracks, though, Yellowcard’s debut album Ocean Avenue only has two or three tracks that aren’t worth putting on your Ipod.
Readers around my age may be surprised to see that this album was released nearly 11 years ago. Yes, I promise that it really has been that long. I remember hearing two songs off the album ‘” Ocean Avenue on Fuse (now how’s THAT for nostalgic?) and Way Away on Madden NFL 2004. Those two tracks were enough to convince me to buy the album. I remember at the time thinking “This is a good album.”, but within the past few days I’ve been thinking of some quintessential summer albums (So Long, Astoria by the Ataris immediately comes to mind) and of course I had to bring up Ocean Avenue. For the rest of this article I’ll briefly break down each track from the album and mention whether or not I’ve still got it in my Itunes library today.
Track 1 ‘” Way Away
Way back in the day, this was my favorite track on the album. Now I’m not too sure it is but it’s definitely one of the top three. Every time I hear this song it takes me back to playing Madden 2004. If this was/is the first thing you’ve heard by Yellowcard you probably can’t help but notice how it’s a great fusion of punk/pop/and — a violin? The violin is easily the staple of this song and many other Yellowcard songs. (Kept)
Track 2 ‘” Breathing
Originally I didn’t keep this track on my library but now that I’m older this song has grown on me. This one is pretty similar to Way Away if you ask me. Catchy chorus, emphasis on the violin yet again, and great drumming make this another wonderful song off the album. In fact, going back and hearing these songs has made me really appreciate how great Yellowcard’s drummer really is. (Kept)
Track 3 ‘” Ocean Avenue
This is easily the most recognizable song on the album and probably the best summer track on the album if you ask me. If someone has heard a Yellowcard song, this is probably it. I can’t say that I know what the music video is referencing but the lyrics aren’t hard to figure out ‘” breaking up with a love probably because of moving. Great song, but not the best. (Kept)
Track 4 ‘” Empty Apartment
I hated this song when I first heard it. I thought it was whiny, too slow, and that it didn’t have enough instruments. After I made it through the first half of the song I saw it picked up and was actually a pretty good song. Now that I listen to it again, I think it’s great. Relevant lyrics and the music goes from somber to energetic then winds down again at the end. (Kept)
Track 5 ‘” Life of a Salesman
One of the very few songs that I’m not a fan of. For some reason, this song still gives me a Simple Plan vibe and I can’t get rid of it. It’s cute I guess, seeing as how it’s about a father and son, but I’m still not a fan of it. (Didn’t Keep)
Track 6 ‘” Only One
Overall, this is probably the most unique song on the album and maybe the most moving. I loved this song in 8th grade and I still love it just as much today. The violin incorporates into this song better than any other on the album and the violin solo fits astoundingly well. This is significantly slower than some of their other songs but like Empty Apartment it picks up in the latter half in a very similar fashion. A link to the video can be found here . (Kept) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJLkcPhVi9w
Track 7 ‘” Miles Apart
Most of this song sounds like another band but I can’t quite place who that band is. Obviously the violin sets this song apart from other songs in this genre (which to be honest I’m not too sure what genre this would be — pop punk maybe?). This song was good when I first listened to it, but now I’ve grown to like it more thanks to its personal appeal, especially due to the past few weeks ‘” “We’ll be miles apart, I’ll keep you deep inside, You’re always in my heart. A new life to start, I may be leaving you but you’re always in my heart.” (Kept)
Track 8 ‘” Twentythree
Meh, not one of my favorites. I really don’t like the singing in this song and the drums are too punky for my tastes. I know this is a far cry from a true punk song, but punk is one of the very few genres that I’m not a fan of. Definitely a filler track and easily in the three worst of the album. (Didn’t Keep)
Track 9 ‘” View from Heaven
FANTASTIC song. I love how it’s like a country song had a kid with a pop-punk song. Pretty sad song considering the lyrics such as “I hope that is all well in heaven ‘˜cause it’s all shot to hell down here” and “I’m sure the view of heaven beats the hell out of mine here” but probably the most powerful song on the album with Only One coming in as a distance second. The female vocals in the back add depth to the song and this could very well be my personal favorite from the album. (Kept)
Track 10 ‘” Inside Out
This song sounds a little run of the mill if you ask me, but I do like the lyrics quite a bit. I didn’t keep it when I ripped the CD to my computer but listening to it again I may reconsider that decision. (Didn’t Keep)
Track 11 ‘” Believe
Believe opens up with a good violin solo and the rest of the song is pretty good, but not one of my favorites. A little more uplifting than their other stuff, especially considering lyrics such as “Everything is going to be alright (x3), be strong believe”. Again, not one of my favorites but a solid track nonetheless. (Kept)
Track 12 ‘” One Year, Six Months
This song really reminds me of A Day To Remember’s You Had Me @ Hello although I guess the lyrical content is a bit different. Just based off the title, you can probably guess what the song is about. I hated this song way back in the days of my youth (if you’d consider it my ‘˜youth’) but this is the first time I’ve listened to it since then and I actually really like it. If I had to give this song a rating on a number scale, I’d give it a 7.5 or so — not too bad considering I always used to hit next when this song came on. (Didn’t Keep)
Track 13 ‘” Back Home
I really don’t like this song too much. As a whole I’d say this is my least favorite song on the album, although for some reason it does give me a bit of a Phantom Planet vibe for the first minute or so of the song. If I had to re-rip the CD to my computer I’d probably say this, TwentyThree, and Life of a Salesman are the only three I wouldn’t keep.
Overall, I’d give this album an 8.5/10. Considering the facts that 1) I’d keep 9 out of the 12 songs on the album, 2) I still love 5 or 6 of the songs, and 3) that they’re still able to pull me back to my 7th/8th/9th grade days, I would say this is one of the better albums I’ve owned.