Words by :: Nicola Craig
Southern Air is the eighth studio album from Florida rock band Yellowcard. Released via Hopeless Records the album features guest vocals from Alex Gaskarth (All Time Low), Tay Jardine (We Are The In Crowd) and Cassadee Pope (Hey Monday)
I admit I wouldn’t rush out to get the latest Yellowcard release, but would Southern Air make my opinions of the band change? Read on and find out.
First track Awakening gives a taste of what is to come from Southern Air, with a vocal introduction from Ryan Key, the track soon picks up speed and turns into a fully pledged pop punk anthem. Full of upbeats, guitar rifts and catchy guitar beats, this track introduces us to the passion infused lyrics about past love experiences, which can also been seen in tracks Rivertown Blues and Telescope.
Single Always Summer, is everything a single needs to be; punchy, edgy, catchy and memorable! Surface Of The Sun is heavier than many of the tracks on the album and stands out for this reason. Throughout this record Key opens up to fans sharing about his personal life and in the band. ‘Here in this angel city lights will shine, and for a while we let ourselves go blind, but now we know who loves and loves us not,” telling how they’ve been affected by their rising success and life in the music business. This is one of the strongest tracks on the release and the catchiest; it’s an ultimate summer track with hard hitting breakdowns and packs a punch. Alongside A Vicious Kind and Sleep in The Snow we’re shown a new heavier, edgier side of Yellowcard.
Collaboration with Tay Jardine on Here I Am Alive would turn out to be like and honestly? It’s my favourite track off this release. Being a pop song, it shows the risk that the band has taken and it worked in their favour. Co-written by Patrick Stump (Fall Out Boy) this track tells about how when growing up you’ll get set backs, but you will come out the other side alive; ‘So many people close to me cut me down’. Yellowcard have faced a lot of set backs in their time as a band, but have managed to achieve their dreams showing never to give up. Jardine’s vocals when entwined with Key’s help make this track even sweeter and the harmonies even tighter.
Throughout this release we’re provided with heartfelt lyrics, accompanied by top class pop-punk, track Ten is no exception to this. This track pulls on every heart string, telling of Key having to face the loss of his unborn child in such a gorgeous way. Standing out on the album for its slower pace, perfectly placed acoustic guitar sounds and smooth, sleek drum tones. Key has opened up about his loss and what he could’ve had ‘You would be ten and I’d be driving you to school, you would tell all your friends that you thought I was cool’. Yellowcard haven’t done what many other bands do and tell a sad story but told one of their own members story, making it personal and much more emotional to listen and understand.
Closing with title track Southern Air makes sure this strong release ends on a high. Summing up everything from the album in one track, it tells of going back to their roots and thinking about the past then moving forward regardless of what it may bring. Yet again another track which I could happily listen to non-stop, with Key’s meaningful vocals, Mackin’s fantastic addition of the violin adding to the tracks emotion, Parson’s power filled drums and Mendez and Portman adding the tracks backbone with their heavy angsty guitar rifts. This track shows despite getting bigger over the years Yellowcard haven’t forgotten where they’ve come from “The future’s coming on, and after living through these wild years and coming out alive, I just want to lay my head here.”.
I’m struggling to find anything wrong with this album, and would go as far to say it’s one of my albums of the year. This release has made me change how I feel about Yellowcard, with them taking a lot of risks in this more personal album it’s paid off. Allowing fans to learn more about Yellowcard through their recalling of past memories and experiences, if this is a taste of the future of Yellowcard I really cannot wait. 9/10
Download :: The whole album!