Yellowcard Album Musing: ‘When You’re Through Thinking, Say Yes’

Some songs, when you listen to them–even on the first spin–immediately inspire this strange sort of yearning for moments you haven’t had yet–an embedded pathos, if you will. See: Brand New’s ‘Déjà Entendu‘ and Jimmy Eat World’s ‘Invented‘. The first thing I want to tell you about Yellowcards When You’re Through Thinking, Say Yes is that although nostalgia and a bit of wistfulness are certainly part of the architecture of the album, it’s first and foremost a forward-facing clean slate.

“I have seen what holding on can take away-if it’s the past you love, then that’s where you can stay.” -‘For You, And Your Denial

I’m incapable of doing an unbiased review–my history is wrapped up in this band-the last 10 years, at least. When I tried to do a review of their show back in November, the article turned into something else completely. Just as well, because I’m not a technical listener of music, anyway. The questions that bubble up during those first rotations of ANY album are: How does this make me feel? Where does this take me? And do they mean it? The question that arises specifically for WYTTSY is: Where are they now?

I can’t fully articulate what felt dark about Lights and Sounds; and Paper Walls, although exceptional, was something that everyone–fans, the music industry, maybe even the band themselves–let slip through their fingers. Shame on us for that.

Suspend, for a moment, your focus on shredding guitars and sweet string arrangements–that’s all there and it’s undoubtedly what will have you swaying and screaming and jumping at every live show. That aside, let me get abstract for a moment–there’s a specific set of feelings that perpetually flutter through your consciousness when you’re in your late teens and early 20’s–pockets of panic where you think maybe you’re not making enough memories, maybe things are supposed to be a little bit more epic, that maybe you’re Doing It Wrong. Lyrically, WYTTSY delves into quarterlife concerns and reliving vivid memories (“Another year flies by / But I know if I try / Memories of the light in your eyes / Can take me back in time”-‘Hang You Up‘)–but there is a distinct difference between dwelling in the shoulda-woulda-couldas and feeling damn good about all the experiences that led up to who we are and where we are today. THAT, I feel, is the difference between WYTTSY and Yellowcard’s past albums.

And if I may say so without being totally presumptuous, that’s the difference between a YC fan 3 years ago and a YC fan today. We’ve all grown up in that time, but it has little to do with adult responsibilities, the bills you pay, the car you drive–and it has everything to do with perspective.

I am awake and alive / there is something calling me / more than a moment in time / it’s a dream I’m following on my own” -‘Life of Leaving HomeIf you’re up for a rewarding musical experience and you can find it in you to quell your attention deficit habits long enough to sit with these ten tracks, then you’re booked on 3/22. It’s a date. Buy new headphones for the occasion. Do it because the sequencing on this album is flawless. If it were another medium–a novel, say– by the time the reader arrived at the last track, ‘Be The Young‘ they would feel satisfied, and maybe a little sad that their journey with those characters had come to an end.

And that, my friends, is where music one-ups books. Let’s do it all again, right here, right now. Press repeat. Say yes.

Hey, Yellowcard–welcome back.