For Yellowcard, Forever Ago: An Epitaph

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The news that Yellowcard is breaking up later this year hit a lot of people very hard, myself (somewhat) included. Being born and raised in Florida, I had the opportunity to see them around a half dozen times through various album cycles, all the way back to around 2004. And you can bet that I’ll be seeing them at my Warped date July 1st, and likely again on their farewell tour as well. Looking back on their long career, I feel a wave of emotions from their music, so read below for a bit of a story, if you’re into that sort of thing.

As it stands now, I’m closer to 30 years of age (26) than I am 20. This is a sobering thought given that I remember events like the Nintendo 64 being released (1996), the September 11th bombings (2001), and the Steelers winning their 5th Super Bowl title (2006). I also remember when the music channel FUSE was the most groundbreaking thing alive in the early to mid 2000’s. I was introduced to so many incredible bands (that I still listen to) back then – Thrice, AFI, and especially Yellowcard. The best part of this was winning 4 Super Bowls with the Pittsburgh Steelers in Franchise Mode playing Madden 2004 while Yellowcard or AFI would play. For a kid who hadn’t really discovered music before 2002, FUSE (and also the Madden 2004 soundtrack – seriously, how excellent was that?) was a godsend for me, as well as a treasure trove of new music. That sense of discovery and wonder when hearing new music is a big part of why this website was founded – I want to help others discover those same feelings, or maybe even reconnect with growing up.

Listening to Yellowcard’s “Way Away” for the first time in 2003, I remember feeling completely alive. Was it alternative rock? Kind of. Pop-punk? A little, yeah. But what Yellowcard has always thrived on is anthemic choruses, relatable lyrics, and a passionate instrumental section with an electric violin – the latter of which has never once felt tacked on, instead, being an integral part of the band’s sound that also has made them stand out.

“Growing up has just begun.”

What’s crazy, though, is that 2003’s Ocean Avenue isn’t necessarily their best album. Timeless, sure, but you can argue that their best material came later in the form of When You’re Through Thinking, Say Yes and 2012’s Southern Air. Those two albums still have the same spirit as Ocean Avenue did, but in ways that are more mature and less a bid for the mainstream. Not that Yellowcard was ever necessarily trying for that status, but I’ll be damned if they weren’t deserving of it. “The Sound Of You And Me”? Simply one of the most unexpected and bombastic Yellowcard openers of the 2010’s. After a 3-4 year hiatus, Yellowcard was back.

It’s 2016, and Yellowcard is playing the Vans Warped Tour. But something’s different this time – they’re breaking up at the end of the year. And it’s sad – very sad – especially for me. When you grow up listening to a band and then a decade and a half later they break up, it always hurts. But it hurts even more knowing this was a band I was attached to for a very long time. They saw me through girlfriends, breakups, graduations, major world events, sports championships, college, and Yellowcard was part of the soundtrack to my life.

“Let me back in, love me again.”

I don’t imagine you’ll ever see this, Yellowcard. But thanks for all the music over the years. I know I can speak for many others when I say you were the soundtrack to many lives, and you probably will be to a new generation eventually as well. Good music is timeless, good songwriting lasts forever, and long after your final song is played, I know you’ll look back on things with a sense of pride and finality. I really hope you do, because you deserve it.

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