ALBUM REVIEW: Yellowcard return to ‘Ocean Avenue’

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First Posted: 8/26/2013

10 years seems like a lifetime ago. Generally speaking, cell phones were still for phone calls, MTV played music videos, and socializing required people and not a computer.

Times were simpler, and it seems as if musically, those times are returning. ‘NSYNC regrouped for a performance this past weekend. Destiny’s Child did the same at the Superbowl, and now Yellowcard has released an acoustic take on their breakthrough album “Ocean Avenue.”

At first listen of “Ocean Avenue Acoustic,” it gives off a funny feeling. They are certainly the same songs that can take you back 10 years to remember exactly what was happening when they first touched the listener’s ears. On the other hand, the now more experienced band has reworked each song enough to give it a fresh take and create new memories.

Obviously, some of the members from the first time around have come and gone, but the musicians in the group now shine on “OAA.” Vocalist Ryan Key features his vocals a lot better this time around, the standout being a much slower, better-arranged version of “Empty Apartment.”

Yellowcard continues to show maturity with standouts like “Life of a Salesman,” ‘Twentythree,” “View from Heaven,” and “Inside Out,” where perhaps the most noticeable improvements come within the band’s strategies for conveying emotion. They’re subtle, ranging from a slight alteration in vocal inflection to an added emphasis on a specific section of a verse, but to the avid fan, these progressions are unmistakable and thoroughly enjoyable.

The band’s most notable rework comes in “One Year Six Months Ago,” where they take an already acoustic song and turn it into a stunning piano ballad. It’s the only one that may be better than the original, and it’s certainly a high point in the album.

Yellowcard wasn’t trying to gain any new fans with this release, but simply please long-term ones. This definitely wasn’t a ploy for cash either, as the changes are so refreshing that the millions who listened before will be extremely pleased again 10 years later.

Yellowcard ‘Ocean Avenue Acoustic’ Rating: W W W W

-Matt Morgis, Weekender Correspondent