Who loves trends? I do, I do … cheesy ones at least. It seems that if artists want to become the hottest commodities in the music industry, then they need to stand out. Even if an artist gets a makeover and an edge, he or she could be a carbon copy of the mainstream icons. I rolled my eyes during the ‘Boy Band’ craze. MTV spoon-fed me hours of the Backstreet Boys, N’SYNC, 98 Degrees and LFO in ’98. Soon thereafter, I was possessed when Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Jessica Simpson and Mandy Moore sang their little songs, danced their little dances and shook their little saltshakers.
Enter 2004: the era of “New Age Boy Bands.” These beach warriors are equipped with ripped shorts, preppy shirts and spikey hair. Throw them a few instruments and they’ll sing about how they regret pushing their ex-girlfriends away. Listen to them and you’ll get two things: a bunch of Green Day wannabes and the best marketing scheme since AOL 4.0. Just like Good Charlotte, New Found Glory and Simple Plan, Yellowcard has joined the ranks of super pop-punk stardom.
In the middle of 2003, Capitol Records unleashed Yellowcard’s first major-label album, Ocean Avenue. It was introduced to the mainstream with, “Way Away,” a song about leaving everything behind. The Florida rockers didn’t generate much buzz and in this business, if there isn’t buzz, then the die-hard teeny-boppers won’t flock to the stores and spend their money. The next step for Yellowcard was perhaps their smartest: they released their catchiest tune, “Ocean Avenue,” a song about recalling great memories with a former love and hoping to get it back (why does this sound familiar?). Ryan Key (lead singer) screams, “If I could find you now, things would get better/We could leave this town and run forever,” which perfectly matches the soap opera video. With lyrics centering on places like Ocean Avenue, Cherry Street and the beach, this could be one of the biggest songs this summer.
Yellowcard has so much energy that they don’t need to drink Y2 Stinger. On tracks like “Life of a Salesman,” “Miles Apart” and “Twenty Three,” peace and quiet doesn’t exist. These songs replicate parts of Blink 182’s Enema of the State. Yellowcard doesn’t just play the fast-paced, thrash punk stuff; they have a sensitive side too. “One Year, Sixth Months” and “Only One” are deep tunes, both of which are flashbacks of failed love (I swear this sounds familiar). If you enjoy the fiddle, there is a great solo in “Believe.”
There’s no doubt that this band could blow-up. Look at heartthrobs like Blink 182, Good Charlotte and Simple Plan. These groups constantly write new songs, tour non-stop and appear on TV more than a Truth.com commercial. Their faces are on posters, buses and lunchboxes. This could be Yellowcard’s fate, if they’re fortunate enough. Assuming they continue producing bubble-gum songs (“Ocean Avenue”), use creativity (“Believe”) and showcase their energy (“Life of a Salesman”), then Yellowcard might as well be Golden Visa. But eventually, they could be lost in the shuffle. All trends usually die.
Yellowcard: Ocean Avenue
Rating: 2 1/2 Stars
Record Label: Capitol Records
Official Website: Yellowcardrock.com
Future Plans: The 2004 Warped Tour