A Farewell to Yellowcard

On September 30th, Yellowcard released an eponymous album, which they had announced would be their last.  It’s a sad thing for Yellowcard fans everywhere—myself being one of those—but it’s understandable; as their note to their fans says, they have other parts of their lives to be thinking about, and they want to end on a high note, going out with a bang with their final album and final tour.

Certainly, I feel that they are doing so; Yellowcard is an excellent album that feels like a blend of their classic pop-punk style and some of the alt-rock they worked with in their prior album, Lift A Sail.  But among all its gems—including the wistful what-ifs of “A Place We Set Afire,” the aggressive guitar and burning anger of “A Savior’s Robes,” and the somber, acoustic introspect of “I’m A Wrecking Ball”—it most establishes its worth in the album’s (and the band’s) closing note, “Fields & Fences.”

The song has the perfect atmosphere for a band’s final composition, with its first half being a calm reflection and the second half being an energetic embrace of the future.  After an ambient fade-in, acoustic guitar comes in to begin filling the background, as it continues to do for the first half of the song’s seven-minute run.  The first verse is a wistful reflection on this ending point, while the second verse looks toward the future.  The choruses, rife with gorgeous vocal harmonizing, look to find safety in a sort of peace, with “fields and fences” around.  Yellowcard’s trademark violin has a presence in the song, but is used sparingly enough to really convey a sense of poignant reflection, particularly its brief presence at the conclusion of the first chorus.

After two renditions of the chorus, there’s an instrumental interlude of softly plucked acoustic guitar before electric guitar and drums build into the song’s second half, wherein Key sings out, “I don’t have much that I can give to you but / I know I love the way you make me feel like I’m at home / and I am not alone.”  He repeats this line multiple times over energetic guitar before the instrumentals calm into an extended, fading outro of orchestration and guitar for the final minute and a half.

“Fields & Fences” is a song of endings, but also of beginnings.  It perfectly represents Yellowcard’s departure from the world of music, bearing the appropriate sadness but with an atmosphere that reminds you that they’ll be living their lives outside of the band still, and that their music will live on even as the band does not.  It’s a sad moment, but the song leaves you happy about all the band has done and happy for what the band members will continue to do outside of the band rather than getting lost in sadness.  It feels like a celebration of the band’s life, and that makes it the perfect chapter on which to close Yellowcard’s career.

 

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