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Lights and Sounds

3.9 out of 5 stars 161 customer reviews

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Audio CD, January 24, 2006
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Lights and Sounds is a bigger, broader album from their platinum debut album Ocean Avenue, that finds Yellowcard moving away from songs about breakups and onto more expansive themes of artifice, war, and adulthood. The guitars are tougher, the songs more intricate and encompass a wider spectrum of musical styles, which is evident the title track. Capitol. 2006.

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Lights and Sounds is a statement of intent: Yellowcard has grown up. Never "just kids" to begin with, the California-by-way-of-Florida quintet tackles thornier subjects than on 2003's Ocean Avenue, while taking a more ambitious approach towards their already proficient musicianship. Sean Mackin's surprisingly well integrated violin playing has always been a big part of their sound, but now they've upped the ante. Their third album doesn't just open with a pretty piano-based instrumental ("Three Flights Up"), but leads to a 25-piece orchestra, along with Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks, on "How I Go." It may sound pretentious, but they make the unusual combination (pop-punk plus classical) work. On their second major label effort, Yellowcard comes across as serious to be sure--and this is nothing new--but not pretentious or silly. Affairs of the heart are as important as ever, but charismatic frontman Ryan Key has other matters on his mind. On "Two Weeks from Twenty," featuring Printz Board of the Black Eyed Peas, he sings, "We lost another one that we sent with a gun / They're gonna miss him he was two weeks from twenty." Then on "Words, Hands, Hearts," he laments, "The whole world is different now men have died." No longer bright-eyed teenagers, Yellowcard hasn't lost hope and their compassion remains boundless, but the times have changed, and so have they. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 24, 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Capitol
  • ASIN: B000CNGCCK
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (161 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,174 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I am doing my best not to compare Lights + Sounds to Ocean Avenue. Yellowcard does sound much broader on this release, and their musical styhle has grown beautifully. Not all of the songs have stuck to me on the first listen, but I'm sure it will grow on me.

But in a comment about the Editor's Note, Ocean Avenue was NOT Yellowcard's debut album. They've had three previously -- Where We Stand, The Underdog, and One for the Kids. The reason many may think Ocean Avenue was their first release is because that is the most well known. I would recommend checking out their other releases, as well.
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Format: Audio CD
Like everyone, I had extremely high hopes for this album. On first listen you're like "Is this Yellowcard?" This very different from Ocean Avenue. And it IS a less enjoyable album than Ocean Avenue. But you appreciate it. I respect them for making something completely different and not just going with the flow regardless of what the kids or the critics think.

Here's what I didn't like though...

-The first single, Lights & Sounds is a very mediocre song, there are so many others on this album that would've been better.

-The appearance of the leather jacket(in every promo photo and the L&S video) just screams A and R

-The violinist! One of the main things that make this band different from the rest, he's very subdued on this album. It's a shame.

-Words Hands Hearts sounds very "Okay I'm gonna try and write an anti-war song"

Standout tracks:

"Down On My Head"

"Two Weeks From Twenty"

"How I Go"

I'd recommend buying this if your a YC fan and especially if you're not. This is no Ocean Avenue, it something more, even if you can tell they tried way too hard.
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Format: Audio CD
All bands have to do some experimentation when they hit the big time like Yellowcard did with Ocean Avenue. They have to find a way to a "mature" (the common term) sound, i.e. they have to find what it is about their music that people like and hold on to it, while finding what imperfections turn those would-be listeners away and cleansing them.

It's hard to do... a lot of bands lose their strength with efforts after their debut because they try too hard (or not hard enough) and end up sounding like... well, everything else. Sometimes a sophomore effort just doesn't go well and a band comes back strong with a third release that just makes everyone happy... But such growth takes real talent.

And I sincerely hope Yellowcard can do that with their next release, because there's something wrong with "Lights and Sounds."

Yes, there is a new quality to their sound, and it does sound good... they've gotten heavier. If not a good song, at least the title track is almost entirely pulse-pounding, hard-hitting rockout. With the exception of the more acoustic tracks, this heavier guitar persists through the album and it can be safely said that this is "Lights and Sounds"'s signature improvement.

That being said...

What happened to the violin, guys?

Yea, you hear it... but it's a lot less prominent than in the previous release, and it's what made Ocean Avenue a great album. It's what set the band apart from all the rest. The title track has no noticeable violin at all, and many of the songs only use what *was* Yellowcard's signature instrument as harmony during some of the bridges and verses, rather than as an accompaniment throughout the entire song. There are several tracks where you're sitting there just wondering where it went.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have always thought of "Lights and Sounds" as Yellowcard's "darkest" album, where even uptempo, major key songs like "Rough Landing, Holly" aren't bright and sunny like some of YC's earlier work. Which may be the reason it "bombed" sales-wise - though the album has been certified Gold. Whenever a band releases a work that brings them to the masses, such was the case with "Ocean Avenue", there's pressure on everyone to match that success the next time around and often leads to many issues within the band, whether it be infighting, stress to match previous sales, or the pressure of creating a carbon copy of what has worked in the past (What I refer to as "Nickelbacking"). "Lights and Sounds" is the darker follow-up that put the band's popularity on the back-burner - though not for lack of quality.

Vocalist and main songwriter Ryan Key went through a dark period, reflected in a lot of the songs we hear on this record. A prime example would be on the aforementioned "Rough Landing, Holly" and its accompanying music video. In the video we see representation of Ryan's experiences with alcohol use, promiscuity and the newfound pressures of fame. It's a subject many artists touch on as it comes as a side effect to a lot of people who break through in the mainstream eye. Tracks like "Two Weeks from Twenty" and "Martin Sheen or JFK" tackle other subjects that cause heartache for many and the album really can be seen as a melancholy record, one that should be heard beginning to end, as the narrative does loosely follow a storyline (the recurring character of Holly Wood, a symbolism for the pressures of fame).

So is it a disappointment musically? To someone who wants Ocean Avenue II, probably.
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