As the pop punk band gets ready to call it quits after nearly 20 years, frontman Ryan Key reminisces with EW
Pop punk mainstays Yellowcard will release their 10th and final album, Yellowcard, on Sept. 30 and then hit the road for one last tour this fall. “We realized this was the right time to step away and preserve the legacy and integrity of the band,” the group said in a vague break up statement in June.
Featuring single “The Hurt Is Gone” and a seven-minute closer that frontman Ryan Key says will be a “final goodbye,” the collection wraps up a 19-year-long run that spawned hits like “Ocean Avenue,” “Way Away,” “Only One,” the ubiquitous Verizon commercial theme “Lights and Sound,” and more than a hundred tracks that stirred a rabid cult fanbase.
Before their final release, Key reminisced with EW about nearly two decades of Yellowcard and the band’s most defining moments.
The most important song they ever wrote: “Ocean Avenue”
“This was another place in our career where we wanted to try something new,” Key says. “We wanted to expand on the band and go in different directions. We tried so many new sounds.”
Yellowcard began working on the album after major changes in the band when their longtime drummer LP Parsons III left the band and violinist Sean Mackin had been diagnosed with thyroid cancer, going through treatment prior to recording. “It was a heavy time for the band and for our families and for people around us,” Key says.
The collection reflected that weight with solemn tracks that veered away from their pop punk roots. “That’s what’s challenging to explain to a listener who may not understand or enjoy some of our newer music, that it’s not going to be the same record every time,” he says. “We’ve always written from a place that represents where we are at that point in our lives I think Lift A Sail is one of the best examples of that.”
Best moment on Yellowcard: “Fields & Fences”
“We knew we were going to be putting 10 songs on the record before we started writing,” Key says, “so I wanted to try to find 10 different ways to say farewell to this chapter of our lives.” The last track on the album, “Fields & Fences,” acts as a final goodbye to fans using a special instrument, the octave mandolin, that Sean brought in as an experiment. “He had this really cool piece of music and we turned it into a seven-minute long finale, an epic ending to the last record. It’s just exactly what I wanted it to be, the last thing you hear.”