Yellowcard – Ocean Avenue Acoustic
At the age of 23, it’s all too often I find myself revisiting albums that were an important part of my growing up, and 99% of the records I dust off inevitably end up taking me on some sort of nostalgia trip. However, there’s a select few albums that have never really made their way out of mind, and continued to be a regular player in my listening habits. In that exclusive club you will find Ocean Avenue.
Following the bands hiatus between 2008-2010, Yellowcard have never quite hit the same prolific heights that they did with their fourth album. That’s not any dig at their more recent output, which is also brimming in quality, but it says a lot for Ocean Avenue‘s longevity that it still sits head and shoulders above most pop punk records that have come and gone over the past ten years. To celebrate a decade since the Platinum selling album’s release, the pop punk quintet have re-recorded the whole album acoustically, and whilst that youthful exuberance is absent throughout the stripped back record, it’s replaced by a degree of pride and passion. Songs like ‘Breathing’ and ‘Ocean Avenue’ don’t stray all that far from the originals, but those that do deviate from their source a bit more than others are without a doubt the highlights here. ‘Only One’ was always going to be the highest hitter, with so much heart in the vocals of Ryan Key and more emphasis on the beautiful guitar line that runs throughout the song. Sean Mackin’s ever-present violin passages also have more room to flourish as demonstrated most aptly in the fun ‘Miles Apart’.
If you’ve never been all that interested in Yellowcard or pop punk in general, this isn’t going to be for you, but for Yellowcard fans, this is an essential purchase. There’s an argument to be had that a few songs off the original album were already released in the past as acoustic numbers, but whilst that may be true, there’s plenty more than singles here to offer (‘Twenty Three’ is particularly awesome). Most importantly, Ocean Avenue Acoustic is delivered with a lot of heart. A lot of love and care has clearly went in to the recording of this album, and that makes it a worthy tribute to what is one of pop punks most cherished albums.