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Yellowcard Releases Ocean Avenue, Tom Goes On A Rant – Review

I had high expectations for this album, and that’s not necessarily a good thing. I’m suppose to be impartial and objective, right? When a new album comes in, should certain bands be given a step up or step down because of some internal bias?

Ok, right now, you’re thinking ‘just get on with the review, already’; and normally I would get right into telling you about how much I like this album. I would tell you that Sean Mackin brings a unique sound to the guitar-bass-drum, three-chord element that typically defines this genre. I would mention that the vocals are better, and the songwriting has progressed.

But the only thing on my mind right now is that I hate CD copy-protection; especially the version that Capitol Records/EMI is using. Why am I thinking this? Because the Yellowcard CD I received for review is “copy controlled”. I’ll say right now that the copy-protection is probably only on the advance cd and most likely won’t be found in the retail version.

I certainly hope this is the case. Many EMI distributed CDs in Australia are arriving in stores “Copy Controlled”. What’s laughable is that the “Copy Control” is backfiring and having the complete opposite effect. People are creating mp3s and burning a new CD because the Copy Control CDs won’t work in many new CD Players (http://www.smh.com.au/ articles/ 2003/ 05/ 13/ 1052591771111.html). And despite the label’s contention that the Copy Control technology does not degrade sound quality, evidence exists that it does.

Radio stations have reported that they’ve been turned off by EMI because they of the Copy Control. The CD tries to install files on the station’s computer, which many stations won’t authorize. Most radio stations no longer have standalone CD players, and, as reported by one radio station employee, if the tracks “can’t be transferred to our digital playout system, the CD isn’t going to get any airplay”.

That’s my rant for this week… Back to the review.

The Jacksonville, Florida natives first hit the scene in 1997, and later moved out California to provide their band with more opportunities. Constant touring and energetic stage shows as well as a well-received debut (One For The Kids) on Lobster Records in 2001 got them noticed by the folks at Capitol Records.

Ocean Avenue (Produced by Neal Avron, Mixed by Tom-Lord-Alge) is a progression from One For The Kids; evidence that the band has confronted life and decided to share it with the world. Songwriter, Ryan Key, takes you on a journey of his life: from the risk and fear of setting out on your own path (“Way Away”), to recognizing that life is filled with choices and decisions (“Only One”, “Miles Apart”).

The album is an upbeat account of the band’s expedition in achieving their goals, and recognizing that that ultimately, life is about connecting with friends and family (“One Year, Six Month”, “Back Home”).

The album is also a musical journey. Beginning with the more synthetic sound in the album’s opening track, acoustically, the album regressed to a more simple sound that gets progressively cleaner. “One Year, Six Month” is especially reminiscent of the 60’s rock and just may introduce the Beatles sound to a new generation.

Ocean Avenue is destined to make my top 10 list of Best Album of 2003. Tune in to idobi Radio and request one of their tracks.

And more thing… CD Copy Protection Sucks!

Ocean Avenue Hits Stores July 22.

  • Way Away
  • Breathing
  • Ocean Avenue
  • Empty Apartment
  • Life Of A Salesman
  • Only One
  • Miles Apart
  • Twenty-Three
  • View From Heaven
  • Inside Out
  • Believe
  • One Year, Six Months
  • Back Home
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