After the bittersweet breakup of Yellowcard after 17 years of rejoicing to their nostalgic and peachy yet gloomy anthems, singer William Ryan Key went back to doing what he does best: writing anthemic, poppy hits for the world to enjoy.
I ended up supporting Key’s crowd-funding project for Lone Tree Recordings which was independently released through that label. The first track, “Old Friends,” almost feels like a continuation of where Yellowcard left off with their self-titled release. Its slower, mellow sound feels very much like “Fields & Fences,” which I thought was nearly southern folk-rock at its peak.
Much of the other tracks feel like a diary from Key. While “Vultures” may be an instant pop hit, “Form and Figure” is honest, vulnerable, and sensational. “Thirty Days” blends in with “Old Friends,” the first track on the record. My personal favorite is “Great Unknown,” which, if I didn’t know better, I would’ve thought was a Yellowcard outtake.
A lot of Yellowcard fans listening to this will either be wildly impressed or mildly disappointed. Obviously these tracks are acoustic, so if you’re looking for something that sounds exactly like Yellowcard, you might want to stray away and keep making those “new Fall Out Boy sucks” jokes. Thirteen is a magnificent transition into a new chapter in William Ryan Key’s career. It might not be the most satisfying album, but it works. If it is in your taste, it could be your new favorite record.