Yellowcard’s newest album, “Southern Air,” has received critical acclaim from critics and reached number 10 on the Billboard 200. Photo courtesy of Megan Thompson.

It’s probably very easy for someone to think back to when Yellowcard’s “Ocean Avenue” was riding the waves of the mainstream.

Back in 2003, the song was number one on Total Request Live and “Ocean Avenue” took over the airwaves with catchy, punk-pop bliss.

Nearly a decade later, the tides of the airwaves have changed.

“Rock in particular obviously is not the most popular anymore,” said Yellowcard lead guitarist Ryan Mendez.

Minus a few specific examples, it has become nearly impossible for a true rock single to chart high on the Billboard Hot 100 or get a play on the mainstream radio stations.

Beloved rock bands that were once the hit of the year have fallen off the radar. Some have dissipated and completely broken up, while others have taken time off.

Few have left, come back and returned better than ever.

Yellowcard has.

In 2008,  lead singer Ryan Key announced that the band would be going on “indefinite hiatus,” after six albums and 10 straight years of being together.

Trials and tribulations of band life, along with personal member situations, were (logical) reasonings behind the break.

After nearly two years on break, Mendez explains how one particular invitation became the final nudge that truly prompted the band to reconsider forming back up again.

“In the beginning of 2010, I know that we got an offer from some sort of festival in Europe – to go play a festival that year. We obviously hadn’t been thinking at all about that. We hadn’t done anything for a couple years,” Mendez explains.

“It was a surprise to us, and I think it was something that kind of opened our eyes a little bit – that ‘Hey, there are people still out there that will care about our band.”

Since the end of the hiatus, in a meager two years, the band has released two full length studio albums (“When Your Through Thinking, Say Yes” and “Southern Air”) and an acoustic album, while touring the entire globe non-stop.

The response to the band’s triumphant return in 2011 was overwhelmingly positive. “Say Yes” was favorably reviewed by critics and fans and led to a worldwide tour to revitalize the band.

“We started the tour that year in February and didn’t stop until December. [It] was like 30 countries and we played like 150 shows and we were exhausted by the end of the year,” Mendez said.

The tour proved that the band had a strong mentality and was steadfast on coming back, better than ever.

“We’re back for real. This isn’t some cheap reunion thing – like we’re being a band again,” Mendez said.

After the positive comeback success, Yellowcard had some true inspiration built up for their next album. And the band wasted no time in making it happen.

Finally taking time off from touring over the holidays in 2011, Key and Mendez went right back into the studio in early 2012.

Mendez explained his initial hesitance for going into making the second album so soon.

“I was just thinking, ‘Man, this is the last thing I want to do. I’m so tired.’ I knew that it made sense, but I had no motivation whatsoever. I felt like we just made the last record,” he explains.

But something was in the air during the process of recording “Southern Air.” Within two weeks, pretty much the entire album was completely written. Mendez had no idea where it came from.

“Once we started to get into the process, then everything flowed so naturally,” he explains.

“I honestly don’t know where it came from or how or why, but all I know is that something happened and something felt really special.”

“Southern Air” was released Aug. 14, 2012 to critical acclaim.

The album peaked at number 10 on the Billboard 200, the highest charting position for a Yellowcard album on this chart since “Lights and Sounds” in 2006.

“Southern Air” has a comforting, yet riveting feel.

It has all of the unique and addictive elements that have defined Yellowcard, and each element is crafted impeccably on each track.

Each song is its own riveting listening experience. The album is a solid, 10-track punk album of the year.

For “Southern Air,” the band co-headlined Warped Tour in June and July and performed overseas in August and September.

Now, Yellowcard is playing back in the States this October and November, and will go international once again the first three months of 2013.

“There’s been no rest,” Mendez chuckles. “There’s a reason why we’re able to still do this,” Mendez said, referring to their fanbase.

Those Yellowcard have influenced for over a decade refuse to leave their side. They motivate the band everyday to keep on.

“All of our hardcore fans that were so supportive then are still here now, and more supportive than ever.”

Yellowcard will be performing at the Fillmore Charlotte, Tuesday, Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. with The Wonder Years and We Are The in Crowd.

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Patrick is a former Community Editor and A&E editor for the Niner Times. He is pursuing a Communications major with minors in Film Studies and Journalism at UNC Charlotte. Contact him at pbogans@uncc.edu.

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