No feeling in music can match the emotional magnitude of one of your all-time favorite bands, one that you grew up with and connected to your entire life, hanging up the mic. That’s what happened for me with Yellowcard in 2016, and I was fortunate enough not to have to endure one of those ugly breakups – nor a painful-to-watch fade into irrelevancy. For the most part, even if their radio success waned after Ocean Avenue, YC was very much a strong presence in pop-punk until the day they retired. Their farewell self-titled LP, Yellowcard, was the ultimate curtain call, and the lengthy finale to that album, “Fields & Fences”, will go down as one of my favorite songs from the band.
“Fields and Fences” will be remembered as the last thing Yellowcard ever composed as a band, and it is downright jaw-dropping and worthy of the role it plays. Commencing as a simply strummed, country-esque ballad (I want to start living I want to be brave, I want to find where I belong / Because I still remember the reasons I write, things that I’ve dreamed for so long), it slowly evolves into something more. Violins chime in midway through, joined by stunning acoustic picking, and as the track begins to wind and turn – almost like a long retrospective walk through the band’s past – it finally erupts into a crescendo of electric guitars, purposeful and echoing drums, and the band’s emotional parting words:
I don’t have much that I can give to you
But I love the way you make me feel
Like I’m at home and I am not alone
With the last several seconds ticking away on Yellowcard’s celebrated career, the conclusiveness of it all is overwhelming. Themes of love, loss, and the concept of what home means run throughout the veins of this track, and it feels like a representation of everything that has ever meant anything to both the band and their loyal fans. Like Yellowcard as a whole, it’s a befitting and worthwhile finale to one of the most incredible, memorable rides in the history of pop-punk.