"Only One" is the third single from American pop punk band Yellowcard. This song is the third and last single from Ocean Avenue and the sixth track. Known for being another TRL hit, it is one of Yellowcard's lengthier tracks, partly due to its violin solo.
"Only One" had to be shortened, from 4:17 to 3:55, for radio airplay purposes. The violin solo in the bridge had to be cut.
In this song, vocalist/guitarist Ryan Key plays the bass. The video was the last to feature Ben Harper as the lead guitarist, and the first to feature Pete Mosely as the bassist.
In an interview with MTV News in May 2004, Key revealed that a riff for "Only One" was discovered by accident. "We were testing something else out and just tracked it right away. We then added a drum loop to it and just kept adding tracks. We built it track by track in the studio, and we've never really done that before." Key also noted that the song was based on one of his previous relationships; "It was a weird breakup. It was one of those where I felt like I had to do it, even though she didn't do anything wrong. I just needed some space to figure life out for a while on my own. And I think that's what the song says."
The following month, in a follow-up with MTV News, the band revealed that the song was one of their "chick song[s]" off Ocean Avenue. Ryan Key in discussion of the song, said that rather than rage or mend, the song simply sets out to apologize; The lyric, "Made my mistakes, let you down / And I can't, I can't hold on for too long / Ran my whole life in the ground / And I can't, I can't get up when you're gone", were written in the theme of apologizing. In the same interview, Key said: "We usually have everything written, ready to go before we go in there [studio], but it was really fun because we built it from the ground up. It's a cool, different song for us. It's been real challenging for us to play live because we never really practice it, which keeps it fresh."
"Only One" is a ballad and the music featured is heavily coated with string arrangements.
The song received positive reviews from critics. Nick Madsen of IGN, in review of the album, wrote: "...'Only One', Ryan Key weaves a sad tale of love lost by choice. One of the few depressing songs on the album this track sees Key stealing the show with heart-wrenching melodies and desperate vocals. Honesty is a trend throughout this album and this song is a prime example of how sincerity can up the ante in the emotional department." Tekindra Jones of The Daily Vidette, wrote: "The song that stuck out the most to me on this CD was 'Only One'. The song is about another romantic relationship coming to an end. The lyrics explore the ensuing frustration which occurs when two people are in love but cannot make their relationship work. The music provided an excellent illustration of the need to let go as it was described in the lyrics." In a review in Punknews.org, Jason Tate reported that the song "has what may be the most memorable hook" that he has ever heard. One May 1st 2012, it was added as a downloadable song for Rock Band 3.