Paper Walls

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For the book by John Ajvide Lindqvist, see Paper Walls (book).
Paper Walls
Studio album by Yellowcard
Released July 17, 2007
Recorded October 16, 2006 – March 22, 2007 at Ocean Studios, Burbank, California
Genre Pop punk,[1][2] emo, alternative rock[1]
Length 47:45
Label Capitol
0946 3 98153 2 6
Producer Neal Avron
Yellowcard chronology
Lights and Sounds
Paper Walls
iTunes Live from Las Vegas at the Palms
Singles from Paper Walls
  1. "Light Up the Sky"
    Released: June 4, 2007
  2. "Fighting"
    Released: 2007

Paper Walls is the third major-label album from American pop punk band Yellowcard, released on July 17, 2007, but their fourth full-length studio album with Ryan Key and sixth including those recorded before him. This is also the first Yellowcard album with Ryan Mendez, the last with Peter Mosely, and the last studio album to be released through Capitol Records. The album was recorded at Ocean Studios in Burbank, California and was mixed at South Beach Studios in Miami, Florida.

In an interview with Jason Tate of[3] released on June 17 (one month before the release of the album), vocalist Ryan Key described the album as

Recording and production[edit]

On October 16, 2006, only six months after the release of their previous album, Lights and Sounds, the band announced over their official website that they were back in the studio recording a new album. Pre-production began in October 2006 and tracking began in January 2007. From January to March 2007, studio footage labeled "Yellowcard Sessions" regarding the band's progress on making the album was posted on the band's MySpace.

"Light Up the Sky" was the first track to be fully mixed and finished. However, "Fighting" was the first track to be released to the public on Yellowcard's official MySpace page. Shortly afterward, the full version of "Light Up the Sky" was posted as well along with another new song, "Five Becomes Four". On June 4, "Light Up the Sky" was released to radio stations across America, and became the most added song to radio that week.

On July 17, 2007, the release date of Paper Walls, lead singer Ryan Key posted a blog entry on the band's official MySpace page regarding the album's debut as well as thoughts concerning its previous leak onto the internet

Shortly after the album's leak and release date, the songs "Shadows and Regrets" and "Five Becomes Four" were first believed to have been written about former guitarist Ben Harper, who left the band to focus on his record label, after recording Lights and Sounds last year. However, recently it has been said that "Shadows and Regrets" is about Scott Shad, former drummer of Inspection 12 and best friend of Ryan Key, who died in a car crash. The song seems to reflect this interpretation better, as the chorus states "We were only kids. And we were best of friends. And we hoped for the best. Let go of the rest." While this could understandably be about Ben Harper, he and Key only met in high school, whereas Key and Shad knew each other their entire lives.

Yellowcard Sessions[edit]

Between the months of December 2006 and March 2007, several videos chronicling the progress of the album's production were posted on the band's YouTube and MySpace pages, with a new video added every Thursday. Ten videos were posted in total. The first few videos didn't have much to do with the band's progress on the album, and they just showed the band in their time off from recording and writing. One video was purely a comedy show, featuring Ryan Key getting pranked by the rest of the band. In the ninth video, "Light Up the Sky" was previewed for the first time for those watching and for the band.

The tenth and last video in the series chronicled the last day of production, which lasted until 6 a.m. on March 22, 2007. The video contains footage of the band finishing the last song to be completely finished and tracked, which was the iTunes bonus, "Bombers".

Since the studio footage videos, the band has been making videos of their experiences while touring and on the road.

Music style[edit]

Throughout the months of October 2006 to March 2007, Yellowcard engaged in feedback response with their fans to somewhat suggest or influence the outcome of the upcoming album. When asked about the direction of the album, Ryan Mendez responded that this follow-up to Lights and Sounds "has the energy and intensity that Ocean Avenue had and some similarities, but not necessarily exactly the same".[4] He also stated on the official Yellowcard message board on October 21, 2006 that three songs were currently completed and that "[he] really thinks fans of both older and newer Yellowcard are going to be very happy." Additionally, in January 2007, some sample demo songs were released on the band's MySpace, though they were only rough recordings from pre-production and not the final recorded versions. One demo was a 30-second rough recording of "Date Line (I Am Gone)". Another was the intro to "Bombers", which ultimately did not make it onto the album.

Promotion and sales[edit]

The first Yellowcard show since October 2006, when the album began production, took place on March 29, 2007 at the Troubadour in Hollywood, California. At the show, lead singer Ryan Key announced to a sold out crowd that the new album would be titled Paper Walls. During the Troubadour show, Yellowcard played two songs from their new album ("Fighting " and "The Takedown"). The band played an acoustic set the next night at the Troubadour and also played two new songs, "Shadows and Regrets" and "Light Up the Sky".

On May 22, 2007, the cover art for the album was posted on the band's MySpace profile, along with new promotional pictures. The cover art of the album shows the night skyline of Jacksonville, Florida, the band's hometown. It was announced in a press release for the album that Paper Walls would be released in an additional CD/DVD format, much in the same vein as Lights and Sounds was the previous year.[5] Additionally, on June 11, 2007, Yellowcard's official website was updated to feature a new design for the new album. Their MySpace page was also updated to a new layout to match the theme of the album. Three MySpace skins resembling the Paper Walls theme were made available on the Capitol Records website on June 29.[6]

In June fans voted Yellowcard (over My Chemical Romance) for the next AOL Sessions Under Cover. The session went live on July 19, one day earlier than planned. It features two songs from Paper Walls.

Following its release, Paper Walls was heavily advertised and promoted. On July 20, the band participated in an interactive meeting with fans on, a 3-D online virtual world. In August, they played a show in the studio in Los Angeles that was streamed on their MySpace page, while taking song requests directly from fans via the MySpace Instant Messenger. There have also been several other promotional attempts by the band in the month following the album's release.

Following the album's release, it debuted at number 13 on the U.S. Billboard 200, selling about 40,000 copies in its first week, which is less than half of the first week sales of their previous studio album, Lights and Sounds. In its second week, Paper Walls fell to #46, selling 17,000 units. On week three it hit #70 with sales of about 10,000 copies, and on week four it fell to #92, selling 7,000 copies that week. A total of 74,000 copies were sold in the first four weeks of release.[7]

The lead single, "Light Up the Sky", peaked at #32 'Billboard Adult Top 40 Tracks in the U.S.

In early 2008, Capitol Records announced that they will not promote Paper Walls anymore, meaning that a second single was not released.

"Fighting" appears in the video game Madden NFL 08.

"The Takedown" is featured in the video game Guitar Hero: Van Halen and documentary Warren Miller's Playground.


Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic (62/100)[8]
Review scores
Source Rating
AbsolutePunk (87%)[9]
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[10]
Alternative Press 3/5 stars
Entertainment Weekly (C)[11]
IGN (7.4/10)[12]

The reactions of critics who have been sent copies of the album to preview before its release have been positive, which has a score of 62 (indicating generally favorable reviews) on Metacritic which is higher than its predecessor Lights and Sounds.[8]

The webmaster of The Music Nazi claiming it to be the best record since Brand New's "The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me". Jason Tate, webmaster of has said it is "the best "pop-punk" album of the past 5 or so years"[13] and Drew Beringer claims it to be "like Ocean Avenue, but with more balls." He went on further to say "The more I listen to Paper Walls by Yellowcard, the more I fall in love with it. It has been a long time since a pop-punk album has really enthralled me. Everyone is going to dig this." [14] Down The Road Webzine gave a high score for this album which is 8.5/10 and said "but this is one fun pop-punk record that is worth listening to and in my eyes, they’ve more than redeemed themselves with this album". Rocklouder gave the album 4 stars out 5 stars and saying " Paper Walls is the perfect pop-punk album for those seeking a leisurely listen." Billboard gave the album 8 out of 10. Amazon gave the album a positive review saying "the lyrics are direct and honest, while they've broadened their sonic palette to allow a tad more dissonance in with their urgent and propulsive pop-punk.

Allmusic was satisfied with Paper Walls and claimed "Yellowcard is neither the flashiest nor the most popular among the new millennium's pop-punk bands but their fifth album Paper Walls goes a long way in proving that they are among the best of their breed."[10]

With positive critical reception from critics, fans enjoyed Paper Walls as well. This is shown on Metacritic with a 7.6 out of 10, indicating generally positive reviews.[8]


On June 23, 2007, almost a whole month before the album's official release date, eleven songs from the album leaked onto the internet. The last two songs, "Cut Me, Mick" and "Paper Walls", were leaked closer to the album's release date. Considering the unusually early leak of the album, it is surprising that there have been no official comments on the leak. Between the time of the leak and the release date however, the band members kept insistently urging fans to buy the album and give them their support even if they've already downloaded the songs.

When Ryan Mendez viewed discussion of the leak going on in YCUnderdogs, the band's official fan community and forum, he stated in response, "glad you guys like the album".[15] Also, on the album's release date, band frontman Ryan Key posted a blog entry on the band's official MySpace concerning the release and the leak:

No other comments have been made about the leak, however the band continues to urge people to buy their record and support them.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Yellowcard, except "Dear Bobbie" by Yellowcard & William Alexander Speir. 

No. Title Length
1. "The Takedown"   3:37
2. "Fighting"   3:00
3. "Shrink the World"   3:20
4. "Keeper"   3:55
5. "Light Up the Sky"   3:37
6. "Shadows and Regrets"   3:59
7. "Five Becomes Four"   3:30
8. "Afraid"   3:13
9. "Date Line (I Am Gone)"   3:22
10. "Dear Bobbie"   4:14
11. "You and Me and One Spotlight"   3:57
12. "Cut Me, Mick"   3:34
13. "Paper Walls"   4:28
Total length:
  • All bonus tracks were made available on iTunes. "Gift and Curses" (Live & Acoustic) and "How I Go" (Live & Acoustic) were made available on the deluxe DVD of the album.




Year Chart Position
2007 U.S. Billboard 200 13
UK Albums Chart 113
Australian Albums Chart 25


Year Single Chart Position
2007 Light Up the Sky Hot Adult Top 40 Tracks 32
U.S. Modern Rock Tracks 41


External links[edit]