Through this lens, it’s hard not to think of the first four tracks on the album as being about Spider-man. First track “The Takedown” comes with a gnarly opening track and lines like “I feel things changing when I move” and “How did I end up like this, the chosen one?” C’mon now. Obviously, this song is about Peter Parker’s angst over being caught between using his spidey powers to save New Yorkers and staying at home to cuddle with Mary Jane, as she does require a fairly high level of intimacy.
“Fighting” is just more Yellowcard-pop-punk-by-numbers. The band’s biggest strength is still drummer Longineu W. Parsons III. Knock on the other guys all you want – Parsons pounds the skins with extreme prejudice and rocks “the fast beat” better than most. The aspect the band is prolly most well known for, Sean Mackin’s violin, is buried so deep in the mix here that he no longer matters all that much. He gets to play ball on the ballads and “The Takedown,” but otherwise he’s so low that he’s practically excised. Also, this track reminds me of Spider-man trying to motivate himself before his big battle. We’ll say he’s taking on the Green Goblin after he killed Gwen Stacey.
Later in the album, Key switches from Spider-man to the X-Men on “Five Becomes Four.” At first play, it might sound like Key is singing about the departure of guitarist Ben Harper from the group, but I like to think he’s referring to the first death of Jean Grey at the end of the “Dark Phoenix Saga,” as she was the first of the original five X-Men to die. Heavy.
The last track worth mentioning is “Dear Bobbie.” A country-esque love song about the Greatest Generation, it’s a cute ditty about getting old and staying in love. I’m lost as how to best transcribe this one, but, like Kurt Busiek, I shall find a path. I’m thinking this one is about Captain America at the end of his life in Civil War. He’s pledging his love to Sharon Carter while, for some odd reason, thinking of Cap. fill-in Bob Russo. Blame it on the blood loss.
Paper Walls is a decent pop punk record, provided you’re into the radio sheen end of the spectrum. After the commercial disappointment of Lights and Sounds, Yellowcard returned to the sound of breakout hit Ocean Avenue, with solid results. A worthy companion piece, while it doesn’t deliver anything new, at the very least, it gives me an excuse to think about Marvel some more. That Marvel Zombies vs. The Army of Darkness was something, eh?