TEENS HELL YEA.
Yellowcard’s “Ocean Avenue” will always hold a significant spot in my heart. For one, it’s an excellent album, one of my all time favorites. But I’ll always remember it for a different reason. I was on my way back to Stout and needed something to listen to on the drive. I picked this up in the mall and that was it: the final time I ever bought a CD at a store.
That was 2003.
I love Yellowcard, I have for well over a decade now. They make the kind of easy listening pop-punk I’ll probably always enjoy, and they do it with a violin, which is totally badass. Better still, they don’t change. I was talking about that with a friend lately. They sound the same now as they did back then. This is their latest, and it’s awesome.
This song in particular reminds me of one of my last really great college friends. After my senior year my roommate and I were the only members of our crew to stick around Menomonie for the summer instead of heading home or graduating. A third, Sara, I didn’t know all that well. She was a friend of a friend and in the same boat as my roommate and I. Everyone she knew was gone for the summer too. Eventually the three of us wound up hanging out every day and night. We worked during the day, drank at night, had OC and West Wing marathons sometimes in between. It was a stupid, worthless existence but we managed to stay not-bored.
Sara and I would end up having a lot in common, but before we really knew each other, music was the way we managed to connect. We loved many of the same bands and when the Warped Tour came around we went together despite not really being friends yet.
It was one of the hottest days I can remember. Instead of the typical Summerset location, Warped that year was in the Metrodome parking lot, and christ was it packed. The rest of the details from that day sketchy. I don’t remember much about the actual show because a year later I did virtually the same thing with my then girlfriend. The two memories just kind of blend. So whether I saw Avenged Sevenfold or Story of the Year or No Use for a Name or From Autumn to Ashes or Matchbook Romance that day with Sara or the next with Ginny isn’t totally clear to be honest.
Other than the heat, Sara and Yellowcard are really the only two things I remember about that day. We would go from stage to stage, and everywhere we went she’d take my hand while I navigated to the crowd. If things got chaotic while we watched a band she’d put her arms around me and hold on for dear life. When we got too hot we’d lay down inside the Metrodome and she’d put her head on my shoulder. It was sweet.
That summer she became about as good a friend as I would have in school. We always seemed to be dating other people during my final year at Stout, and for some reason she was always the one who’s approval I’d need. While my guy friends and I had your typical dude friendships, she was the one I could have meaningful conversations with.
On her last night at Stout we both got shitty and I may have drunkenly poured my heart out to her. I don’t remember exactly what was said, I just remember sitting with her at 2:00 am really wishing she wasn’t about to leave my life.
It would be five years before I’d see her again. She was married and living many hours away. She came back to Stout for homecoming one weekend and looked me up, knowing I was still in the area. We did the thing where we caught up and had drinks. As nice as it was, it was still a little bittersweet. For some reason she’s always seemed like one my biggest mistakes, if that makes any sense. I don’t know.
So yea, anyway, this song always makes me think of her.