While cynical, “City of Devils,” “Hollywood Died” and the title cut speak of staying true to one’s principles and warn that showbiz fame comes at a price. As in the movie Big Fish, a tall tale-telling dad wants to connect with his son on “How I Go.” Other songs mourn a soldier’s death (“Two Weeks From Twenty”), note the dangers of living in L.A.’s fast lane (“Rough Landing, Holly”) and remember 9/11 (“Words, Hands, Hearts”).
The despairing singer gives up on life (“There’s nothing to fight for/It’s already dead”) on “Down on My Head.” “Sure Thing Falling” may allude to drug use (“Remember how we used to get so high”). Equally obscure, “Martin Sheen or JFK” finds a lonely man of sorrows turning to a bottle. Mild profanities mar “Waiting Game” and the anti-war narrative “Two Weeks From Twenty.”
If a soccer player gets a yellow card, it’s an official’s warning. If a teen picks up a Yellowcard CD, it should be a warning to parents that their young music fan is in for a cryptic downer. Lights and Sounds’ central theme involves the travails of being a successful rocker in Hollywood. Will teens relate? Maybe not to the specifics, but adolescent angst knows no boundaries.