IRVINE, California — In the unwritten rules of pop-punk, there’s only one way to follow up a pair of upbeat, infectious singles. The “chick song.”
And so goes Yellowcard’s “Only One.”
“We try not to write very many chick songs because there is definitely enough of those in the world, there are enough records that have 15 songs about the same girl who did the same thing to the same guy,” singer Ryan Key said backstage at KROQ’s annual Weenie Roast (see “Beastie Boys Serve Up Ill Classics At Weenie Roast” ). “But we tried to write a song that was a little different, kind of looks at it from a different angle than a normal relationship/broken-heart song.”
Rather than rage or mend, “Only One” simply sets out to apologize. “Made my mistakes, let you down,” Key sings in one of the more telling verses. “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.”
“Only One,” which is heavily coated with string arrangements, has stood out to Yellowcard since the band wrote it in the studio, a rare occurrence for the Jacksonville, Florida, quintet.
“We usually have everything written, ready to go before we go in there, but it was really fun because we built it from the ground up,” Key said. “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.”
The band just shot a video for the tune with director Phil Harder, best known for Incubus’ “Drive” and Foo Fighters’ “Next Year.”
“It’s a video for the times, in this state of the world,” Key said coyly. “We definitely did a less literal translation of what the song is about. It’s a little bit of a love story that is surrounded by a lot of chaos and confusion.”
Yellowcard read several directors’ treatments for “Only One” but only Harder’s stood out.
“Just because you have a distorted guitar and a faster drumbeat in your band, like every treatment is there’s kids on half-pipes with BMX bikes and girls in bikinis,” Key said. “This one just came in and it was so inspiring and so different, so creative. It had nothing to do with rock and roll.”
Key offered Harder a few suggestions and continued to work closely with the director throughout the shoot.
“These guys [pointing to his band] probably get pretty annoyed at me ’cause I’m always like, ‘No, no, no, like this, like this,’ when we’re on set,” Key said. “But I’m really happy with that. I wanted to do films ever since I was a little kid and this one was a big huge production and we had a blast doing it.”
Key enjoyed the process so much, he’s thinking about directing a video on his own in the future.
“The producer on the video, I remember we were doing something and I was just mad correcting and he stopped me and he was like, ‘Dude, you’re gonna be a great director someday,’ ” Key recalled. “It was a huge compliment.”
Yellowcard are spending the summer on the Warped Tour, where the band plans to spend some of its time on the bus writing for the follow-up to Ocean Avenue.
“We’re really trying to get started so we have a lot of ideas to choose from,” Key said. “We don’t wanna make the same record twice, but we wanna keep our fans happy.”