Review Summary: *The* near-perfect pop-punk record
Pop-punk is one of, if not, my favorite genres. However, it bothers me that so many people discredit it just because of the heavy fluff of average bands it contains. When a pop-punk band releases an album that hits you, it goes deep. The Wonder Years have done this for many with The Upsides, and do it again (and better) with Suburbia: I’ve Given You Alll and Now I’m Nothing.
From start to finish, this record will captivate. Starting with “Came Out Swinging,” it does just what the title implies. Setting the mood with energy that will last you to the last track as singer Daniel “Soupy” Campbell belts out lyrics like “I spent this year as a ghost / And I’m not sure what I’m looking for / A voice on the phone / That you rarely answer anymore,” the song is set to perk your ears. “Came Out Swinging” is only part of a trio of introspective fast-paced tracks with “Woke Up Older” and “Local Man Ruins Everything.” You won’t get room for even a little breath until the interlude “Suburbia,” which officially starts the theme of suburban angst.
In the middle of the album is the dramatic “I Won’t Say the Lord’s Prayer,” a soft stop from the seemingly never-ending energy packed in “My Life as a Pigeon” and “Summers in PA.” The lyrics are scathing, anti-Christian, and will instantly find a way into your thoughts, closing with the poignant line “If we’re all just Christians or lions / I think I’d rather be on the side with sharper teeth / I don’t need saving.” The track is a definite stand-out that’s probably going to be quoted by fans everywhere.
“Coffee Eyes” and “Don’t Let Me Cave In,” are both tracks released early, mark definite improvement and maturation from the previous album. These two songs highlight near-perfect drumming and guitar work that outshines the rest of the album. “You Made Me Want to Be a Saint” follows quickly, an emotional track dedicated to a passed on friend.
The album closes with the tracks “Hoodie Weather” and “And Now I’m Nothing.” With lyrics in the former like “I was born here / I'll probably die here / Let's go home” and “Growing up means watching my heroes turn human in front of me,” a sense of the end is bound to your mind as the epic “And Now I’m Nothing” leads in. Containing an anthem of a chorus along with lyrics of reminiscence that turn you to a fading outro, this might be the band’s greatest song yet.
This record has incredible, crisp-clear production. This record has raw powerful vocals. This record has great musicianship. This record has sharp, intelligent lyrics. Hell, this record has gang vocals (which everyone’s a sucker for). This record is, simply put, amazing. While this isn’t the pop-punk album that our next generation will rock out to, this is the album that proves The Wonder Years are soon going to make that 5/5 classic.