Review Summary: Another great release for The Wonder Years that excels lyrically and musically.
The Wonder Years have been around since 2007 and I only found them a few months ago. With me being 17, it only seemed obvious that the music of the band would have appealed to me. I looked more into the band and saw that they had started off as somewhat of a joke to pop punk with "Get Stoked on it!" But I noticed that as I continued to listen, the band matured with each release.
6 years and 3 albums later, the band has release their 4th and most mature record to date. The album runs 13 tracks (including a 7:35 closer) and contains strong lyrics and vocals, as well as top performances from the rest of the band. Opening up with "There, There" the record starts off with a kicking opener with Dan singing "I'm sorry I don't laugh at the right times." Which stands among the moments of the album that gave me chills. The other moment where this occurs is in the track "The Devil In My Bloodstream." The first half the song contains piano and is very heartfelt as Soupy sings, and then halfway through doors are knocked down as Dan screams "I bet I'd be a ****ing Coward!" and the song picks up steam.
Memorable lyrics are all over TGG, taking references of world war 2 to help symbolize and establish metaphors about growing up and out of the teen years. The lyrics hit deep, and one of the my favorite lines comes from "Passing Through a Screen Door," where a conflicted Dan yells "I'm 26, all the people I graduated with, all have kids, all have wives, all have people that care if they come home at night." The lines of the album all have this theme to it, of becoming too old to stay a kid, and seeing everyone you know move on with life. The members of the band are conflicted on what to do with their lives.
The only song I found myself not liking was "Madelyn," and that's solely due to me not liking the recording style of it. Soupy sings along with a guitar to start off the song, and while the song itself is good, I didn't find the sound of the recording appealing. It sounded like they used one mic for the guitar and vocals, and while that's interesting, I felt like Dan was being held back in what he could have done vocally.
The album closes in a way that I only wish happened more often. The final track, "I Just Wanna Sell out my funeral," is a 7 minute song that brings things to a nice close. Halfway through the track, the band allures back to the hooks and lines of the other songs of the record, meshing together everything that made the album what it is. The lines, when put all together at once, is one of the best moments I've ever heard in music; some listeners have stated they had shed tears, and I have to admit I came close at points. More albums need to end with closers like these, ones that encompass the entirety of the album.
This record is a gem in the genre of pop punk, simply put. This album stands out as a great entry into The Wonder Years' Discography as well. In the album's booklet, there's a writing at the end that discusses who the greatest generation was, but takes note of something interesting. The band asks the reader, "Why not us?" suggesting that we work harder as a generation to become more memorable than what society considers "The Greatest Generation," and have us replace them as the best. It's all very inspiring, and leaves you with a sense of hope. Take that as you may, but I see it as a great piece of advice alongside a great album.