Review Summary: The Wonder Years puts forth their best performance, noticeably more mature, and much improved from their previous releases
The Wonder Years has always been a great band, but with The Greatest Generation they've solidified their place as the predominant force in all of modern pop-punk.
This album doesn't offer anything drastically different than past releases, rather it showcases pure mastery of a sound The Wonder Years have spent four albums cultivating. The instrumentation is just as hectic and fun as ever, Soupy's vocals have noticeably improved, and the song writing on this album is the absolute best you've ever heard from the Wonder Years.
First and foremost, though there's nothing glaringly new to be heard, subtle changes to the song writing and withing the group help to make this release the best yet. Soupy's vocals are better than ever, they're cleaner, stronger, clearer, and feature increased vocal range, all the while conveying just as much passion as he ever has. This is the strongest he's ever been, and really helps the album shine. Additionally, the song composition on this album has also noticeably improved, featuring a variety of techniques that breath new life into the Wonder Years. Songs such as "The Devil in my Bloodstream" feature this improved song writing, beginning with a slow, melodic piano introduction, before transitioning to standard pop-punk song composition. However subtle changes such as this give each song a refreshing quality, and very rarely will you come across a pop-punk band that is as adept as the Wonder Years at writing new yet familiar music. The final change most readily apparent is the increased frequency of backing vocals from guitarist Matt Brasch and bassist Josh Martin. Though these backing vocals have always been used, they're much stronger, and much more integral to the song writing of this album, often featuring dual vocal lines with Soupy that adds further variety to The Wonder Years' sound.
The lyrics on this album are just as powerful as ever, dealing with familiar concepts such as maturation, death of loved ones, love, and life in general. If anything, the lyrics on this album outdo any that Soupy has penned before, and sets a new standard for conveying emotion through music. The lyrics are supported by tight, hectic, riff happy instrumentation that gives the album a fast paced tempo and general upbeat feeling. This instrumentation is one of the things that keeps the album so invigorating, starting with the energy high and never letting up.
I don't like to review song by song in an album review, but "I Just Want to Sell Out my Funeral" is one of the best The Wonder Years has ever written, taking themes addressed throughout the album and focusing all of them into one, bombastic song with numerous Wonder Years references. For any fan, this song not only serves as an amazing album closer, but a summary of sorts of all their records. It's an ingenious way to end the album, and definitely one of the best songs they've written.
The Greatest Generation is...well, the greatest album yet produced by The Wonder Years, featuring numerous improvements while staying true to the traditional Wonder Years' sound. If you enjoy pop-punk at all you need this album, not only is it phenomenal, it sets new standards for what can be achieved in pop-punk.