The Wonder Years
The Greatest Generation


4.0
excellent

Review

by brandontaylor USER (14 Reviews)
July 22nd, 2013 | 13 replies | 905 views


Release Date: 05/14/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: It's a testament to The Wonder Years' abilities that The Greatest Generation can be so great but still disappointing.

1 of 1 thought this review was well written

Understandably, my expectations for this album were sky high. 2011’s Suburbia is my favourite all-time album and 2010’s The Upsides was superb too. The band all but invited comparisons to these masterpieces when they labelled The Greatest Generation as the finale of a trilogy. It’s a dip in quality and that’s The Wonder Years’ fault in the best possible way; that TGG can be so great but still disappointing is a testament to their abilities.

Despite their already polished sound, the band still strives to improve. Dan ‘Soupy’ Campbell’s lyrics are the most poignant and striking they’ve ever been. In “Passing Through A Screen Door” he confesses, “While my cousins go to bed with their wives, I feel like I’ve fallen behind”, and later in “Dismantling Summer” he’s demanding an answer, “If I’m in an airport and you’re in a hospital bed, well then what kind of man that make me?” The messages on The Greatest Generation succeed at being personal yet relatable, being palpable yet also beautiful in metaphor.

Soupy’s emotionally multifaceted vocals have improved from being occasionally nasal/whiny to now sounding consistently triumphant (there’s proof in the soaring chorus to “Teenage Parents”). Musicianship is still strong; the bass drum pounds in the bridge of “There, There” and the entry of the band halfway through “The Devil In My Bloodstream” both induce chills. In these two songs, The Wonder Years master mid-tempo pop-punk-power-balladry and it’s a testament to their ability to be versatile within their refined sound.

The shortcoming of the album is its dip in quality in the second half. “Chaser” is mediocrity masked by a killer hook, “Madelyn” feels like an out-of-place retread of The Upsides’ “Hey Thanks” and “An American Religion (FSF) is crisp, but instantly forgettable. I've seen the ambitious 7-minute closer, “I Just Want To Sell Out My Funeral”, described as 'an epic', but with each consecutive listen it drags longer, and the use of earlier songs in the outro begins to feel like a gimmick. These tracks come across as filler, and even great filler is filler nonetheless.

With The Greatest Generation, the band’s made some significant general advancements, and they have an excellent album to show for it. It’s just a shame that The Wonder Years have focused so much on (and succeeded in) improving their overall sound that they’ve lost their ability to make each individual song as amazing as the last.



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user ratings (717)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • hahGAY (4.5)
    Celebrate summer with The Wonder Years....

    Mike Denison (4.5)
    The kind of album where "I know how it feels to be at war with the world that never loved ...

    Frasc5 (4.5)
    The Wonder Years puts forth their best performance, noticeably more mature, and much impro...

    Jacob Snow (4.5)
    Another great release for The Wonder Years that excels lyrically and musically....

  • Aaron Arneson CONTRIBUTOR (5)
    The greatest generation indeed....

    Point1 (4.5)
    Ten years out of high school, the world's changed but the music's stayed the same....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
July 22nd 2013



49788 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Starting a sentence with "That" is weird as fuck

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dimsim3478
July 22nd 2013



4735 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

2011’s Suburbia is my favourite all-time album

lol never start a Wonder Years review with this claim (it's my second favourite so, yes, I can talk).

Good review, though I disagree with your dislike of the second half. Pos'd.

Digging: My Psychoanalyst - Choreomania

brandontaylor
July 22nd 2013



76 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"Starting a sentence with "That" is weird as fuck"

the more i read the summary the more awkward it seemed so i switched the sentence around and hopefully its better now

joshieboy12345
July 22nd 2013



5370 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

As if the second half is disappointing.

Digging: Rise Against - The Black Market

Crawl
July 22nd 2013



1551 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

aoty agreed

brandontaylor
July 22nd 2013



76 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

a raindance in traffic and cul-de-sacs have grown on me a lot but the rest of the second half is still kinda subpar for me

Cygnatti
July 22nd 2013



21349 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

you guys r wierd

Digging: The Avalanches - Since I Left You

lucasjcockcroft
July 22nd 2013



3702 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

tracks 3 and 7-10 sound like suburbia B-sides
the rest is beyond killer though
There There, Passing Through A Screen Door, Devil In My Blood Stream and Cul-de-sac are really Really good

dimsim3478
July 22nd 2013



4735 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

aoty agreed

In any other year, maybe. But fucking 2013, man...

a raindance in traffic and cul-de-sacs have grown on me a lot but the rest of the second half is still kinda subpar for me

I figured out why I like the second half so much: the first half is kind of back to back awesomeness, and it's true that the second doesn't quite live up, but I always listen to this record from start to finish, and the second half (everything after "Bloodstream") plays like one big build-up towards "Funeral".

brandontaylor
July 22nd 2013



76 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"the first half is kind of back to back awesomeness"

i agree except for we could die like this, which imo is a step down from the rest of the first half but doesnt really suffer in quality because it has the albums 2 strongest tracks on either side of it

joshieboy12345
July 22nd 2013



5370 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

A Raindance In Traffic is my favourite song off this.

Azn.
July 22nd 2013



5561 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I don't get the appeal for this album over suburbia

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J0ckstrapsFTW
July 22nd 2013



3652 Comments


Its betta all round



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