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“Oldest Daughter” finds The Wonder Years both maturing and, um, dematuring. “Oldest Daughter” sees the pop punk powerhouses return to the generation of The Greatest Generation in more ways than one. The track is a direct sequel to that album’s acoustic number “Madelyn” and, musically, this is the most pop punk they’ve sounded since The Greatest Generation (arguably since Suburbia). The structure is that of a classic pop punk song: Verse -> pre-chorus -> chorus -> repeat -> bridge -> end with a chorus. The chorus rips, there’s a chugging guitar riff, there are some sing-a-long echoes, and it never slows down for a “quiet” section. In other words, “Oldest Daughter” sounds like everything you would want from a pop-punk song in 2012, just a decade too late. 

Yet, somehow, “Oldest Daughter” is also maybe the most mature that The Wonder Years have ever sounded. Dan Campbell has developed a deeper control of his voice since the release of Sister Cities five years ago (the vibrato!). The production sounds much cleaner than their previous two releases, yet still rough enough that it avoids sounding sterile (the harmonies!). Campbell has also clearly taken some influence from Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties in his lyrics, as the storytelling style that The Wonder Years already lean into is transformed into an even more literal style, sharing the heartbreaking story of what Madelyn’s life has turned into in the ten years since (the imagery!). 

“Oldest Daughter” is a great band returning to their great roots and creating a great song. They don’t reinvent the wheel, but perhaps even more impressively, they instead choose to mature in small, impactful ways. The song itself is incredibly solid but, even more importantly, it gets fans and listeners even more excited for what may be coming next.

Score: 4/5

Sputnik Singles Chart:

  1. Blut Aus Nord – “That Cannot Be Dreamed” (3.9)
  2. Regina Spektor – “Becoming All Alone” (3.9)
  3. Yeule – “Too Dead Inside” (3.5)
  4. Arcade Fire – “The Lightning I, II” (3.2)
  5. Phoebe Bridgers – “Sidelines” (3.1)
  6. Bad Omens – “Like A Villain” (2.8)
  7. Muse – “Won’t Stand Down” (2.5)
  8. Red Hot Chili Peppers – “Black Summer” (2.3)
  9. Avril Lavigne – “Bite Me” (2.3)
  10. Weezer – “A Little Bit of Love” (2.3)
  11. Shinedown – “Planet Zero” (2.2)
  12. Grimes – “Shinigami Eyes” (1.9)

Better than everything off of Sister Cities. Cannot wait for the inevitable album

rating system could really use Sput's usuar .5 system, cause some of the tracks are easily 2.5 and such.

the song is pretty decent, though it lacks any distinct Wonder Years character, the hook is too middle-of-the-road and relies too much on sheer power of vocals and performance. it's fine, but here's hoping their next single is better and the album is indeed on the way.

"rating system could really use Sput's usuar .5 system, cause some of the tracks are easily 2.5 and such."

Google Forms doesn't allow for fractional numbers. I could expand it to 1-10 but then there'd be even more variance between ratings and thus less-pretty bar graphs. I could always implement changes for 2023 if enough people want it.

i see i see

hopefully, enough people will. this has been fun so far

so nice to hear a well produced twy song again
also nice that the song is pretty great

Significantly better than Madelyn and pretty hard hitting lyric and story-wise. Loving the sound here and looking forward to the album

Random note: someone pointed out that the colors of the album covers for their last couple albums correspond with The Upsides and Sububia and that this singles cover (with the orange) corresponds with TGG. Kinda interesting and could have been intentional

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