Review Summary: And what i learned was, its not about forcing happines, its about not letting sadness win.
The Wonder Years are the leading light in the revival of pop-punk, with the angst and aggression of ‘punk,’ the catchiness of ‘pop,’ and lyrics ranging from genius to almost zero subtly, yet still completely heart felt, The Wonder Years have this genre mastered, and have released an album that will stick with you forever, this is not an album you hear once and forget. This is a prime example of great musicianship and band mates coming together with incredible amount of ideas to create a near perfect album with almost no flaws.
Relatable: maybe this is what makes The Wonder Years so good, with Dan ‘Soupy’ Campbell singing away at such lyrical topics as ‘is this really adult hood",’ life really isn’t bad as it seems,’ ‘lost friends,’ ‘good friends,’ ‘this is town I live in’ and maybe most importantly ‘am I making the right decision’. Their common man approach to music also works with the suburbia concept of the album, making it believable that these guys have true struggles, ones every day people have, and not just musicians.
The album starts off with Came out Swinging, and the first noticeable thing is the deepening of Dan Campbell’s voice compared to The Upsides, it’s more raw and sounds like there is hardly an enhancing. The song begins with some feed back and then guitar to build up to very short pause, then we hear Dan Campbell aggressively deliver with full sincerity he has, “moved all my shit into my parents basement, and out of our old apartment,”. The Wonder Years ponder their actions and question themselves, ‘are we making the right decision,’ “I left a real job and a girlfriend” topics most bands don’t talk about when their thrust into the hardships of touring year round. Scared knowing life will never be the same or regular again.
‘I Won’t Say the Lord’s Prayer’ finishes, and done is the most serious song on the album, basically calling Christianity bull ***, a rough topic to base a song around, especially in such a genre, but it works and they don’t come off as being ignorant. At this point most albums enter the filler section, almost to build up with few average songs to make the last seem better. But The Wonder Years don’t do that, the last few songs never let up and they even include a ballad, about of old Vietnam vets and the homeless alcoholics that fill up his town.
The album comes to a conclusion with the bitter sweet And Now I'm Nothing, perhaps the best track on the album. A sad one, but it seems to say that The Wonder Years has come to terms with them selves…and suburbia.
Suburbia: I’ve Given You All and Now I’m nothing