Review Summary: You were the obvious one.
Pop-Punk. The genre has roots leading all the way back to the mid-1970s and mid-1980s. Punk and Hardcore music being influenced and mixed with pop. That’s all there is to it. There’s nothing palpably special about it. It doesn’t change anything, it doesn’t innovate or push forward. It’s just Pop-Punk music; the same it's always been. There’s been many labels people have associated it with over the years. Childish. Simple and Simple-minded. Disingenuous. Half-hearted and boring. The music itself was never overly complex. The lyrics were as deep as a puddle created by a rainstorm that passed many hours before. There are many who believe that because of all of this, the genre doesn’t make much sense as to why it exists.
Yet it still exists. Every year, new Pop-Punk bands makes their way onto headlines, Warped Tours, and to the ears of fans of the genre. Something about the music resonates with so many people across countless homes, cities, and countries. It’s a thought I’ve had many times. Why does this type of music seem to speak to me more than others. Maybe, I reasoned, it’s that since it’s not particularly hard to play the music, I would see more people similar to myself making a name for themselves. Just average people who never took much seriously, including music. Maybe it’s the emotion that comes through Pop-Punk music. It sounds silly, but the simple words of the genre speak more to me as I live my life and look back on my past. No matter the reason, this genre that is no more than a blemish to some people is my bread and butter. I live with it and live by it.
So, with those thoughts out of the way, it makes complete sense why The Wonder Years seem to find themselves as the frontrunners of the genre. Their brand of punk music isn’t harsh or hardcore. The vocals aren’t anywhere even coming close to perfect. Yet, you can feel every ounce of emotion pouring through every note. Every chord, every riff, every voice crack. Each song speaks at the most personal level. Detailing the motions of love, regret, and grief that everybody has gone through at some point of their life. The Wonder Years are the best at what they do because they understand how to put into music form the emotions that people like me feel everyday.
By translating some of their greatest hits into an acoustic form, they add just another layer to those emotions. The somber opening lines of “A Song For Ernest Hemingway” pours through slowly and gradually builds until it hits the small explosion that is the chorus. “There, There”, one of the most beloved and popular The Wonder Years songs, makes the transformation into acoustic gracefully, amplifying the mood of remorse up to eleven. “You In January” turns into a soft and tear-jerking ballad, the best the band has ever performed. “Burst and Decay” is a reaffirmation of purpose. It reminds me of why I listen and come back to this music constantly. It reminds me of why I await new albums and EPs with such passion. So, wait for the next album I will.