The Wonder Years
No Closer to Heaven


4.5
superb

Review

by stasar USER (15 Reviews)
May 7th, 2019 | 15 replies


Release Date: 2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: I get it

I didn’t get it.

People cloaked the Wonder Years in hype. The best pop punk since the early 2000s, they claimed.

I didn’t get it.

Somber didn’t do it for me, then. I wanted lightning strikes and anger, burning like skin on a grill. I lived for immature verses and catchy choruses. It needed accessibility, sarcasm, punch. It bordered on superficial connection. Nothing tender—anything but.

So, I didn’t get it at all. Frankly, the album art was one of the ugliest things I’ve ever seen. The praise seemed exaggerated. Pretentious, too, with lines like, “I ran the dishwasher this morning. I wanted there to be clean plates for you tonight." Hell, I didn’t want to do my own dishes. Only sanitary, tidy hipsters do the dishes. Or so I thought.

After the first shot I gave the band in 2017, I kept only A Song for Ernest Hemingway. My first reactions to my bud were lukewarm; something like “bouncy, I guess” and “cool concept.”

I kind of got it. Not really, though.

Cue October, bordering on a midwestern winter: Soulful humming gives me the shivers, despite being locked in my room, under two blankets and strung out in my bed. “The sky goes from concrete to charcoal,” Campbell somberly begins. The screaming angst of December plays out of my speakers and shocks me. I lose my place in my book. He finishes with the line, “I didn’t die for nothing.” The silence makes me uncomfortable. I set the track up next and read the lyrics. Hemingway’s experience, reading his own death in a newspaper, makes me unclench my jaw. “I still get phantom pains,” he says in the voice of Hemingway. Me too, dude, me too. Set it on single track repeat. The drums clap along. The guitars slide while Campbell shouts. Repeat. I get it. Repeat. I wonder if this is what other people felt, too, when recommending the Wonder Years. Repeat.

I get it.

A few days pass, and I have the void. The feeling where a song wears out, just a little, but I want to feel the same things again. I scan the track list. A Song for Patsy Cline seemed like a sister track. The song rolls out with scratches of the guitar and pats of the drums. Boiling coffee at the back of my throat, my skin covered in goosebumps, a nasty chill settled in my arms. It felt like one of those awful chills that traps me while I drove to school, the car heating barely kicking in ten minutes into the drive.

And I get it. The album poured into me, track by track, image by image: the self-deprecation of Cardinals, the sorrow of the Bluest Things on Earth, the calm veneer obfuscating the pissed attitude of lost romantic potential in Thanks for the Ride, and the utter hopelessness of No Closer to Heaven.

Most of all, I came to appreciate You in January, the song that I couldn’t fathom liking before. “I've grown used to your perfume,” he says after the aforementioned cleaned plates. It left me blinking back tears, for what I wanted, for the person I assigned the pronoun.

I hear the album totally different than then. It reminds me of who I was and how much better I am. I don’t believe in Heaven, not in the least, but if it exists, I’m certainly closer today. Campbell’s description goes, “I may never reach the gates. I’ll keep walking anyway.” I get it. I know I’ll listen to this album at 29. Maybe, I’ll get it less than now. But I get it now. That’s worth something.



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user ratings (767)
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • bubbahotep92 (4.5)
    For a band that released an album called The Upsides this sure is a downer....

    Ben (4)
    The follow up that the greatest generation deserved...

    NickCapella (4)
    The Wonder Years rise from their South Philly basement yet again to deliver another hard-h...

    FolioMage (5)
    Philadelphia's finest say farewell to pop-punk, and hello to the album of their career......

  • AtlusP4G (2.5)
    Tired and worn out, from being tired and worn out....


Comments:Add a Comment 
LOVEANDACCEPTANCE
May 7th 2019


897 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this is a great write up



the you in january paragraph ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh I'm a sucker lol #relatable

1y2s3r4
May 7th 2019


11 Comments


great review

I was SUPER into this album like 3-4 years ago, by now my tastes have grown away from their stuff really hard, but this write up makes me want to listen to it again just to see if I still... well, get it.

Snake.
May 7th 2019


21818 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

best twy

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
May 7th 2019


42877 Comments

Album Rating: 4.4

^ give it a remaster with a better tracklist and i'd fully back that, best individual songs of their career

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
May 7th 2019


42877 Comments

Album Rating: 4.4

absolutely loved this review too. keep writing!

MaySun91
May 7th 2019


39 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I feel like this album was super underappreciated when it came out. I hope it gets the love it deserves now.

stasar
May 7th 2019


140 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks for all the kind words, y'all!

Digging: Last Night Saved My Life - Cherry

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
May 7th 2019


1128 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

great review, amazing album



maybe i'm wrong about this, but i feel like 'i wanted so badly to be brave' is one of the most underrated wonder years songs. the lyrics are just amazing.

alamo
May 7th 2019


2187 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"Frankly, the album art was one of the ugliest things I’ve ever seen"

yessssssss its hideous



amazing review

Clumseee
May 7th 2019


1467 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Just a notch below TGG. Excellent record.

Firedust
May 7th 2019


1176 Comments


Yes, this and TGG are da best.

Clumseee
May 7th 2019


1467 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Wait—so how does OP feel about TGG???

stasar
May 7th 2019


140 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

TGG has individual tracks that I couldn’t live without, but I think the album has a few more tracks that I have a more meh feeling on. I’d rate NCTH higher, but the high points of TGG move me much more.

Hendoi
May 9th 2019


251 Comments


Bluest things on earth is crushing

SymbolicInTime
May 9th 2019


4838 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Only TWY I like less is Sister Cities. Still a great album tho

Digging: Turnover - Peripheral Vision



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