The Wonder Years have been arguably the biggest thing in pop punk since the release of their sophomore full-length “The Upsides” in January 2010. Critics and fans alike praised it to no end to the point where people were calling it life changing and one of the most essential pop punk albums of all time. It was my second favorite album released that year. When word got out that they would be releasing their third album in 2011, the hype and craze for this band got in full force once again. I’m pretty sure that kids were already projecting it as their “album of the year” before any songs were even released.
Soon we started getting more information about the album, like the title and tracks. “Suburbia I’ve Given You All And Now I’m Nothing” is a mouthful, and to be honest, I didn’t like it. Still don’t. The first song that they released to the public was called “Local Man Ruins Everything” (which you can view their music video for below). It’s an absolute rocker of a song and definitely one of my top two or three tracks on the record. The Wonder Years are known for having very uplifting lyrics about dealing with the bright sides of situations (which is a main reason people love this band), and that’s exactly what this song has in the chorus:
Expect me standing tall, back against the wall,
‘Cause what I learned was
It’s not about forcing happiness;
It’s about not letting the sadness win.
TWY have also been known for a lot of Philadelphia (and pop culture) references to their song; sometimes reading their lyrics almost seems like an autobiography of the band. That might be my favorite part about this band. The opening song “Came Out Swinging”, Dan “Soupy” Campbell belts:
I came out swinging from a South Philly basement,
Caked in stale beer and sweat under half-lit fluorescents.
I spent the winter writing songs about getting better,
And if I’m being honest, I’m getting there.
It’s words like that that just make this band so appealing and a great choice to listen to when you’re feeling down in the dumps.”Summers in PA” (which features guest vocals from Four Year Strong), “Coffee Eyes” (a song that could have easily fit on The Upsides), and “Hoodie Weather” are also standout pop punk tracks.
But this album doesn’t come without a few negatives. Overall, it’s not NEARLY as catchy as “The Upsides” or their first album, “Get Stoked On It!”. There’s more “filler” or skippable tracks on this album than their other two. Some songs just seem generic (like “My Life As a Pigeon”), even though Soupy still sings with more passion than almost everyone out there. But I will admit there are a few bland songs on here.
Overall, this is a really good album, but I was a little disappointed at the same time because I’ve begun to always expect greatness from The Wonder Years. It’s definitely a more mature progression and this album will probably grow on me.