Written By Guest Writer Justin Graci
The Wonder Years set themselves apart from all of their peers with their incredible record The Upsides. They showed hope and promise to a pop-punk scene that was on its way back to revival and then slowly became the top dogs in the genre, holding a weight on their shoulders that most bands would have been crushed under. The band not only carried the weight but they made one of the best pop-punk albums in recent memory and set the bar higher than it has been in a while.
Suburbia I’ve Given You All and Now I’m Nothing is Dan Campbell’s guide to living life in the suburbs, and making sure that you know where you’re going if you decide to leave. While also taking a lot of influence from the popular Allen Ginsberg poem “America.” The album starts off with Mike Kennedy’s pounding drums and a faded voice saying “My mind’s made up, there’s going to be trouble,” which kicks into The Wonder Years’ best song, “Came Out Swinging.” The track shows massive vocal improvement from Campbell and a definite upgrade of instrumentals from the rest of the band.
“Woke Up Older” and “Local Man Ruins Everything” keep up the improvement from The Upsides immensely, as the former is probably the catchiest song the band has ever done and the latter digs deep into Campbell’s personal life. The album hits its only (very small) weak point with tracks 4-6. “Suburbia,” an intermission of sorts, is short and dull while “My Life as a Pigeon” and “Summers in PA” are simply missing the extra kick The Wonder Years usually provide. Campbell gets pretty straightforward in “I Won’t Say The Lord’s Prayer,” as he screams “If we’re all just Christians or Lions, I think I’d rather be on the side with sharper teeth.” The backup vocals present on the track really make it shine.
The album ends just as strongly as it starts with its last three tracks. “You Made Me Want to Be a Saint,” speaks of the loss of close friend Mike Pelone and it’s almost impossible not to get chills while listening to the end of the song. “Hoodie Weather” provides the backbone of the album where its theme comes out in full force. “And Now I’m Nothing” shows The Wonder Years at their best musically as a minute-long outro of just straight instrumentals leaves you wanting so much more from them.
The Wonder Years are very important to the scene. They are the smartest band out there right now and they deserve every bit of success they receive.