The Wonder Years deliver masterpiece

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Album art for The Greatest Generation

By Ethan Walshe

“I ended up as food for wolves for trying to take the world on” proclaims Dan “Soupy” Campbell, vocalist for the Pennsylvania based pop punk outfit The Wonder Years, who dropped their fourth full length album The Greatest Generation via Hopeless Records on May 14.

The Greatest Generation concludes the trilogy of albums chronicling the band members’ lives as they deal with teenage angst, growing up, and the whole new slew of problems that come with becoming a more well-known group. The latter is the focus of this latest album.

Led by the single “Passing Through a Screen Door,” this album does not disappoint. Biting guitars cut through firm bass riffs as Campbell’s vocals scream with raw emotion about the struggles he has faced since the 2010 release of Suburbia, I’ve Given You All and Now I’m Nothing.

This band took the time to put together an album, not just 10 or so songs to make their label happy, and it shows. There is a cohesiveness between songs as the album progresses, including references to other songs on the album and even to older, popular songs on their previous two albums.

Known for addressing his own internal conflicts in his music, Campbell continues to expose himself with a brutal honesty that has become typical of The Wonder Years. Songs like “Devil In My Bloodstream” offer an insight to the emotional state of the vocalist with lyrics like “I bet I’d be a [expletive] coward / I bet I’d never have the guts for war,” while “Dismantling Summer” continues to explore the internally held downtrodden beliefs of Campbell as he sings “I’ve been acting like I’m strong but the truth is I’ve been losing ground.”

The Wonder Years have reestablished what it means to be pop-punk on this latest record. It would not be at all surprising if this propelled them from working class band to headliners at larger music festivals in the coming years.

Many on the internet are quick to criticize the band for continually producing songs about the difficulties they face in life. Some would point out that growing up in suburbia and having a middle class life is not that hard compared the conditions felt by some in less fortunate situations globally. But that is not the point. Everyone has their battles that they think are important. This album is not about the fight to stay alive; it’s about the fight to feel alive.


Go listen to: “Passing Through a Screen Door,” “There There,” and “Devil In My Bloodstream”