Giving It All

October 5, 2011 by  

The Wonder Years release yet another spectacular album.

Artwork by Ed Gloor

On June 14th realist pop punk band The Wonder Years released their third studio album, Suburbia I’ve Given You All And Now I’m Nothing.

I saw the band for the first time live this summer on Vans Warped Tour, and the experience was one that I won’t soon forget. But seeing them once just isn’t enough for me. Turning to their recorded music is a great way to keep the memory alive, and the new album cements the love I have for their music.

The album has a bit of a story, which is overlaid by the album titled tracks, Suburbia, I’ve Given You All, and And Now I’m Nothing. The tracks in between are a bit like back stories, or interludes to help fill in the story between each title track. After research I found out that the story is about the lead singer Dan “Soupy” Campbell’s life, but determining exactly what parts and what his intended meaning through the album isn’t something that I can say for sure.

The Wonder Years is called “Realist” Pop Punk because of their ability to capture emotion in their songs without anything hidden or faked. They don’t disappoint on this album in this aspect; as a matter of fact, there isn’t anything wrong with this album. Yes, I am a big fan, and readers will have to take what I say with a grain of salt, but this album as a whole captures me every time, with its stories and its meaningful lyrics.

Some songs I really enjoyed on this album are Came Out Swinging and Don’t Let Me Cave In. The structure and composition of these songs are fantastic, and the build-ups all catch the listener at the perfect moment. Both songs tell very relatable, but different stories, one about reflecting on a year, and the other on the repetitive life of the lead singer.

In Came Out Swinging, the opening track to the album, the band makes a great transition from The Upsides, the album that broke them into the Pop Punk scene on a larger scale. If you didn’t know the difference between the two albums, it would be hard to tell that they were two separate bodies of work. The song itself is about growing and reflecting on the past year. “I came out swingin’ from a South Philly basement caked in stale beer and sweat, under half lit fluorescents. And I spent the winter writing songs about getting better, and if I’m being honest, I’m getting there.” In this emotion packed outro to the song, Dan “Soupy” Campbell slowly builds the urgency and passion in his voice, giving the song a feel similar to that of Melrose Diner from The Upsides.

Don’t Let Me Cave In is a song about finding support in friends, instead of finding it within yourself, like in Came Out Swinging. The song itself reflects on the daily life of “Soupy” and the repetitiveness of his life. He finds respite in his routines and in his friends. “You drove me all the way up here, ‘cause you could tell that I was a mess. I wasn’t gonna make it to dinner, and I shouldn’t be callin’ again. You drove me all the way up here and asked if we could stay in bed. ‘Cause you’ve got work early tomorrow and I’ve got a plane to catch. You drove me all the way back.”

Some other notable tracks are Hoodie Weather, Local Man Ruins Everything, and My Life As Rob Gordon. I enjoyed this album immensely and I think any fan of Pop Punk would agree. This is also an excellent album to introduce curious listeners into the genre, because all the songs are relatable. Be sure to check out the album for a great musical experience, and a hunger for more of the same.

★★★★★