New Found Glory
Tracklist1. Came Out Swinging
2. Woke Up Older
3. Local Man Ruins Everything
5. My Life as a Pigeon
6. Summers in PA
7. I Won't Say the Lord's Prayer
8. Coffee Eyes
9. I've Given You All
10. Don't Let Me Cave In
11. You Made Me Want to be a Saint
12. Hoodie Weather
13. And Now I'm Nothing
Your RatingCreate an account or log in to rate this album
The Wonder Years have come a long way since their formation in 2005 and the release of their debut full length, Get Stoked On It!, in 2007. In about six years the band has started as an immature joke band and turned into a mature, enjoyable pop punk band. Say what you want about their early music, but 2010’s The Upsides marked a defining point in the band’s career that made their fan base explode. Most pop punk bands that achieve the kind of success that this band did with The Upsides end up releasing some kind of retooled sound on their next record. Some bands fail with their new sound, some bands end up “selling out” or what I call “making themselves more accessible." This band did neither, somehow making their music even more mature than their last record, yet “keeping it real” but not letting it go wrong.
Fans wondered if these guys could top The Upsides, and after scouring the chat room of their CD release show video stream, the decision seems pretty split. My verdict: The Wonder Years took the maturity of The Upsides and their ability to write catchy music and wrote an album with some of the best songs in their discography. The record’s framework is based on the poem “America” by Allen Ginsberg, immediately showing that influence in the intro to the first song, “Came Out Swinging,” when you hear Ginsberg saying, “My mind is made up, there’s going to be trouble.” The first track contains the explosive energy that The Wonder Years is all about, showcasing fast moving drum fills and guitar riffs and a full chorus that will have fans jumping on each other to sing along at shows.
The first single that was released from the album, “Local Man Ruins Everything,” echoes themes from The Upsides in the lyrics (“I’m not a self help book, I’m just a fucked up kid; I had to take my own advice, and I did” and “It’s not about forcing happiness, it’s about not letting the sadness win”) and in the music with the catchy guitar riffs on display. It’s easily one of the better tracks of the album and ends up being one of the better songs of the band’s career. One of my other favorite songs from the record, “Don’t Let Me Cave In,” easily draws influences from early pop punk, but the band gives it their own personal touch. By the end of the first verse, you’ll be in the circle pit and by the chorus, you’ll be singing along at the top of your lungs. This track gets stuck in your head for days and never seems to find its way out.
Putting aside the album’s two lead singles and opener, the rest of the record doesn’t lack in quality content at all. You’ll be entertained throughout the whole album, and by the second or third listen, it all just clicks and you can’t stop listening. Songs like “Coffee Eyes” and “And Now I’m Nothing” are both great tracks that show the band’s soft, serious side in their sound and their meaningful, well written lyrics that have their fans knowing every word to their songs. “Summers in PA” is perfect for the current season with its summer theme, and it also has some killer guest vocals from Alan Day and Dan O’Connor of Four Year Strong.
The Wonder Years are two for two right now since the start of this current decade; one can only wonder where they will be heading next with their music. The genre may branch out into different new sounds in the next nine years, but you can be sure that as long as this band is around they’ll always stay true to their pop punk roots and keep giving us reasons for the genre to stick around. The record may end with the lyrics, “I had dreams of myself as the Allen Ginsberg of this generation, but without the talent, madness or vision, I guess it's looking hopeless,” but you have to give this band some credit for what they’ve accomplished in their short time together. They may not reach the success levels of Ginsberg, but you can expect them to be around for awhile and continuing what they do best: making good, memorable pop punk music.