Suburbia, I've Given You All and Now I'm Everything
When you think of a small suburban town in Philadelphia, you might not think of a talented band named The Wonder Years unless you've been with them since the release of their wildly popular sophomore album curiously named "The Upsides." Being a seasoned fan of The Wonder Years since the release of their newest album, "Suburbia, I've Given You All and Now I'm Nothing," it's safe to say that this album was a far jump from any of their previous work. With the release of "Suburbia," The Wonder Years have made the change from another pop punk band to a truly full-fledged band practically made to sing the albums of anthems for thousands of teenagers.
The Wonder Years started off as a group of guys just messing around, writing songs about everything from girls to zombies and ninjas. Now, the band has toured worldwide as both a headliner (on the recent US Glamour Kills tour) and a supporting act for iconic punk bands such as New Found Glory, Good Charlotte, Saves the Day, and Four Year Strong. With this sort of success, one might wonder if the band itself has changed over time. The answer is that they haven't, and probably never will.
It was one fateful day in a summer that the guys from The Wonder Years decided to hole themselves up for the rest of the summer in a friend's basement and write what is now known as "The Upsides." With "The Upsides" came the anthems for hopeless known as "My Last Semester" and "Logan Circle." With the unforgettable "I'm not sad anymore, I'm just tired of this place" defining almost their whole idea as a band of remaining tough despite life's obstacles, it's unsurprising that The Wonder Years had big expectations to live up to for "Suburbia", expectations that they did not fail to meet by any means.
"Suburbia, I've Given You All and Now I'm Nothing" is an album that is everything an album about a suburban town is supposed to be. With the amazing, positive tracks like "Came Out Swinging", "My Life As a Pigeon", and "Local Man Ruins Everything" spouting out the inspiring lyrics that are the core of this album ("It's not about forcing happiness/It's about not letting sadness win"). These songs, mixed in with surprisingly melancholy tunes such as "Summers In PA", "Coffee Eyes", and "And Now I'm Nothing", "Suburbia" can very much be considered a maturer version of "The Upsides." Going beyond complaining about high school and poser douchebags, "Suburbia" describes the real struggle with life beyond what was placed in front of us growing up, discussing issues such as religion, depression, and insecurity.
One of the most controversial tracks off of "Suburbia" is "I Won't Say the Lord's Prayer." Many people say that it is almost inappropriate the way The Wonder Years portrayed their views on religion as a whole ("You'll stop progress if it contradicts what you're told to believe"). I personally the song is a brave feat on the band's behalf, the honest lyrics truly showing that they're completely unafraid of what people have to say about them ("If we're all just Christians or lions/I think I'd rather be on the side with sharper teeth"), something that is becoming rarer and rarer to see in this industry where many crumble under other's expectations. The Wonder Years don't go about being ignorant with their statements, going so far as to having their lead vocalist and main lyricist, Dan "Soupy" Campbell defend the song with the honest statement, "We get onstage and say “F*ck homophobia” and “F*ck racism,” but we don't say, “Religion is stupid and you shouldn't believe."
With this sort of mentality, it's hard not to respect The Wonder Years not only as a band, but as individuals. With such a new, refreshing approach to evoking a reaction from our generation's youth, they bring a lot more to the table than many other artists do. As heard in "Hoodie Weather," The Wonder Years have seemed to grasp the concept of growing up and not being totally confident about where you're going quite gracefully ("Growing up means/Watching my heroes turn human in front of me"). As a band with nothing but a positive message for dealing with life's woes, The Wonder Years are a band to envy for their success and ability to connect to all people.
"Suburbia, I've Given You All and Now I'm Nothing" may very well be considered one of the greatest albums ever made. With their constant touring, The Wonder Years intend to return with a vengeance for their new album soon, and I'm sure it will do nothing but impress. All their success was certainly well earned at this point.