Album Review
Dan Campbell - Paper Boats, or Some Poems I... Album Cover

Dan Campbell - Paper Boats, or Some Poems I...

Reviewed by
Dan Campbell - Paper Boats, or Some Poems I Wrote
Release Date: June 2009
Publisher: No Sleep Records
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.
"If I could go back in time to when I wrote sad little poems, I'd punch myself right in the fucking face because it gets worse man."

Reading the lyrics of The Wonder Years frontman Dan "Soupy" Campbell may lead you to believe that he's a carefree guy. After all, he's written songs about such silly topics as pirates, zombies and Captain Crunch. His chapbook, Paper Boats, or Some Poems I Wrote, reveals that there is more to him than meets the eye. While his lyrics only scratch the surface, Paper Boats delves further into the mind of Campbell as he deals with darker subject matter.

The 28-page book collects thirteen poems and two short stories on a variety of subjects. A common theme, book-ended by the introduction and final poem, is the death of a close friend. "April Ann Part One: Monday" is a highly emotional short story about having to deal with such a loss and then bearing the burden of spreading the news. It also reveals that, while performing live, the singer is "hating myself in a public forum that I've tricked into thinking I'm happy with who I am." It, along with much of the other material, is truly saddening to read. "Erosion," for example, is a disheartening poem about love loss.

Some of these writings brought me back to my days of reading Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being a Wallflower as a heartbroken high school freshman. That's not to say that Campbell's writing is amateurish in any way, but rather he is so articulate as he reflects on life that it brought me back to a time when my emotions ran as high as those of the scribe. For an writer to be able to convey and transfer such a feeling of isolation is no easy task.

It's not all depressing, though; many of the works are rich with Campbell's caustic, suburban sense of humor. A perfect example of the black comedy is "Dear Mr. Bukowski, Thank You for the Advice." The short story reads like a facetious suicide note in which the author realizes that he has found the perfect day (a Tuesday, of course) to kill himself, an opportunity which doesn't often present itself.

Campbell explores the deceptive nature of metaphors in "A Poem for Stan," which is fitting, given the straightforward nature of his writing. While poetry can often be riddled by metaphors with hidden meanings, this introspective author wears his heart on his sleeve. Many of Campbell's poems read like a stream of consciousness. As a result, he comes off as genuine, which in turn helps relate his emotion to the reader.

Paper Boats, or Some Poems I Wrote is a quick read; you can blow through it in about a half hour. The short length left me eager for more. I hope a follow-up comes into fruition, but until then I'm eagerly awaiting the lyric book of The Wonder Years' new album. Any fan of the band will appreciate the book, but liking the band is not a prerequisite for enjoying the effort. It'd love to fill this review with quotes from the works, but they're much more effective when read in context. The 200 copies of the first edition printing of Paper Boats have already sold out, but once the fine folks over at No Sleep Records print more, I urge you spend the five bucks on this great chapbook.

Recommended if You LikeCharles Bukowski, J. D. Salinger, E.E. Cummings, Jack Kerouac, The Wonder Years
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 22
03:22 PM on 07/15/09
The Summer Ends
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The Summer Ends's Avatar
I love this book. I've liked TWY for a while now, and I NEVER would have expected something from Soupy to be like this.

I love this line in "Philippe Petit":
the weight of the world
wouldn't be all that bad
if it would just pick a
shoulder to cry on.
09:14 AM on 07/16/09
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michaelk08's Avatar
where can i pick this up?
09:22 AM on 07/16/09
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Heart-A-Tact's Avatar
I'm glad I own a copy of this.
09:25 AM on 07/16/09
Alex DiVincenzo
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Alex DiVincenzo's Avatar
where can i pick this up?
It's sold out now, but if/when they print up the second edition it should be available at nosleepstore.com and at shows.
09:40 AM on 07/16/09
I'm looking for the upsides
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ikikwe's Avatar
Love this book. So damn depressing, but so good. Great review as well.
09:45 AM on 07/16/09
Registered User
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michaelk08's Avatar
It's sold out now, but if/when they print up the second edition it should be available at nosleepstore.com and at shows.
gahhh. want it now. anyone willing to sell this?
10:48 AM on 07/16/09
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No Avatar Selected
This is a really good, cheap read. New TWY songs seem to fit more with the literature than the first album in my opinion.
11:51 AM on 07/16/09
There's no shame in crymaxing
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smorgy's Avatar
picked this up at a wonder years show in brockton, ma
so good, depressing but in a good way. did not expect the tone of the book, especially with the song content of the wonder years.
12:03 PM on 07/16/09
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blowmybutthole's Avatar
I've honestly read this over and over.

i actually had it next to my bedside but had to move it because i always felt the need to read it before i went to sleep. kind of sounds like my version of the bible... uh oh.
12:03 PM on 07/16/09
makin' good time
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Ryzenfall's Avatar
Great review. I love book recs. One of the most incredible RIYLs ever?
01:18 PM on 07/16/09
I am Mick
http://www.worncolors.bandcamp.c om
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I am Mick's Avatar
28 pages is sooo short. I thought my 64 page book was the shortest ever. Guess not.

I dig this band though, I'd like to check this out.
01:28 PM on 07/16/09
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katieissweet's Avatar
So bummed I didn't get a copy of this. I dig the review though.
02:07 PM on 07/16/09
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No Avatar Selected
Wow, unusual
04:15 PM on 07/16/09
Shorter, Faster, Louder
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silentjslivjak's Avatar
soupy gets a lot of shit from particular groups in the philly suburb scene (doylestown) but he is also really tight with people. i think his very forward personality is a love/hate kinda thing but it gives him a good voice for writing. he's definitely a smart guy. i'll check this out when more are printed. good luck TWY boys.

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