I never really got the hype behind this band, but after this album, damn it is beyond deserved. I tried listening to their earlier albums today, and you really can see the exponential improvements the band have made throughout the albums. I'd probably give The Upsides a 6, Suburbia a 7.5 and this a 9.25.
Fantastic read. I made sure to get one listen in before I read the whole thing so I could have some basis to go by.
As usual, I'm late to the party because I never listen until I've got a physical copy in my hands. I'd never been so excited for a record, quite possibly ever. I just finished my second listen and I'm still digesting, of course.
On the first run through, I just listened. No lyrics in front of me, nothing. I just took it in and took away from it what I could. The second time around, I faithfully followed the lyrics from start to finish. I'll likely listen again in a few minutes.
Part of what made me such a huge fan of The Wonder Years in the first place was how much I could relate to what Soupy was writing about. I was in my second year of college when The Upsides came out, feeling very similar to the way Soupy felt about everything. Suburbia hit, and, again, it felt like the thoughts were being pulled directly from my head.
I'm getting that a lot here, don't get me wrong, but there's a portion of the album that just isn't clicking with me. Part of it has to do with the fact that I don't have that shared experience, and the other part is most likely just because I have let it sink in deep enough. I'm sure in the long run, it will get there.
On the surface, I can't relate to "Teenage Parents", and "An American Religion (FSF)" seems far more ambiguous than I'm used to out of The Wonder Years. Those feelings sort of reverberate through a lot of the latter portion of the record. I'll need to take some more time with those songs and really sort of dissect them a bit more.
"There, There" shocked me on my first play through. With the way people were talking about it, I knew it was going to be different, but I sort of expected, if anything, faster and heavier than usual, not the total opposite. I loved it right away, though. "We Could Die Like This" definitely stands out as well.
I'm in agreement with nearly everyone in that "The Devil In My Bloodstream" might be the best song they've ever written as a band. I got unbelievable chills when they bust into the "I bet I'd be a fucking coward" line.
I love "Madelyn". I understand why some people don't. I think it's a fitting bridge into the final two songs on the record. It's sort of strange and unexpected, but I think the lyrical theme ties things together nicely.
"I Just Want to Sell Out My Funeral" could never have possibly lived up to the hype I placed on it, just from seeing the title and then hearing everyone's thoughts. It's great, and the final portion does, without a doubt, have that "epic" conclusion, but I don't I'll really be able to determine how strongly I feel about it until the rest of the themes really settle in.
Curious to know ....
Is there anybody else other than me that prefers Suburbia?
This record has lots of heart, but I'm just not hearing the hooks, and for me that's the most important thing when I listen to pop-punk
The hooks are the most important because pop punk is a genre where we as fans automatically keep our expectations low musically and lyrically. The Wonder Years is a bit different considering Soupy has consistently gotten better with the lyrics. And the musicianship has gotten more mature. I naturally started paying attention to things other than hooks as an effect of that.