The Years Gone By - Forever Comes Too Soon
Record Label: Rise Records
Release Date: September 2, 2008
What a finicky bunch of lads the pop-punk crowd can be. On one side of the fence, you have the "classic" world of bands who helped pushed the genre to the mainstream (MxPx, blink-182, New Found Glory), all of whom are praised and credited with highlighting the jubilant side to many of our youths. On the other side of the fence are the bands people claim only discredit the genre and have long names (Cute is What We Aim For, All Time Low, Forever the Sickest Kids). There has to be a place to draw the line, right? Right?
In between the current Warped Tour roster and the days of Drive-Thru Records shows where every band on the roster was a future contender for "I wish I had seen them live" comes The Years Gone By. A group of four New Jersey kids with the right idea, but just not quite enough solid material to give us a confident amount of hope in the current onslaught of anyone-with-a-guitar-who-writes-a-hook trend going on, there's some solid groundwork being laid down ... however, it's just not merely enough to be pinned a future classic.
Thankfully, the band refrains from adding any danceable keyboard elements or all that junk we've come to loathe in pop music these days -- actually, the biggest flaw on the band's full-length debut, Forever Comes Too Soon, is the slick-as-oil production. Part of what made Say it Like You Mean it and Dude Ranch (for example) so memorable was the production, or more specifically, the lack thereof. This doesn't mean the record is a complete miss: with the right ideas in hand, the band successfully makes an album that sounds different for the most part. It's not formula, it's not recycled nonsense -- the band makes a well-to-do attempt at showcasing their inspiration by having a good time without resorting to too much blandness.
The Years Gone By have pretty much one-upped All Time Low in terms of songwriting, ability and overall sense of how to do the old-school properly, never talking down to the listener. It's a rare treat to feel that way in this genre, in which lyrics have always been about the relationship between vocalist/listener. However, between catchiness and fun lies a fine line of lyrical capability: "What Happens in ____ Stays in ____" is exceptionally addictive, but strictly for the FBR crowd ("We can make it where everything is fun / We're on the borderline of being wasted"); "Sunday's Best," the token ballad, grows a bit long in the tooth as it comes to a close; and "The Problem Was Always You" fondles the balance of being cute and being overtly generic with lines like "What's the point of the stars? / Let's use the headlights of cars so dreams won't ever come true."
All this doesn't mean The Years Gone By aren't aiming their sights in the right direction; the band is caught up in a time where this sound can send you hurtling towards super-stardom and monster-sized, profitable tours with very little associated integrity along the way. Forever Comes Too Soon hints at modesty while sounding huge, which just might be the ultimate nail in the coffin here. Tracks like "One More Weekend" pull the curtain up on serious potential, as does the bombastic opener, "This Time, It's Our Time" -- the name alone is confidence to capture ears (and hearts) all over America. "Follow Me Home" see-saws into more corny territory but really, it's sweet-natured and honest (something that seems too forced these days).
Never mind the similar titles to other money-grubbing bands that are taking the reigns as the new princes of pop-punk -- with the right directional flow and perhaps a more layered, diverse and toned-down production next time around, The Years Gone By could assist in bringing some solid "oomph" and genuine energy back into a genre that's lost on it's listeners.
I loved this album and nice review Chris.
These guys are better All Time Low but I thought they could be better at some places, but it's just their debut. Hopefully these guys get better and maybe someday these guys will become tomorrow's NFG.
i am a really big fan of the album
very nice review and i see where you're coming from
but when i listen to this, i totally overlook those faults
every song on here has been stuck in my head at least a few times since i bought it
In a time where the scene is overstaurated by powerpop bands, TYGB put out a truely pop punk record that shouldn't be compared to any of the stuff ATL puts out.
Pop punk has been my favorite genre since the day I first listened to Dude Ranch and NFG, and I can say with confidence that this is by far the best pop punk record to come out since Cartel's Chroma and is my Album of the Year.
I think the album is a lot better than this review made it out to be. The lyrics are a strongpoint, IMO and should have been rated a lot better than they were. Being compared to the likes of All Time Low is a bit degrading to these guys, too. Forever Comes Too Soon is prolly my favorite album of the year, next to Jack's Mannequin's The Glass Passenger, of course.