ALBUM REVIEW: The Wonder Years reach ‘Great’ new heights

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First Posted: 5/13/2013

The opening track on The Wonder Years’ third release, “The Greatest Generation,” starts with singer Dan Campbell singing as softly as ever. “I’m sorry I don’t laugh at the right time,” he almost whispers. As the line closes, the song fully kicks into full swing, but something is different. There is no toe-tapping, fast-paced, chorus. Instead, at first, listeners get a light guitar riff and an easygoing feel.

It’s not bad by any means; it’s just different, until Campbell repeats the same line about a minute later. At that point, the guns start blaring, and The Wonder Years we all know and love kicks in.

The Wonder Years have done nothing but impress people their entire career. When the group broke into the music scene with their debut record “The Upsides,” they proved they can connect with young adults. When they followed up with “Suburbia,” they proved their arrival was not a fluke and that they are able to build upon their sound, yet still grow and mature with their audience.

This was great until it lead to what seemed like unbearable pressure for the band’s latest release. With every fan filled with unreachable expectations, The Wonder Years were bound to tank with their third release, right?


Once opening track “There, There” gets rolling, there is no looking back. Follow-up track and first single “Passing Through a Screen Door” proves the group can build on its past sound, yet still grow musically – a tough task for any artist.

The Wonder Years have always been known to write personal records that connect with a lot of young adults. “The Greatest Generation” does just that. The overall topic is that just because this generation may be different, it doesn’t necessarily make it bad.

Filled with Philadelphia references and heartfelt screams, TWY put together one of the better rock albums of 2013. “Teenage Parents” is written from the perspective of the child, and “Dismantling Summer” deals with vices young adults face today.

There isn’t a song about being in college or running into an ex-girlfriend, but instead a bunch of little stories bundled together in each tune. The final and thirteenth track, “I Just Want to Sell Out My Funeral,” sews the album up perfectly with a ton of twists and, of course, references to past Wonder Years melodies and lyrics.

Campbell was quoted saying, “People think the best generations have come and gone, but they’re wrong. They haven’t seen what we’re capable of yet.” Those same words stand true for The Wonder Years.

The Wonder Years ‘The Greatest Generation’ Rating: W W W W