Album Review: The Greatest Generation – The Wonder Years

The album cover.
The album cover.

The latest album by The Wonder Years, The Greatest Generation, was produced in 2014 and features heavy guitar tracks and deep, meaningful lyrics. In the opener, There, There, there are several lyrics that stick in one’s mind, including, “I’m sorry I don’t laugh at the right times/is this what it feels like?” and “I’ve got my heart/strung up a clothing line”. The next track, Passing Through A Screen Door, opens with lyrics about being behind in life, not being married or having kids. It later travels through fear, with the lines, “Well I’m still afraid/Like a kid in the sixties/staring at the sky/waiting for the bomb to fall”. We Could Die Like This kicks off with strong, powerful guitar/bass chords, which get quiet as Campbell sings heavy lyrics. The pre-chorus and chorus are especially hard-hitting, with the words “I know you’re gonna go/just please leave me a note/I left because you asked me to”. It ends strongly, with the guitar cutting out and Campbell’s lonely voice singing in the quietness. Dismantling Summer seems to be about someone who is struggling and their family is hoping that they will get better. The chorus, with “I’ve been acting like I’m strong/but the truth is I’ve been losing ground” is particularly striking. The Bastards, The Vultures, and The Wolves is catchy yet heavy both in meaning and in sound. Following that is The Devil In My Bloodstream, which begins with Campbell’s voice singing softly to a piano background. Around the middle, the song bursts into sound, with the words, “I know how it feels to be/at war with a world that never loved me” and ends with the lyric “I wanna be strong/but it’s not easy anymore” as the song goes quiet again. The following track, Teenage Parents, talks about a family who struggles with finances, and the chorus ends with the lyric “And you always said it would get better” showing that it didn’t get better. Chaser has a bit of an odd beat in the beginning, but it evens out for a wonderful song. Once again, striking lyrics with “Please don’t make me feel like a disaster/I’m learning how to put the pieces back together” and “when you clear out all the smoke/I guess everyone’s alone”. An American Religion (FSF) is heavy but with catchy guitar tracks. A Raindance in Traffic is about previously being able to be strong but not anymore, and contains some fantastic lyrics. Madelyn is a much softer, acoustic song with still-strong lyrics like “And Madelyn, are you really afraid of death?/ Or do you just say it if it’s the right thing to say?” and “So, Madelyn, I know how your cold scars turn purple”. Cul-De-Sacs is the second-to-last song and is powerful and strong. I Just Want To Sell Out My Funeral, the final song, contains lyrics from each of the previous songs (which seems to be a theme throughout the album, with references to previous albums) and brings the album to a close in a perfect way.

The band performing at Warped Tour in 2013.
The band performing at Warped Tour in 2013.

I am a huge fan of the Wonder Years. I’ve listened to them for years, and this has to be my favorite album. Actually, they’re releasing a new album in September, and I will review that as well. In fact, I already pre-ordered the vinyl (oops!).

Overall, I would rate this album a 9/10.

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