The Wonder Years – Suburbia I’ve Given You All And Now I’m Nothing


Album

Suburbia I've Given You All And Now I'm Nothing

Label

Hopeless Records

Year

2011

Genre

For Fans Of

New Found Glory - Hit The Lights - Fireworks

Summary

Still struggling to see what all the fuss is about.

Rating

73 / 100

Emerging amongst a great new cohort of pop punk acts like Fireworks, Transit and Man Overboard, Philadelphia’s The Wonder Years have developed an astonishingly large and dedicated fan base, especially since the release of last year’s “The Upsides”. “Suburbia I’ve Given You All And Now I’m Nothing” is the band’s third full-length, and for many has been one of the most anticipated releases this year. From its great cover art to its tight production, this album is admittedly a pretty classy package.

The Wonder Years have long been praised for their self-referential, relatable and intelligent lyrics. On this record, frontman Dan “Soupy” Campbell has taken inspiration from Allen Ginsberg’s 1956 poem “America”, which he melds with modern day gripes about the mundane and alienating experience of suburban life. For me, the overly personal nature of the lyrics can become extremely irritating, particularly when on “Local Man Ruins EverythingSoupy sings “I walked upstairs to shave my beard / I felt like I was holding sadness there”. Pop punk is about being able to sing along or hum the tune of the music easily, which often seems very difficult with this band. 

Suburbia…” kicks off with “Came Out Swinging”, which I don’t think is a particularly interesting way to start the album. The chorus is inaccessible, and the song drags on a little longer than is enjoyable. From “Local Man Ruins Everything” to the fast-paced “My Life as a Pigeon”, I found it difficult to find anything particularly catchy or original about the opening tracks. The record seems to pick up about halfway through. The awesome riffs in “I Won’t Say The Lord’s Prayer” are as hard hitting as the lyrics, which pose a strong rejection of Christianity: “I refuse to spend life on my knees”. The next track and the band’s third single off the record, “Coffee Eyes”, is another highlight of the release which climaxes in an awesome gang vocal sing-along. The album’s acoustic number “I’ve Given You All” again borrows from Ginsberg and deals with the plight of the homeless. Between the particularly whiney vocals and the melodramatic lyrics, this track really gave me the shits. Geez man, thought you weren’t sad anymore!

Lucky the next track, “Don’t Let Me Cave In”, is arguably one of The Wonder Years‘ best songs ever and really drives home for me what people dig about this band. Ballsy, well-delivered vocals and driving riffs make for what is my view a perfect pop punk tune. A great fucking chorus and gang vocals ensure this one will go off live. “Hoodie Weather” is fairly catchy number while the upbeat closer “And Now I’m Nothing” sends “Suburbia…” out nicely. The longest song on the album, “And Now I’m Nothing” boasts some of the most solid riffs The Wonder Years have to offer, which are ultimately too often lacking in their shorter, faster songs.

Conclusion

“Suburbia…” is a fairly solid pop punk record which will hit the spot for existing fans. It is undoubtedly The Wonder Years’ best work thus far, and definitely features some golden moments. To be entirely honest, however, I feel like other recent pop punk releases like Fireworks’ “Gospel” and The Story So Far’s “Under Soil and Dirt” just have so much more going for them.

Tracklisting

1. Came Out Swinging 
2. Woke Up Older 
3. Local Man Ruins Everything
4. Suburbia 
5. My Life As A Pigeon 
6. Summers In PA 
7. I Won’t Say The Lord’s Prayer 
8. Coffee Eyes 
9. I’ve Given You All 
10. Don’t Let Me Cave In 
11. You Made Me Want To Be A Saint 
12. Hoodie Weather 
13. And Now I’m Nothing

8 Responses to “The Wonder Years – Suburbia I’ve Given You All And Now I’m Nothing”

  1. Elan

    Also disagree with this review, album/band is definitely deserving of all the praise heaped on them in recent years.

  2. Anonymous

    I don’t see what all the fuss is about either. Live the band’s performance is engaging, but their tunes are pretty boring.

  3. maxwell

    I agree with everything except where it says their best work thus far. The Upsides rules over this, in my opinion they tried to take the same approach as The Upsides but it came across worse. The lyrics do get tiring and nothing is drastically different.

  4. SteveC

    Love this band. Disagree about the wonder years being no good to sing along to – try going to a show if you think singing along is difficult to the wonder years, cause the whole audience tends to manage it. I must admit though, Suburbia doesn’t have a whole lot of progression from the upsides, they are very similiar records. but hey, if it ain’t broke..

  5. dre

    73? What the fuck. This is about 14000x better than the Upsides and is way better than Gospel (which sounds like a fucking pop rock record). You struggling big time buddy

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