ALBUM: The Wonder Years – The Upsides

Release Date: September 21st, 2010
Label: Hopeless Records
Website: None available


Pop-punk is a popular genre choice for a summer soundtrack, take a look at when America’s Warped Tour and the UK’s Slam Dunk festival take place and when a lot of the bands in the genre flourish and you’ll see for yourselves. Keeping the basic blueprint of the genre going, The Wonder Years don’t really break any boundries with second album ‘The Upsides’, but at least progress has been made since 2007’s debut ‘Get Stoked On It!’.

As said before, the default blueprint and design structure of any pop-punk record today has been followed accordingly with ‘The Upsides’; you’ve got your simple minimalistic chord variations, pop hooks on a distorted guitar background and the range of both positive and negative lyrics through upbeat affirmative tones.

The lyric “I’m not sad anymore, I’m just tired of this place” is one often used throughout the album, and the one that throws you into the album straight away with opener ‘My Last Semester’, and it’s lyrics like that which show uplifting and hopeful looks into life that make the album so enjoyable. Frontman “Soupy” definitely comes into this record as a more confident lyricist, making topics and lines based upon more personal things. ‘Melrose Drive’ is an obvious account about a former love with lines like “I guess I’ll be honest, I could use you around” and detailing things he hates about her, and ‘It’s Never Sunny In South Philadelphia’ states the witty and oh so true, “I don’t think I love anything the way that some people love Morrissey, it’s just that nothing speaks to me that way”.

There’s no boundries broken here, no new ground covered, and no new spin on the whole pop-punk face of the music scene. ‘The Upsides’ remains as just a decent album that ticks all the right boxes for being included in your future summer soundtracks, and as an album that speaks a lot about moving on and keeping your chin up could speak to a lot of struggling teens and young adults.

Written by Zach Redrup