Top 20 of 2013, Number 15: The Wonder Years – The Greatest Generation

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Released: May       Genre: Pop-punk       Metacritic Rating: 96%

The Wonder Years were always going to deliver a brilliant record to close their trilogy of albums that started with The Upsides and ended with The Greatest Generation, and they did. I think it’s fair to say that their fourth studio album surpassed a lot of expectations, which is saying something considering the reputation they’d built, both inside and outside of the studio. The clever hooks and instrumentation that made their last albums so memorable was only built upon as the band pushed themselves in order to make a record they felt epitomised everything they intended it to represent. For that reason The Greatest Generation is much more than just a pop-punk album, it’s a document and chronicle about modern life and the emotions that come with growing up, be it depression or pride. Dan ‘Soupy’ Campbell’s lyrics about his own thought processes and the way he saw himself and the place he was from were more emotional and reflective than ever, from the poignant ‘The Devil In My Bloodstream’ to the reflective epic ‘I Just Want To Sell Out My Funeral’. I felt as if I was intruding at times as the songs sucked me in. Songs I’m barely even old enough to relate to (‘Passing Through The Screen Door’) ended up meaning something to me, and the ‘If I’m in an airport, and you’re in a hospital bed’ line in ‘Dismantling Summer’ still gives me goosebumps seven months on. The Greatest Generation is a landmark album, being one of the most emotional, yet also catchy and anthemic I’ve heard. I feel it suffered a little from a weaker second half, and for that reason I’ve not placed it higher, but there are times on The Greatest Generation where The Wonder Years are in a league of their own, even if they do spend it looking back on the boys they used to be and looking towards the men they want to be.

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