Pop Punk's not dead? For the last 10 years the genre of pop punk has been dying a slow death. In the early 2000's Emo, Screamo and Metalcore took over as the predominant genre in the scene and because of that, pretty much every pop punk either disbanded or converted to another genre. Probably the best example of this is Blink 182. Their self titled CD wasn't even close to pop punk, the genre they helped create and popularize. So for the last 7 years, I've been listening to pre-2005 bands.
Enter The Wonder Years. I did a random Google search one day on the term "pop punk's dead". What I found is during the last couple years there's been a revival and The Wonder Years are one of the bands leading the charge. Their second CD, The Upsides is a perfect example. After my first listen, It sounds eerily like The Starting Line's "Say It Like You Mean It" which has always been on my list of top 10 CDs.
No surprise, the band grew up a mere 30 miles away from The Starting Line in a Philadelphia suburb. While the lead singer sounds almost exactly like Kenny from The Starting Line, the band does have some differentiators.
The Wonder Years are a bit faster in tempo than The Starting Line. Their lyrics are also a bit more personal to the lead singer. He frequently makes references to friends, inside jokes and locations that the average person would know nothing about which is somewhat of a drawback but I've never been too lyrically focused with music.
The guitar riffs are the real standout on this CD. It's melodic punk to the extreme. There is seldom a second on the CD where there isn't at least two guitars playing two separate melodies to combine them into one great sound.
The overall arrangement and song selection is pretty good. There are 2-3 songs that I don't "love" but when compared to other bands releasing music now days they are well ahead of them. The songs that are my favorites are REALLY my favorites. They're of the charts on a 1-10 rating. Say, a 15/10. I've found that their faster songs seems to fit into this category more than their slower songs.
My favorite songs are well spread out through the track listing:
2. Logan Circle
4. Dynamite Shovel
7. Hostels & Brothels
9. This Party Sucks
11. Washington Square Park
Overall I give The Upsides a 10 out of 10! It's by far my favorite CD purchase of this year and I'm extremely happy to have run across this band.
The Wonder Years - The Upsides