The Wonder Years - The Hum Goes on Forever Music Album Reviews

The Wonder Years - The Hum Goes on Forever Music Album Reviews
The pop-punk band ages gracefully on a heart-achingly earnest record about parenthood.

Even before he was a parent, Dan Campbell felt the crushing weight of adult expectations. “I’m 26/All the people I graduated with all have kids, all have wives,” he roared on 2013’s “Passing Through a Screen Door,” before bemoaning his doomed, lonely outlook: “Did I fuck up?” Nearly 10 years later, the Wonder Years’ frontman lives in a South Jersey suburb of Philadelphia with his wife and three-year-old son. But anxiety is like matter: It can’t be destroyed. Even after your worst fears don’t come true, they take on another shape. Now that Campbell has a child, there’s the other half of “Passing” to worry about: “I don’t want my children growing up to be anything like me.” On The Hum Goes on Forever, the Wonder Years write the impossible: a pop punk parenthood record that attempts to grow up without growing out of their hooks and heart-achingly earnest outlook.

The Wonder Years take a serialized approach to songwriting, connecting characters across albums, with Campbell as an unreliable narrator. He writes about what, and who, he knows: his college dropout friends, his ex-girlfriends, specific locations in Philadelphia, down to the street number. There’s a new addition in the cast on The Hum Goes on Forever: His son, Wyatt, who stars as the album’s thematic center. There he is haunting Campbell’s nightmares on “Cardinals II”; his tiny gloves tucked into Campbell’s winter coat are a “reminder that I’m not alone.” And then there’s his very own “Wyatt’s Song (Your Name),” which measures his son in heartbeats, in first words, in breaths while he’s sleeping. Like the best the Wonder Years songs, it is both littered with specific details and so fervently emotional that it feels universal.

As he stares terrified into the future, Campbell also revisits proper nouns from the band’s past and tries to tie up loose ends. Colleen, who skipped town on 2011’s “Coffee Eyes,” still weighs heavy on “The Paris of Nowhere.” The song is a love letter to Philadelphia, with all of its potholes and junkyard fires. The Eagles won their first Super Bowl after the Wonder Years finished recording 2018’s Sister Cities, and Campbell makes up for lost time with nostalgic shrines to “St. Nick Foles.” There’s Madelyn, a dark, brooding companion on The Greatest Generation who now appears increasingly itinerant on “Oldest Daughter.” She’s sleeping in public libraries; Campbell is settled in the suburbs. He wants to send her a birthday gift and pictures of his children, but she doesn’t have a permanent address. When Campbell calls back to a line from that album—“We both know how this ends”—it echoes with the distance between who he was in 2013 and who he is now.

Among aging punks who felt old at 26, there’s an unspeakable fear of cooling off, quieting down, and hanging up the riffs. Sister Cities backed away from the outbursts and intensity in favor of fingerpicked melodies to mixed success. Their most recent release was a toothless 2020 acoustic rework of their catalog, complete with wispy string accompaniments. But luckily on The Hum Goes on Forever, the Wonder Years deliver the shredded vocals and taut palm-muted guitars that made them Warped Tour heroes without sacrificing the depth and nuance in Campbell’s writing. Opener “Doors I Painted Shut” begins with just Campbell’s voice and a guitar and builds anticipation by layering doubled vocals, guitars, and percussion until it surges into an appropriately Wonder Years refrain: “I don’t like me.” The exceptions prove the rule: “Laura and the Beehive,” with its quiet piano accompaniment, is strained and sleepy, especially on an album that demonstrates the band is still capable of sounding huge. “Wyatt’s Song” and “Oldest Daughter” would fit alongside the thrashing, high-energy anthems from their debut. This consistency is hard-earned, and their careful approach to making records has resulted in a discography that can age gracefully with them.

There’s a poetic symmetry to the arc of the Wonder Years, a band from the Philadelphia suburbs who wound up, a little older and questionably wiser, in a different Philadelphia suburb. Their incessant self-referentiality makes this growth all the more emotionally resonant: You can measure your life by the characters in Campbell’s songs, by a riff that returns as a motif, by a lyric that comes back again and again, slightly different each time. Campbell still sings “Passing Through a Screen Door” at shows. Which version of himself is screaming, “Did I fuck up?” For the Wonder Years, the past and present are always intertwined.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
The Wonder Years - The Hum Goes on Forever Music Album Reviews The Wonder Years - The Hum Goes on Forever Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on October 06, 2022 Rating: 5


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