The Wonder Years – Won’t Be Pathetic Forever 7"

Band: The Wonder Years
Album: Won’t Be Pathetic Forever
Genre: Pop Punk
Label: No Sleep

1. Mike Kennedy is a Bad Friend
2. Solo & Chewy: Holdin’ it Down
3. Won’t Be Pathetic Forever
4. You’re Not Salinger. Get Over It.

Last fall was a great time in my musical life. Two of my favorite albums of the year by my two favorite new bands were released between August and October. The first was from the now Pete Wentz endorsed Four Year Strong and the second was by six guys out of Pennsylvania who called themselves The Wonder Years. Where the earlier album was a near over produced, clean, pop punk record, The Wonder Years’ Get Stoked on It was a raw,rough, and dirty punk album that to this day gets me more amped than any high class recording can. It’s like when the Ataris went from the rough sound of, End is Forever, to, So Long Astoria; it’s the same band, but there’s a sense of much more heart in rough record than a squeaky clean one. The band just bares it all and doesn’t hide behind a mixing board to make themselves sound amazing because they are confident they can do that all on their own. With that ideology in mind, The Wonder Years have returned in 2008 with a four track 7″ entitled, Won’t Be Pathetic Forever, and have once again brought more catchy, in your face pop punk for the world to devour and we here at UTG gladly partook and you should too.

The first of the four tracks serves as an introduction to the other tracks and is entitled, “Mike Kennedy is a Bad Friend.” The track is nearly all instrumental except for a quick spoken word segment at the beginning where Soupy [vocals] says, “yo, head above water this year boys,” which is followed by a gang vocal led grunt that let’s us know one thing: it’s on. As the track fades to feedback, it bleeds into, “Solo & Chewy: Holdin’ it Down,” which begins with a sample from The Simpsons that not only fits the track, but let’s newcomers to see that the band is focused on fun with their music which is something I think more bands need to work on. The track sounds like, as many on this 7″, like a throwback to old New Found Glory musically, but with vocals/lyrics that only Soupy can produce. The song itself is about the band and their life on the road and if the words are any indication, there is never a dull moment in the lives of TWY. From staying up late to watch The Office, to stealing from gas stations, to taking naked pictures in the desert, each line makes you want to jump in the van with the guys and join them in their next set of shenanigans. There’s also some inclusion of female vocals that work very well to accompany the band, if only for a few brief moments.

The back half of this EP begins with, “Won’t Be Pathetic Forever,” which once again starts with a near stream of conscious set of vocals that paints a great picture for the listener. From the description of watching Mad TV, to how the night will go and where they’ll venture. It feels like a story every teen could tell and the chorus, which refers to not living your life like this forever, is sure to be a fan favorite. As the track fades, there are gang vocals of the band contradicting themselves shouting about both loving and hating the town there from and though it may not be intentional, I think it’s once again a perfect way to connect to the target audience. Personally, I remember everyone in high school talking about how we liked the small town we were from and then turning around and complaining about it non stop. It’s part of growing up and TWY have captured it perfectly. To follow this amazing track, we have what may just be the best track The Wonder Years have ever crafted. “You’re not Salinger, Get Over It,” has an amazing intro that’s both heavy and yet fun which leads into lyrics you immediately want to sing along with while the band rages through the verses and chorus like a pack of wild animals. The chorus, which once again can be related to by many, is all about growing up, cleaning up, and getting out of the town you’re in. Maybe it’s something people from middle of nowhere towns can relate to better than city folk, but it hit me in the core of how I and the rest of UTG view our lives. The song eventually calms down for the bridge, but with gang vocal added for this section, there’s still no real “dull moment” to be found anywhere. In fact, the song builds into probably the closest thing to an epic close that any pop punk record can hope to achieve.

By the time you’ve listened to all 15.4 minutes of Won’t Be Pathetic Forever, two things will be true: 1. you will be reaching for the repeat button and 2. you will be out of breath from singing along and dancing around. In four tracks The Wonder Years have capsulated all that is or could be great about pop punk and they deliver again and again with crunchy guitars, pounding drums, and instantly memorable lyrics. This is the kind of record summer memories are made to. So, without anymore critical talk or hot air on my part, let me put this simply: IF you don’t buy this album, you will miss out on what is sure to be one of the most solid pop punk releases of the year and definitely the best EP to come out this year period.

*Written By: James Shotwell*
GRADE: 10/10

James Shotwell
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