I was just too old at the point The Wonder Years appeared. Songs about the aniexty of youth and college were past me. I was busy being an adult at 23 or whatever. But as a lesson in getting older it eventually equalizes. I now have peer conversations with people 10 years younger than me and 30 years older than me. As the phrase goes, “We’re all adults here.”
At the same time in 2022 I am listening to Punk Rock interviews and finding out how many of my favorite songs were made by teens still in high school. Those bands still existing chasing accidentally perfect songs or broke up so they wouldn’t have to play a song they wrote when they were 17.
So track 7 of this album has the lyric “i was 17, I wrote a song about how drinking kerosene and I’ll be coughing up embers for decades to come.” Yeah I get that, in a sincere way. This is an album filled with brittle raw nerves. The song writer(s)’ depression has always been front and center. Trying to fight it off at all angles.
In a more personal way, the songs about being a parent seeing the world falling apart (“Doors Painted Shut”) hit me hard. Every day is the joy of parenthood, looking at them and saying “I’m sorry about the world”, feeling completely helpless, and knowing I must do my best to protect them.
In personal for the writer, there are direct apologies to friends and family members as songs. Which function as increasing mythos because The Wonder Years having been raw personal songs for over a decade now. Look at the discography, ah that family tragedy is also mentioned here. Maybe I am learning a little too much about this man’s life.
And yet deeply personal art about pain and beauty and trying to grasp happiness in 2022 is certainly what I need in 2022. The songs are great. I had been listening to the singles as they were released and wondering “is this album going to be too depressing, as a whole?”
Because as eloquently as it describes being too depressed to go to bed and then even more depressed to wake up, it is also an album about finding the hope to hold on to and move from. Everyone’s lives are compounding tragedy and joy. Everyone is eventually a different person than they were before. Old friends are lost one way or the other. The kids take more and more focus. Lost loved ones take more and more focus and unique pain.
If you broadcast your pain as public art long enough you have to write a song about a calling a family member to tell them you are okay.
The album is great. It was rewarded multiple listens with more deeply personal pain of trying to wake up and do it again. The songs are balanced and ordered to have rise and valleys. The fade into “Low Tide” has been listened to me multiple times in a row.
Which is to say again, “Yeah I get it.”
Been writing songs about death for too long I need to stop