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The Wonder Years are a Pop Punk/Emo band from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania known for being the Trope Maker for the Defend Pop Punk movement of Alternative Rock.

They are notable among Emo-influenced bands for much of their discography having lyrical themes that are far more "mature" than most bands of the genre: their critically acclaimed "Depression" trilogy deals with, among other things, gentrification, homelessness, death of close friends/family, quarter-life crisis, and generational differences.

Their fifth studio album "No Closer To Heaven" reached #12 on the Billboard Charts in the United States.

Discography

  • Get Stoked On It! (2007)
  • The Upsides (2010)
  • Suburbia I've Given You All And Now I'm Nothing (2011)
  • The Greatest Generation (2013)
  • No Closer To Heaven (2015)
  • Sister Cities (2018)
  • The Hum Goes On Forever (2022)

'Tropes:'

  • Arc Words:
    • "This generation's X" shows up with a different X each time throughout Suburbia
    • "We're no saviors if we can't save our brothers" is a repeated line throughout No Closer To Heaven.
  • Bedsheet Ghost: The music video for "Came Out Swinging" features a girl dressed in a homemade, bedsheet-based ghost costume going around her neighborhood playing pranks on people.
  • BSoD Song: "Low Tide," full stop.
    Iím exploding on re-entry, Scattered wreckage in the sea
    Everythingís been gray forever, Itís how itís always gonna be
    Iíve never been more sure of something, I see it clearly in my dreams
    I know Iím gonna be the one, The one who ruins everything
  • Burning Bag of Poop: The video for "Came Out Swinging" features a girl in a Bedsheet Ghost outfit playing various pranks on people, which includes leaving a flaming bag of poop on a random guy's doorstep.
  • Concept Album: As stated above, The "Depression Trilogy" comprised of Upsides, Suburbia, and The Greatest Generation.
    • No Closer To Heaven is largely songs revolving around the death of a loved one
    • Sister Cities is, according to vocalist Dan Campbell, ďa record about distance, or maybe how little the distance matters anymore. Itís a record about how big we all thought it all was, and how much closer to everyone we really are.Ē
    • The Hum Goes On Forever revolves around the birth of Campbell's sons, his post-partum depression, and living through COVID-19
  • Concept Video: The video for "Melrose Diner" tells the story of the song as a Professional Wrestling campaign. At the beginning, the dorky, emo Face The Lone Wolf loses the title to the evil, macho Heel Kraagh because his goth girlfriend abandoned him for Kraag in the middle of the match. The lone wolf proceeds to have a bunch of equivocal matches against second stringers before going up against Kraagh in the final. At first, the Lone Wolf does poorly, but a hipster, Girl Next Door type from the audience comes up and inspires him, and he gets a second wind and activates his "Wolf Cry" special ability that allows him to win the title.
  • Cover Version: Of R.E.M.'s "Losing My Religion."
  • Darker and Edgier: The Upsides was a lot more mature than 'Get Stoked On It!' It only got more darker and mature from there:
  • Dark Reprise: Zig-zagged between this and Triumphant Reprise in "I Just Want To Sell Out My Funeral" from The Greatest Generation. While the music is full of energy, the lyrics are taken from previous songs in the album and as such the song is rather sad. It fits the tone of the album though.
  • Death Song: A frequent case. From wishing to die in songs like "A Song For Patsy Cline," to songs about someone else's death like "We Won't Bury You" or "Cigarettes and Saints," to fantasizing about one's own death in "We Could Die Like This," death is a frequent topic in the band's songs.
    • Even lampshaded in the The Hum Goes On Forever track, "Songs About Death"
    Been writing songs about death too long, I need to stop
  • Downer Ending: The Greatest Generation ends with 'I Just Want To Sell Out My Funeral', which ends on a verse about how wanting to be a great person is no longer an admirable goal. 'No Closer to Heaven' ends with the titular song, about how Soupy will never truly find happiness (or heaven, in this case).
    • Notably averted in the video for "Cigarettes and Saints".
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Get Stoked On It! is far less mature lyrically than their trademark later sound.
  • Epic Rocking : Only twice across seven albums; "I Just Wanna Sell Out My Funeral" at 7:34, and "The Ocean Grew Hands To Hold Me" at 6:15.
  • The Generation Gap: Much of The Greatest Generation can be seen as Soupy lashing out at the Baby Boomers and Generation X for their short-sightedness.
  • Grief Song: Most of No Closer To Heaven consists of these.
  • Heroic Second Wind: In the video for "Melrose Diner", the heroic Lone Wolf is getting his ass kicked in the ring, until a girl comes up to him, gives him a word of encouragement, and he activates his wolf cry ability, allowing him to power up and win the match and the title.
  • Long-Runner Line-up: Most of the band has been together since 2005, with the newest member, guitarist and keyboardist Nick Steinborn, joining in 2009.
  • Lyrical Cold Open: "The Devil In My Bloodstream"
  • Parental Love Song: "Wyatt's Song (Your Name)." Also "You're The Reason I Don't Want The World To End," both off of The Hum Goes On Forever
  • Precision F-Strike: A particularly epic one in "The Devil In My Bloodstream".
  • Power Ballad: "The Devil In My Bloodstream" and "Cigarettes and Saints".
  • "Ray of Hope" Ending: "Came Out Swinging" is a fairly bleak song, describing the narrator's emotional and mental decline and depressed state he's fallen into. However it does end on a fairly optimistic note:
    I spent the winter writing songs about getting better
    And if I'm being honest: I'm getting there
  • Religion Rant Song: "I Won't Say The Lord's Prayer", "Dynamite Shovel," and "Cigarettes & Saints".
  • Sequel Song: "Cardinals 2" off of The Hum Goes On Forever, which serves as a sequel to No Closer To Heaven 's "Cardinals," complete with Call-Back riffs and lyrics.
  • "Stuck at the Airport" Plot: "Came Out Swinging" deals with, among other things, Soupy having slept in an airport so many times it feels like home to him.
  • Snow Means Death: "We Could Die Like This" mentions the possibility of Soupy having a heart attack shoveling snow.
  • Triumphant Reprise: Zig-zagged between this and Dark Reprise in "I Just Want To Sell Out My Funeral" from 'The Greatest Generation'. While the music is full of energy, the lyrics are taken from previous songs in the album and as such the song is rather sad. It fits the tone of the album though.

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