The Wonder Years Release Uncaged Album Full of Lament, Despair and Hope on The Hum Goes On Forever

 

4.7 out of 5 stars

I have no idea why I have never spent a lot of time listening to The Wonder Years over all the years they have been active, because they are a really good band, and I have liked every song I have ever heard from them.

Maybe, I felt that at times they were just too conceptually heavy (mentally/emotionally) for me to want to spend a lot of time dwelling on before? I know for a few years during their run, I was more about finding music that was great for party scenes and having fun. 

It’s not that I don’t think they make great “party music” per se, but I think the majority of people listening to the music would have to already be fans, because without the hope-filled context, some of the music can come off aggressively sad or regretful. Not ideal for keeping a drinking game going. Ha ha.

All that context is just precursor to explain that their new album, The Hum Goes on Forever, is absolutely in line with some of their past releases - high energy, detailed and intimate lyrics that paint a scene, and incredible vocals - but this one seems more fresh to me then some of their past albums, and I am not sure why. 

Maybe just knowing that The Wonder Years are still spouting out great music in a post-pandemic world that is as powerful as it always has been makes it a bit more soul-rewarding and invigorating.

It’s like a caged dog has been sitting sad and alone for 3 years, and now has been let out to find that the world is full of good, bad, rage, bliss and everything in between. That’s probably the best way I can describe this album overall.

Summer Clothes” is a great example of the songwriting that paints a picture perfect scene of a couple spending time at a beach and flashing in and out of memories that relate to the few days around the story being told. Ultra specific lyrics sung with emotion that crescendo right to the end before fading away as fast as the memory comes and goes.

I don’t know why, but “Lost in the Lights” is just so damn rocking, it is hard not to just want to get up and mosh a bit while listening to the song. It’s possibly my favorite song on the album. The few breakdowns and lulls in the song just make the rest of the song even harder and more awesome.

I guess there was speculation that the song (mostly based on the music video seen above) was a "farewell" song by the band, but that has since been dispelled.

You get songs that sort of break things up on this album as well such as “Songs About Death” and “Laura & The Beehive” which are more intimate sounding with much less instrumentation as well.

To note, “Oldest Daughter” is a callback to their song “Madelyn” from their album The Greatest Generation and the song “Cardinals II” is a sequel to “Cardinals” from No Closer to Heaven

So, if you like continuity stories or tie-ins (or Easter Eggs), then I would suggest checking out those songs as well for more frame of reference…although, I don’t think you miss anything without knowing the songs.

The album ends with “You’re The Reason I Don’t Want the World to End” which is about the most endearing thing you can say to someone as a token of love, because it’s hard not to come up with reasons that humanity should cease to exist. 

It’s the longest song and the most epic as it journeys into the depths of weighing the pros and cons of life in modern times while trying to cope with the crushing weight of despair.

I suppose if you have always been a fan of The Wonder Years, then this album will be another shining example of how awesome they are. If you are new to the band, I would say that you should listen to every song to give the full range of the band a chance before even making a judgment.

The songwriting is always on point, and the energy keeps it from getting too “emo” most of the time. The band seems to be as good (or dare I say better?) as they have ever been.