ALBUM REVIEW: The Wonder Years ‘Sister Cities’

By Kate Saia

It’s a wonder how I went so many years without listening to The Wonder Years.  The Wonder Years are a pop punk band based out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania that started out in 2005.  So far, they’ve released five albums and two EP’s, and I’m ashamed to say it took me this long to listen to their music.  Their latest album, Sister Cities, just dropped today and it caught my eyes (or ears).  I’m always looking for new bands to listen to, and The Wonder Years aren’t exactly new, but I’m glad I got to experience their music at a time where I could appreciate it.

My friends have been telling me to listen to The Wonder Years for a little bit now, but I was putting it off.  Even though I enjoy finding new music to listen to, I tend to listen to the same songs over and over that I know I like.  Looking back on it, I wish I had given their music a chance a while ago, because as I’m listening to this album right now, I’m realizing how much I’ve been missing out on.

What caught my attention the most about The Wonder Years’ new album is how different they sound from a lot of other pop punk bands.  They have a unique sound that sounds a bit alternative and chill, but also have some of the heavier-hitting punk elements to their songs as well.  I like that while listening to their album, I didn’t think about how they sounded like another band, because they don’t sound like anyone else.  They did a good job mixing upbeat, heavy songs with slower and more emotional songs.  I liked this aspect because I like to have a blend of both slow and fast songs, depending on the mood I’m in.  It’s nice to have the options all in one album.  Their lyrics remind me more of alternative music because they’re unique and don’t fit the typical pop punk mould, which I think is cool because branching out from what everyone expects usually pays off.  Even though the lyrics are different and personal, they’re still relatable, which allows us as listeners to connect with the band on some level.

So far, my favorite songs off the album are Pyramids of Salt, Sister Cities, The Ghost of Right Now, The Orange Grove, and The Ocean Grew Hands to Hold Me.  They’re all vastly different songs, some are more chill than others, and some have that heavier punk sound, but I like that both aspects are presented as options to me through these songs.  The lyrics that I related to the most after hearing the album the first time were the lyrics for The Ocean Grew Hands to Hold Me.  I liked that it started off slower, but then picked up a bit, just like the ocean does and how sometimes it can be unpredictable.  The lyrics sound so emotional and raw, and that makes them special, at least to me.  The line “I learned to lean on the people who love me” stuck out to me while I was listening, because it shows that it’s okay to ask for the help that you need from the people that are closest to you, and that’s an important lesson to learn.

Not only are their lyrics creative, but their song titles are as well.  I find them intriguing because I have no idea what they could really mean to the band and what the reasoning was behind calling them that.  I like that I can’t figure out what the song is about based on just the title, because then it means that I have to really listen to the song and figure it out for myself.

The Wonder Years’ new album was all in all a great success to me and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing.  I’m happy that I gave the music a chance, because now I have a new album to go binge-listen to.  Now I can stop wondering and enjoy listening to The Wonder Years.

Let us know what your favourite song off the new album is!

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