I am not in my hometown seeing this band right now.

If I was, you know I’d be singing my heart out to every word, entranced and blown away and in awe of how tight they probably sound during the bust at the end of “And Now I’m Nothing.”

The Wonder Years ignited a pop punk spark on a scene that, previously, was fragile and flickering after the establishment grew up, got off the labels and onto a real job or whatever. Pretty much everything else after sounded pathetic and poppy, then these guys came along with fierceness and smarts, and just enough pride to tell you being sad and sorry is not the end of the world.

Once again, it was a way of life.

These boys know how to tell a story, with passion and patience and perspective. Take a lyric from this song, “looking for pizza/all we found was complacency and somewhere to sleep”…that’s a poet’s line, right there, manipulating a verb like that inside a scene. Well done. Throughout their catalog, metaphors are visceral, biting, while guitar lines have a wonderful way of transitioning between assault-like attacks and heartbreaking solo melodies.

Only The Wonder Years could make touring in Europe sound like a drag. That takes talent. This song has a wonderful soothing quality in its desperation and drive, making me realize and remember that everything troubling, or wonderful, tends to pass as quickly as it showed up. Felt that way about this song even before I had a place to miss.

“So you found me on the floor split open at the seams

Lights are blurring and they’re right there in front of me
Tuesday we woke up at one
But it gets dark here at three
It’s getting hard to believe in anything

Tuesday I called up my dad
Said ‘I’m off balance and weak
Feeling homesick for things I know don’t think of me’

He said ‘It’s gonna get lighter, son
Just wait there and see
It’s getting hard to believe

Last night in Leeds
Al and I found ourselves running the city
Looking for pizza, only found was complacency
Seeing somewhere to sleep
I’m still waiting for the map to say
Home’s a week away

The boys are drowning in ?
I’m amazed they can breathe
Weebles just got caught stealing a Christmas tree
We drove all the way to Glasgow
Just to watch our defeat
But the floor against the bed last night was too heavy

Last night in Leeds
Joe was talking to some barmaid
Trying to get lucky
I think it almost worked until he ran into Bobby
Kid pulled the cockblock of the century


I’m still waiting for the map to say
Home’s a week away

Unless Great Britain comes to me and says
‘It’s not so bad if you don’t look at it that way’

Last night in Leeds
The world collapsed all around me
Along with the shelf in the basement of Liv’s house
By two or three, I thought we’d lost Josh and Mikey
They were skyhooking cans they hadn’t emptied out


Last night in Leeds
I know we woke all the neighbors
I don’t think anybody slept that night

Last night in Leeds
Things got a bit lighter
I guess my dad was right

I’m still waiting for the map to say
Home’s a week away
Unless Great Britain comes to me and says
‘It’s not so bad if you don’t look at it that way'”

~Hostels and Brothels

The Wonder Years, The Upsides