“I’m feeling like I’m falling behind”

Sometimes context happens when you’re not expecting it.

It’s not exactly deja vu, it’s not exactly fate or a message from the heavens, but it happens when you’re alone with your thoughts just enough – not enough to drive yourself crazy but enough to find yourself still. Maybe your eyes close and your skin shivers just so and your mind clears just enough that you see yourself from 10,000 feet, your present life in all its context.

Head on the desk, ear next to the speakers, new Wonder Years blaring and stirring my soul, context is key. There’s a familiarity to this, to contemplating aimlessness and mediocrity and ambition and all the world’s pains and possibilities. It’s been there through it all, all the heart-versus-heart decisions. All the family trials, and nostalgia of  knew-them-when friends, all the lessons in the arts and sciences of self-control. It’s all felt very real to me, all of it, but it is all very fragile, like vapor drifting through my fingers. I can see it, but there’s no chance of holding on. It will vanish, and give way to something else, just like the wisps of hope and love and fear and faith before it.

I’m not sure if there’s anyone out there, actively recording and popularizing their music, who captures mid-20s existentialism with as much fury and anger and hope and perspective (or better bass riffs) than The Wonder Years. Yes, they throw down incredibly hard, and yes, if there is a pop punk scene worth examining in full these days, these are the guys are holding up the epicenter, gang vocals in tow. But lyrically, there’s so much to uncover, for more than fans of the genre. Each listen brings out another metaphor, another pattern, another reference. TWY lyrics have a very conversational structure, offering a comfortable disguise for the literary, as they are metaphorical and measured enough to give shape worthy of a story. Just absolutely biting my tongue to see what the rest of “The Greatest Generation” holds after falling in love with this track (and the band all over again).

“Well I’m terrified, like a kid in the 60s
staring at the sky, waiting for the bomb to fall
And it’s all a lie, what they say about stability, 
it scares me sometimes, 
the emptiness I see in my eyes 

And all the kids names I’ve ever liked
Are tied to tragedy
I don’t my children growing up to be anything like me

I’ve been looking tears in the screen door
(tears in the screen door)
I’ve been waiting for another disaster
(another disaster)
I was kind of hoping you’d stay
I was kind of hoping you’d stay

I keep a flashlight and a small knife in the corner of my bedstand
I keep flashlight and the train times
But you wouldn’t understand
How could you understand? 

Jesus Christ, I’m 26 
All the people I graduated with
All have kids, all have wives
All of people who care if they come home at night
Well Jesus Christ, did I fuck up?

I’ve been looking for tears in the screen door
(Tears in the screen door)
I’ve been waiting or another disaster
(Another disaster)
I was kind of hoping you’d stay
I was kind of hoping you’d stay
I was kind of hoping you’d stay.”
~Passing Through a Screen Door
The Wonder Years, The Greatest Generation

God Save The Wonder Years. I am so unbelievably stoked to hear this album, the rest of their catalog has only gotten better with time in my eyes.

(Sidenote: I participated in AP.net’s live chat with TWY this week, and Soupy answered my question! Well, one of them. He did not weigh in on liquor privatization in Pennsylvania, probably because he is straight edge and thus unaffected by the availability of alcohol. I knew it was a longshot, but just throwing this out there so I’m on the written record about it.)