“If everyone’s built the same,
Then how come building’s so fucking hard for you?
It’s something we’re all born into.
Nothing’s left up to grey.
It’s black or white and sometimes black and blue.
It’s something we’re all born into.

Now I know what’s in a name; not just my father’s.
Three-fifths a man makes half of me.
Why should I bother?
Merchants of misery stacking the deck.
Fuck your John Waynes.
Fuck your God complex.
I’ve got everything in front of me, but can’t reach far enough
To reach these fever dreams they call American.

I am the ghetto’s chosen one.

The privileged bastard son.

They’re getting their anchors.
They’re gathering rope.
You’re pushing to Heaven all alone.

They’re getting their anchors.
They’re gathering rope.

You’re pushing to Heaven all alone.

~Stained Glass Ceiling
The Wonder Years, No Closer to Heaven

You know that feeling when you hear something really great, and you love it and you obsess over it, and it is brilliant, inspirational perfection, and then you feel like shit about yourself because everything you produce looks futile your glazed, tired eyes?

Thanks, Dan Campbell! 

No, seriously, “No Closer To Heaven” is all I wanted it to be – obvious evolution in the band and Campbell alike. We hear a ton of guitars and wild rhythm change-ups and excellent, excellent hooks, wrapped up in the sad fighting light of reality.

I loved “Cigarettes and Saints” pretty hard these past few days. Now my favorite song changes with every listen.  I’ve stopped and said “Wow” so many times, whether it’s the chorus of “You in January,” that brilliant tambourine in “Patsy Cline,” or the final drum rolls in “Palm Reader.” Not to mention, as an album formula, the structure is laid out so well – the mid-section heavy slow jam  (“Cigarettes”) like The Greatest Generation did, and hey, they don’t ~quite~ end on an epic track to spare predictability. Smart smart smart – but not at all ineffective, because now I just have to go back and listen to it again.

The final verses in “Stained Glass Ceiling” are some of the best TWY lyrics Campbell has produced. If they don’t break your heart, you’re not paying attention.

What a profound rock band The Wonder Years have become. I am so proud to have loved them for this long , as silly as that sounds – but from the moment I heard “Washington Square Park” the summer I came home after college and I knew I’d find the sound I liked in a lyrical aesthetic I loved. They’ve only grown in maturity and worldview technical prowess, and I look forward to peeling back every layer of this one. I think I’m going to hold onto it for awhile, as you should with the ones that impress you so much at the outset. The more you listen, the more you learn.