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Every The Wonder Years Album Ranked Worst to Best

The Wonder Years: the poster band for that one friend you should probably check on. The widely-beloved Pennsylvania pop-punk outfit with 7 full-length records to their name are perhaps most known for waxing poetic about simultaneously loving and hating their hometown more than New Yorkers on vacation.

Throughout their career the band has continually tapped into the pulse of discontented adolescents and jaded adults with their blend of cathartic anthems about growing older and feeling like a failure. The Wonder Years are a tragic death away from becoming a folk legend in their relative circle, the givers of goosebumps, and the carriers of their respective torches. In truest form, revisiting these records made us depressed all over again while fighting the urge to move all our shit into our parent’s basement.

Lastly, if you don’t agree with this ranking just know you’re this generation’s Anthony Fantano (derogatory).

7. Get Stoked On It (2007)

Starting off with an honorable mention, the album that started it all now mainly lives on Microsoft Zunes and bootleg YouTube playlists–and for good reason. Between tacky synths, hilariously bad titles, and extremely-dated suburban white boy hip-hop lingo, this one is painful at best. Years after its release the band would make the mistake of committing to a re-master before realizing how bad of an idea it was. Commenting on the album’s re-release, Campbell said “If you like the record, enjoy the new mixes. If you hate the record, I’m on your side.”

Play it again: Not even this album’s creators recommend doing that
Skip it: Unless you’re a die-hard

6. Sister Cities (2018)

Considering the band started their careers singing about The Kool-Aid Man fighting Cap’n Crunch, this darker, more mature release is actually pretty decent. The problem is, it’s just that. Lyrically it feels less inspired than most, with certain hooks that already lacked depth repeating themselves a few too many times. Unfortunately this album’s lack of standout performances across 44 mins of strained yelling will leave you feeling as sad and empty as the dog on the album cover. Put simply, “Sister Cities” is an enjoyable enough Wonder Years record that is flanked by superior releases. If you love The Wonder Years, you like this record. If you aren’t really a fan, you can skip it.

Play it again: “Heaven’s Gate” (Sad & Sober)
Skip it: “When The Blue Finally Came”

5. The Upsides (2010)

Look, this one is rough around the edges, but it’s deeply important to the band’s history and helped carve out a place for their iconic sound in a burgeoning emo/pop-punk scene. There are still some rowdy tracks that will have you flailing about with angsty teenage spirit while cleaning your one-bedroom apartment, but there is also room for improvement and a definite realization that time has not been super kind to these songs. It’s a good time if you dig their early stuff, but it just doesn’t shine like the releases that immediately followed it.

Play it again: “This Party Sucks”
Skip it: “Hey Thanks”

4. No Closer to Heaven (2015)

The intro and opening track on this record really sets a powerful tone. One that will give you goosebumps, and also make you want to call your siblings and apologize for being a dickhead between uncontrollable sobs. This record showed the raw power of The Wonder Years in a new, more mature light and sent the band hurling into their next chapter as a sadder, more evolved version of themselves. Too bad the production on this one absolutely blows, because between catchy tunes and an amazing feature from Jason Aalon Butler of letlive., this record is an absolute ripper that makes few mistakes and almost all of them are the goddamn drum mix. Seriously, WHAT THE FUCK?! Can we get a re-master on this one, Soupy?

Play it again: “I Don’t Like Who I Was Then”
Skip it: “Palm Reader”

3. The Hum Goes on Forever (2022)

Finally. A well-produced Wonder Years release that combines their newer sound with crippling levels of sadness and nostalgia. “The Hum Goes on Forever” is guaranteed to make any new parent cry at least twice, and that’s a compliment from this emotional masterpiece of post-pop-punk perfection. The band’s latest release is nearly their magnum opus, and certainly the pinnacle of their second chapter. Coming off of a similar project that didn’t quite stick the landing, there is just so much that this record gets right, and that about all you can ask for from a bunch of pop punk dudes in their late thirties still writing songs about being depressed.

Play it again: “Oldest Daughter”
Skip it: “Songs About Death”

2. Suburbia I’ve Given You All and Now I’m Nothing (2011)

Continuing from the success of “The Upsides” this record saw the band hitting their stride, setting them apart from their peers and giving the kids a nasty string of hard-hitting punk songs about being broke, depressed, and balding while everyone around you gets married. A very strong collection of standout tracks and few relative duds, “Suburbia” plants itself firmly on the band’s upswing into legendary status as it delves into jaded perspectives on organized religion, drug use, and burying a friend. Yeah, it’s mostly sad, but if you’re a Wonder Years fan that’s basically what you sign up for every time you put on their music.

Play it again: “Came Out Swinging” (Yes, it’s because they name check Blacklisted)
Skip it: “Coffee Eyes”

1. The Greatest Generation (2013)

The Greatest Generation is the epitome of a pop punk band reaching relative maturity and finally dating women their own age, or at least close. The pimples of the past have faded as The Wonder Years present the best version of themselves in this relative glow-up that stands the test of time. This record is the farthest you can go while still being called pop-punk, and ushered in the band’s next chapter as the definitive face of the post-punk revival. The subtle harmonies are perfectly placed over the sad poetic passages of Campbell’s writing, and the instrumentation is infinitely smoother as you get taken on a journey through, you guessed it, a series of sad songs about growing older and realizing everything sucks. That said, this is the perfect record for that exact mood which is why we love it.

Play it again: “Passing Through a Screen Door”
Skip it: “Madelyn” and go directly to Dan Campell’s solo project, Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties. Do not pass GO, and do not collect child support.