Project 7: An In-depth Analysis of The Wonder Years’ Suburbia I’ve Given You All and Now I’m Nothing as a Concept Album
The Wonder Years have been raising eyebrows since they first came into the Pop Punk scene in 2007. This was apparent in their third full-length album Suburbia I’ve Given You All and Now I’m Nothing. The thing that intrigues fans most about this band is the front man’s storytelling ability. Singer/songwriter Dan “Soupy” Campbell has developed his very own characteristic way of writing lyrics. He does so in a way that is real and personal. In the album Suburbia, Campbell takes a concept approach to his songwriting. Campbell has stated in many interviews and album reviews that the concept of the album is Allen Ginsberg’s poem America. (Bonney)
The Wonder Years is a pop punk band based out of Lansdale, Pennsylvania. Their first album, Get Stoked on it!, was released in 2007 and was not very serious at all. Nearly every song off the album was either about cereal brand characters or other goofy icons. Once the band realized how many people they were bringing in to shows, they decided to have a change of pace. Instead of singing about ninjas and dinosaurs, “Soupy” started singing about his life on the road and fighting his depression. The 2010 release of The Upsides defined the band. Members of the band found themselves feeling the familiar feeling of depression. After getting tired of beating themselves up everyday, they adopted the motto “I’m not sad anymore”. This became a cult theme that all of their fans now follow. A lot of fans started going to Campbell after shows. They would talk to him about how the album literally saved their life or they would ask him for advice, leading Campbell to state in many interviews that this motto was not a statement at all. Not that he truly does not feel sad anymore but that it is a battle cry for somewhere he wants to be. These were not the kind of songs where the singer goes on about drugs, partying, or how much money he has; these were songs about his life. They were stories where he used names and instances of real friends and real people he knew. The Upsides was written about Campbell’s stay in South Philadelphia along with other members who were at different colleges. Suburbia would be about The Wonder Years' life after touring, about their life coming back home to Lansdale, Pennsylvania.
Dan “Soupy” Campbell attended Temple University in Philadelphia. His major was Secondary Education and English. Although, he dropped Secondary Education because he was touring, he still graduated in May of 2011 with an English degree. With English being a strong point in his past, it is apparent why his style of writing has caught the eye of so many. Campbell conceptualized the album Suburbia based on bands he grew up listening to. He loved the idea of having a point of reference for an album; it makes the album a lot more fun to listen to and gives it more meaning. The theme for Suburbia came to “Soupy” while he was trying to figure out a theme. While attending the graduation of his band-mate’s girlfriend, he noticed the poem America by Allen Ginsberg. “Soupy” was already a big fan of Ginsberg’s work, since the poem was written thirty years prior to Campbell’s birthday, and after reading the poem multiple times, the meaning stuck and became more comparable with what was going on throughout the band. The poem America is about all the problems that Allen Ginsberg faces while living in this country. Ginsberg starts off by writing “America I’ve given you all and now I’m nothing” (1). Ginsberg continues about how having a different background has greatly affected his life in America. Along with being homosexual, he was raised as a communist and is a practicing Buddhist. America is personified as something Ginsberg once loved as a child. America promised so many positive things to be brought upon the people that lived...