Philadelphia pop-punk band The Wonder Years always has a way of keeping us on our toes. On Dec. 22 they “turned out the lights” on all social media platforms until the new year, not posting until Feb. 2 to bring us “With Pins And String.”
“With Pins And String” was a beautiful concept, they left unique posters with art and a letter on them, put all the letters together and you got a password that unlocked their website. You found the coordinates on the “With Pins And String Website” website. This scavenger hunt had fans working together, uniting us as one. Really, did we expect anything less from The Wonder Years?
We then got to learn what their new album, Sister Cities, dropping April 6th, is all about. It’s a record where they pushed themselves to stick to an idea that seemed too different or too far out there. We learned that it creates the feeling of nostalgia from a certain place. The Wonder Years at their most honest point, centering around distance and how little it matters. How we love and want to be loved and eventually lose the people that mean the most to us. Sister Cities is about connecting with people.
If that wasn’t enough to hype fans up, TWY then released first song/video and title track off the record on Feb 8th. The track begins with drums pounding in alongside an electric guitar playing what feels like its own melody and then fades away as lead vocalist Dan “Soupy” Campbell enters the song. His voice is strong yet soothing, the bass has a deep and clear presence as this verse escalates the vocals begins to echo even stronger than before and the guitar comes rolling back in leading us into the chorus. The chorus is powerful and energetic with catchy lyrics “‘I’m laying low/A stray dog in the street/You took me home/We’re sister cities.” As the second verse begins cymbals are crashing and the guitar stays more relevant and lightly next to the bass where your ears stay drawn to the lyrics like “I’m guarded like I’m wounded” feel more relatable. The chorus then kicks back in exactly as it was before, as the song starts to near it’s end the songs tempo speeds up hitting harder than it has the entire track until it drops to just a piano note and Campbell’s voice sings the line “‘I’m laying low/A stray dog in the street/You took me home,” and fueling back up into full-band on the words “were sister cities.” Then repeating that line twice more before ending the song the same way it began.
As far as the video goes our own APU contributor, Alex West, gave us her perception and how she believes it all ties together with their launch of their own venture, The Loneliest Place On Earth, back in September:
“The Wonder Years launched The Loneliest Place on Earth. From the beginning, the band was clear that they wanted this label to mean more, which wasn’t surprising coming from The Wonder Years.
With the release of the Sister Cities video, they truly have proven that this is meant to mean something. While there are many potential interpretations of the newest video, what I understood from it was a message of growing up to a completely different person, but still being underlying the same.
In the video, the hotel maid is cleaning up others’ lives that seem to pass by. It is clear throughout the video that she is fatigued and unhappy. When she begins to cry, we watch her split into her current self and a younger self. In her youthful self, we see that she wasn’t always so rundown, but instead she had life in her eyes.
The motif of “sister cities” in the lyrics is shown as the two girls (younger and older) being different cities. She has traveled from one to the other as she has aged. Due to her profession, she watches so many different lives passing her by.
It is common for The Wonder Years videos to show a story of a third party that doesn’t totally match with the lyrics of the song, but otherwise match the underlying theme. For example, one of the most beautiful music videos of all time, Cigarettes & Saints, paints a picture of a third party, but doesn’t follow the lyrics word for word, instead keeping the underlying theme of undetectable suicidal ideation present.
Honestly, the Sister Cities video was beautiful. It illustrated the struggles of a working class woman, but also touched upon plenty of different topics through snapshots of people’s lives. The simplicity of the video paired with the clean and clear music gave a beautiful image for what The Loneliest Place on Earth and the new album will be…inspiring.”
“Sister Cities” is now streaming on Spotify and Apple Music, making it on Spotify’s New Music Friday playlist and Apple Music’s Best Of The Week.
Fans can also pre-order Sister Cities which includes a limited edition passport book now.