If you're 16-24, you're probably familiar with The Wonder Years. I actually haven't heard pop punk bros rave about these guys as much now that The Story So Far is the new cool band. Their first album Get Stoked On It! was pretty much a joke, song titles, music, lyrics, recording, and all. The problem is, after all this time to me they're still a bit of a joke. In 2010 The Upsides brought angsty, socially awkward teenagers who think they hate everyone something to 'get stoked on'. The band followed in that vein, now we have The Greatest Generation as the third installment (Suburbia I've Given You All and Now I'm Nothing is the second) in a trilogy about growing up... Aren't these guys like almost 30?

There's so many things about this band that either make me cringe or just laugh. A prime example of this was the album trailer. The vocalist Dan Campbell says that the record shows that "all the war did was get us here." The band also likes to complain about things, a lot. "We wrote the record in a room that was falling apart, above an abandoned sandwich shop. It was cold in the winter, it was hot in the summer." They talk about "fighting for everything for the record," etc. Man, life's tough, isn't it?

Anyway, now to the music. I do like the songwriting on this record, which is the sole reason I'm giving this a 3. I can't argue it's the best and most mature songwriting that the band has written yet. Songs like "There, There" and "The Devil in My Bloodstream" are very subtle but gradually build up. The dynamics are played on very well, which isn't seen too much in this genre. There's also a good mix of the types of songs that will sustain a listener's interest for the duration of the album. For example, you have the more up tempo, melodic hardcore-influenced tracks like "Teenage Parents" and "An American Religion." You have the 'heartfelt' acoustic track "Madelyn" (much like "Hey Thanks"). The rest of the songs are filled with memorable choruses, well-placed melodies, lush, layered guitar parts, and a good amount of added touches like bells on "Madelyn."

I'd say that the interesting and captivating songwriting outshines the lyrics on this one. You probably could have pulled these lyrics out of a 14-year-old-girl's tumblr: "I'm sorry I don't laugh at the right times/Is this what it feels like with my wings clipped?/I'm awkward and nervous." Bottom line is if you're a pop punk bro, this is a must-have. If you've liked The Upsides or Suburbia... you'll enjoy this one. If you're not a huge fan of the band, there's some very good songwriting so if you're going to check it out, check it out for the music.

Luckily this trilogy of growing up is over, maybe they'll come out with a grunge record next (this isn't a slight to any band that does that, Jar is one of my favorite records this year). To me, their try at 'genuine' and 'heartfelt' came up as cliche and cheesy. I feel like they're complaining about things that don't exist or they don't really have anything to complain about at all. The Greatest Generation is out now on Hopeless Records.