Mid-November. We’re all trapped in stasis, some weird state of catatonia between the excitement of Halloween and the joyous Christmas season.
The sky is one big cloud. The leaves have gone sour. The wealthy students are wearing their Canada Goose jackets, and they’re making me feel bad about myself.
It’s burnout season.
It’s hard not to let Daylight Savings Time bash you over the head with a candelabra. It’s hard to find motivation when the workload grabs the back of your sweatshirt and pulls you into the dirt. It’s hard not to feel so alone sometimes when the busyness envelopes everything and swallows you and everyone around you whole.
But you aren’t alone.
I’m a firm believer that certain music has a corresponding season. There’s summer music, fall music, spring music and winter music.
The most important piece of winter music to me is “Suburbia I’ve Given You All and Now I’m Nothing” by The Wonder Years.
The album is an ancient relic from my high school pop punk phase, but it continuously worms its way out of the snow and back into my ears every November.
It’s important to me.
The first time I listened to its gang vocals and walls of guitar I felt myself within it. Back then it felt amazing to hear my suburban teen angst vocalized in all its grandiosity.
But now the album has morphed into something else. It’s more relatable now than it’s ever been.
It’s about growing up and fighting back against the monotony of everyday life. It’s about not being beat down by the world.
“I know we got miles to go,” frontman Dan Campbell sings on closer “And Now I’m Nothing.” “But I’m putting my shoulder to the wheel.”
The album is full of lyrics like this. They’re hopeful.
I’ve given up on a lot of pop punk over the years. A lot of the edginess and angst I enjoyed as a teenager seems short-sighted now. A majority of the songs I used to love seem self-pitying. There’s no hope in the music. There’s nothing to look forward to.
“Suburbia” is just the opposite. There’s sadness and anger and fatigue, but there’s the human desire to power through those feelings. It’s about discontent, but it’s also about love. There is hope.
The album opener, and the band’s most beloved track, “Came Out Swinging,” is the perfect track for this disgusting season. It’s a rallying cry.
“And I spent the winter writing songs about getting better,” Campbell shouts over blistering guitars. “And if I’m being honest I’m getting there.”
We’re all getting there. Even the people writing our favorite songs.
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