The wondrous years go where pop punk seldom has: fatherhood

Dan Campbell carried his 3-year-old son Wyatt to his lap and kissed him goodnight. Behind them, orange May evenings slipped among the trees in their fenced backyard. The suburb of South Jersey was quiet, save for a few cicadas and the occasional drive-thru, though Philly was bustling only a few miles to the west. After White followed his mother, Campbell’s wife, Allison, and infant brother Jack inside, the 36-year-old Wonder Years striker put a denim shirt over a white tee, lowering his voice. “I kind of imagined that White’s presence would be the panacea I’ve been looking for my whole life, the answer to this long-standing boredom.” He stopped and then shook his head. “It wasn’t the momentary, carefree happiness I had hoped for. But that is the answer. It is the purpose of everything now.”

The second impulse track on the pop punk warrior’s upcoming seventh album is called “Song of Wyatt (Your Name)”. Via Falls of cymbals and dueling guitars, following the hook he co-wrote with Blink-182’s Mark Hoppus, Campbell Belts, “I’ve never been afraid of failing at anything, and I’m glad you don’t know how bad it is.” The hum continues foreverreleased in September, is an ambitious concept album about parenting and its attendant fears and euphoria, whose clever candor defies what we’ve come to expect from pop-punk.

Since its formation in 2005, Years of Wonder has reinforced violent interrogations of grief and self-destruction through seismic avalanches and detachable bridges—”very sad words on master keys,” Campbell described. While buzzThe band’s vocal textures maintain the band’s signature disrespect and waves of punky asphalt trails that preceded it, and the theme — the intricacies and treachery of raising children — is fresh, not just for the Wonder Years, but for the genre at large. “Every album should be an honest depiction of what I feel and what I’m experiencing,” Campbell told me, behind the wheel of his Kia Hybrid, whose leather interior sometimes carries road gear, and sometimes booster seats.

The so-called “pop-punk” resurgence on the charts has raised questions about what the label means, and how it might be replaced, or repurposed, with its history of misogyny. The genre calls for nostalgia for yearly tour ticket sales, but it often curses it in suffering from the stalled development it chronicles: Peter Pans in khaki and flannel, exaggerating their (usually white) suburban efforts. The Y2K soundscape of Elegies Records (Green Day, The Offspring) and ramen-fueled (Jimmy Eat World, Fall Out Boy) that gave way to bands like The Wonder Years emerged from a climate of resentment — sometimes politically ambiguous, often ill-defined and disconnected — and has been fueled by two primary emotions, anxiety and apathy. It was Vice President Bush-Donkey squeeze out Damn you And the I’m not interested.

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