Frontman DAN “SOUPY” CAMPBELL reveals the stories behind each song on THE WONDER YEARS’ special edition of The Upsides.
MY LAST SEMESTER
This is a song based around an amalgamation of stories from our various colleges. None of us really felt like we fit in at school, and we were itching to graduate and get back on tour full-time.
A lot of this one revolves around catharsis. It's a song about realizing that the sad-sack way I had been living my life wasn't getting me anywhere and that a positive outlook could really start to help me get to where I wanted to be.
EVERYTHING I OWN FITS IN THIS BACKPACK
A lot of the year leading up to writing The Upsides left Josh [Martin, bass] and me especially feeling displaced; although I'm sure everyone in the band felt it to some extent. We were moving a lot and on tour at random intervals, so there wasn't really a home base for a while. That's more or less the feeling that brought this song to fruition.
Fuck anyone who thinks they can use their religion as an excuse for racism or sexism or homophobia. I don't believe in God. If you do, that's your deal. But regardless, it doesn't give you the right to be a shitty person.
NEW YEARS WITH CARL WEATHERS
Kind of half story, half song, this is a track recounting the details of our ill-fated New Years Eve, broken down in a parking lot outside of Chicago and our refusal to let it break us.
IT’S NEVER SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA
Originally, this was meant to be a song about all of the things throughout a normal day that end up breaking you down. I had made a list of all these problems and when we went to write the song, I realized if these were my problems, I had a pretty great life and I should start appreciating that fact.
HOSTELS & BROTHELS
The tour song! But it's more than that. This is about a particular tour during which I was uncertain about pretty much everything in my life. The bands and people we spent that tour with reaffirmed what I wanted out of life and I’m forever grateful.
Every album needs a break-up song, but I think this is slightly more than that. I really wanted to show the range of shit you go through after a break-up because it's certainly not a singular emotion. I hope the song shows the balance you kind of unconsciously strike between what you know is the correct logical manner of thinking and what your over-emotional brain wants to think.
THIS PARTY SUCKS
I've never really feel comfortable in most social situations. I don't know if it's because I feel weird being straight-edge at bars and parties or just because I'm a fucking weirdo. But I thought maybe writing a song about it would help. It didn't really, but any progress is good for me.
I got a ukulele for my birthday once. At the time, I was living with a girl I was in love with. I used to lay in bed and play around with it while she would work on papers or watch TV. I was fond of the chord progression that comprises this song and would hum to it. Just playing around, I started singing her the lyrics to this song. I never thought it would make the record, but I'm glad it did.
WASHINGTON SQUARE PARK
If “Logan Circle” was the catharsis that sparked the album’s concept, “Washington Square Par” was the pattern of thought that cemented it as permanent. This is a song about standing up against your own anxiety and depression. You can't let your own thoughts keep you buried.
ALL MY FRIENDS ARE IN BAR BANDS
This is a really honest song for me. It's made up of legitimate pieces of conversations and stories about my friends and where they are in life. The end is sung by a lot of our friends from other bands. The idea was that I wanted the sentiment left in the lyrics to be one that's thought about as a community instead of by an individual. It's not about how I'm not sad anymore, it's about making strides to be happier people—all of us.
I WAS SCARED AND I’M SORRY
I guess now the special edition album has two break-up songs, but this one is a little more personal [than “Melrose Diner”]. This break-up really crushed me. It wasn't just losing this girl I loved. It was everything changing. I didn't have a home now. I wasn't sure what to do with all the time on tour I spent texting her. I wasn't sure who to call when I got home. Although I was clearly pretty destroyed, the thing that stuck out to me about this was that I always knew it was going to get better. Even at my worst, I knew it wouldn't go on forever. I guess that's what happens when you get older. I hated it, but I was never hopeless.
DYNAMITE SHOVEL (CAMPFIRE VERSION)
This is a fun bonus version of this song. Recorded live in one room with a bunch of mics everywhere, this finds us stomping and clapping and yelling and laughing. It really feels good.
LOGAN CIRCLE: A NEW HOPE
A totally different take on “Logan Circle,” this is a slowed down, piano-based version. With all of the extra time that the slower tempo afforded me, I added a bunch of supplementary lyrics to the song that I think makes it different than any alternate version I've ever heard.
WE WON’T BURY YOU
We wrote this for our friend Mike when we found out he was back in rehab. He passed away from an overdose before he got to hear this song. We think about you every day, Mike. alt