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The Illin' Music Thread

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Tag Archives: upbeat

Isn’t it funny how things seem to come full circle?

A long long time ago in my sophomore year of high school I stumbled upon the wonderful band Hockey Night.  With a catchy mix of sweet basslines, harmonized lead guitar lines, and triumphant vocals, Hockey Night made me want to blare my car stereo and drive around town like there was no tomorrow.

Now in my sophomore year of college, Hockey Night has reformed as Free Energy, and they have a brand new full-length to show for their efforts.  Stuck On Nothing is a blast of the same awesome musical mix that made Hockey Night so awesome.  Also, this time they are banking a lot more on their musical resemblance of one of my favorite bands of all time: Thin Lizzy.  An indie rock Thin Lizzy?  Am I dreaming?  Fortunately, not.  Check out two great songs from their new CD and EP, which you should absolutely go out and buy right now.

Something in Common

Free Energy

Also, here’s a gem from their old Hockey Night days: Dark Trance (Psychic Lightning). They’ve re-recorded this song under the new title “Young Hearts,” but I like the old version better.

If these songs don’t sound like summer, then I don’t know what does.

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I am in the middle of an absolutely gigantic amount of work this week.  Final papers are kicking my ass, I’m trying to organize rehearsals for my multi-movement music composition, and I have yet to figure out how to get all of the crap home that I won’t need while I’m staying here over the summer.

Yet, I still have time to write about the Wonder Years on the Illin Music Thread.


Because they’ve crafted a freaking awesome pop punk album that moves beyond the normal high school milieux of the genre and deeply resonates with me.


Because I have moved beyond high school as well, and I’m always searching for bands that can speak to my current stage in life. Making this search easier is the fact that though I’ve gotten (a little bit) older since high school, my love for “punk/pop punk/whatever you want to call it” has not waned. Despite the fact that people degrade it for being juvenile, simple, or boring, I still enjoy it, and you know what?

I don’t care.

Part of what makes the Wonder Years so relatable for me is that the lead singer was an English major (holla!) in college while he wrote and recorded The Upsides, the band’s sophomore album.  Although people generally relegate feelings of otherness and isolation to high school, this is a straight up lie.  These feelings crop up at tons of other points in life.  If they didn’t, well…we wouldn’t be human.  College is the other main time in one’s life for feeling like this, and the lead singer of The Wonder Years captures this sensation perfectly.  The album’s positive message about moving above and moving on, and the motivic refrain of “I’m not sad anymore” that repeats throughout various tracks on the album also really hit me because of where I am at in my life right now.

Here are some excerpts of reviews for The Upsides, their sophomore full-length:

“The Wonder Years have crafted a passionate testament to the confusion of being twentysomething with The Upsides, their sophomore full-length. If you’ve grown up and care about more than just girls, but still love Say It Like You Mean It, listen to the Wonder Years.” – AP

“This is the album that makes it alright to still be listening to pop-punk well out of your teens, in fact it should be compulsory listening.” –

Finally, after all of my talking, here is “My Last Semester” the opening track of collegiate loneliness/confusion on The Upsides

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