A Look Back at the Lasting Impact of ‘New Found Glory’
With one of pop-punk's current biggest acts, the Wonder Years, approaching the release of their fifth studio album, we can't help but look back at the monumental influence of the bands that laid the groundwork for them. In this particular case, we fondly remember New Found Glory's self-titled sophomore album as a work that's nearly flawless on all counts.
We first learned of the new Wonder Years music from an Instagram photo by frontman Dan Campbell -- which you can check out below -- hinting at the upcoming record, which is due out late summer/early fall this year. If you've ever listened to the Wonder Years, you'll know that much of what they do is inspired by those before them.
New Found Glory, and in particular their Drive-Thru Records self-titled disc, nearly perfected the art of making pop-punk fast and hard while keeping it catchy. Its in-your-face riffs and rapid rhythms are enough to get a mosh pit going, while Jordan Pundik's high-pitched vocals and memorable lyrics make for some of the best choruses to sing along to with your friends. Throughout the album, there really is a little something for everyone.
The only place to start at with an album like New Found Glory is the very beginning -- "Better Off Dead" has one of the most old-school, signature punk intros courtesy of Chad Gilbert. It takes me back to the days when they would headline Warped Tour with the dust flying and everyone sweating.
The second track, "Dressed to Kill," is my personal favorite on this record. It came with a music video, mostly of the band in youthful appearance, rocking out in a garage, with a love story drama playing out in between scenes. The song itself has an intense riff and awesome verses. (And haven't you always loved bassist Ian Grushka's colorful hairdos?)
"Sincerely Me" is another great song, an apologetic love anthem that often repeats the line "And I'm as good as dead" to mark the dramatic nature of young romantics. It's followed by the album's lead single, "Hit or Miss," which besides their later "My Friends Over You," is probably their most popular tune. It was also accompanied by a cheesy pop-punk music video -- you know, the kind you'd race home to watch on TV after school.
"Second to Last" is packed with some serious heavy riffage. It pumps you up in a way that even some classic Blink-182 songs cannot. "Eyesore" slows things down a bit, but not for long as "Vegas" kicks things back up again. The latter is a really good singalong anthem, especially the chorus.
The album's eighth track, "Sucker," gets you up and off of your feet, as Pundik so often requests of his fans at live shows. The below clip -- from their Live in London DVD -- made me love this song nearly as much as the lead single. The chorus is something that you can easily point to when listening to the Wonder Years. In fact, couldn't you picture them covering this song?
"Black And Blue" is another song that could be a hardcore punk track if it wasn't for Pundik's vocals -- likely as a result of Gilbert's fascination and connections with the New York hardcore punk scene and his continued camaraderie with H2O. "Boy Crazy" may be a slightly forgettable track on the album, but it finds a place at home when listening to New Found Glory from front to back. And while "Boy Crazy" could be heard as filler, "All About Her" is severely underrated. The guitar work -- as well as Cyrus Bolooki's drumming -- highlights the band's amazing (and at times surprising) talents.
The LP's closer, "Ballad for the Lost Romantics," wraps up an altogether impeccable listening experience.
Although New Found Glory recently survived an unfortunate issue with a former band member, they're still chipping away and releasing new music as recent as last year with Resurrection. Although it's nowhere near as timeless as New Found Glory -- which is approaching its 15th anniversary and saw a major reissue during its 10th -- we're glad they're still making new music ... and we can almost assure you that the Wonder Years are, too.
It's because of albums like New Found Glory that bands like the Wonder Years, Four Year Strong, Man Overboard and many others can continue pumping out new music that either focuses on or builds off of a musical way of life that the entire pop-punk scene has cherished since the late '90s.