Plain White T’s / The Wonders Of The Younger / Universal
The latest from the Plain White T’s opens with American Idiot-esque ambitions, but as its anthemic nostalgic theme quickly gets unraveled by syrupy mid-tempo love songs, all of the progress the band might have made since their lackluster 2008 effort Big Bad World is soundly undone. This isn’t to dismiss The Wonders of the Younger as an utter failure, but one can’t help but think it would’ve been more effective as an EP. “I remember wishing I was older, always something big around the corner” sings Tom Higgenson on the unifying album opener “Irrational Anthem”. This would’ve been a compelling idea to base an album around. Surely there are a lot of “big things around the corner” they could have based songs on to bring listeners back to their own childhoods. Or, they could just throw together a half-dozen generic love songs. The T’s went for the latter.
Unfortunately for them, none of these songs are likely to score the kind of success that they experienced with “Hey There Delilah”. Try some lines from “Broken Record” on for size: “Bah buh-buh bah buh-buh broken record / Buh-buh bah bah buh-buh broken record / a broke, a broke, a broken record,”… you get the idea. To base an album on the wonders of youth and then focus almost entirely on failed romances really seems like a missed opportunity for the group to have covered a lot of new ground lyrically. “Welcome to Mystery” is a notable exception from the pack of otherwise forgettable tunes, as it builds on the mystical carnival idea hinted at in the opening and closing songs (and on the album art). However, this track first turned up on the Alice in Wonderland tie-in album Almost Alice, which fans more than likely already own.
Check Out: “Irrational Anthem”
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