Wonders of the Younger

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Wonders of the Younger
Studio album by Plain White T's
Released December 7, 2010
Genre Alternative rock, indie rock, emo[1]
Length 49:45
Label Hollywood
Producer Ian Kirkpatrick
Plain White T's chronology
Big Bad World
(2008)
Wonders of the Younger
(2010)
American Nights
(2014)
Singles from Wonders of the Younger
  1. "Rhythm of Love[2]"
    Released: October 3, 2010
  2. "Boomerang"
    Released: April 5, 2011

Wonders of the Younger is the sixth studio album by the band Plain White T's. It was released by Hollywood Records on December 7, 2010.[2] The album's concept has exerted such force that Higgenson built and decorated the recording studio in the basement of his Chicago home with Wonders of the Younger entirely in mind.[2] The CD was produced by Ian Kirkpatrick. The collection of the songs was designed to evoke the feeling of awe and the yearning for adventure remembered from youth.[2] On September 9, the album art was revealed on the bands official MySpace account.[3] On September 13, the album finished up with mastering engineer Brian "Big Bass" Gardner at Bernie Grundman Mastering in Hollywood.[4]

Background[edit]

Higgenson says of the album, "It's still very much a Plain White T's album. The songs are sincere and melodic, no matter what the subject matter. We want to create an experience that takes our fans to an unexpected place while still giving them songs to sing along to."[5] In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Higgenson said that: "The name of the album is 'The Wonders of the Younger.' We were in Vegas last year around Valentine's Day and saw the Cirque du Soleil show 'O.' The show had clowns, pirates and a bunch of crazy stuff and I walked out thinking 'I've got a great idea for our next album.' From that point on, my mind went wild."[6]

In regards to Wonders of the Younger: "The scope is a lot bigger than anything we've done before," Tom Higgenson says. "We definitely tried to get out of our comfort zone. Not that we wanted to sound like a different band. But we wanted to push ourselves outside of what the Plain White T's are accustomed to--exploring different arrangements and striving to be more adventurous and exciting lyrically, musically and thematically. It all has to give you that epic feeling that we wanted the album to have. Even the performances that we're doing and the video we made has to have that slightly surreal, slightly fantastic kind of vibe to it."

The album gets off to a faster start with "Irrational Anthem," a sort of thematic overture for the record. "Lyrically," says Higgenson, "I think it says exactly what I want the album to say. I think the line that sums up the whole album is Let your mind go anywhere it wants to. Don't lose your imagination. Don't get so wrapped up in your day-to-day life that you forget to dream or be creative, or forget to recapture those things or at least remember them. That's the beauty of life. I'm a very nostalgic guy, so a lot of where my head lives is in memories. I spend a lot of my time looking back and smiling at past things that have happened in my life."[7]

Singles[edit]

"Rhythm of Love" is the first single from Plain White T's' upcoming studio album. Higgenson noted that the song is all about pushing the boundaries of their creativity and musical imagination combined with a dose of nostalgia.[4] On this single, the lead singer Tom Higgenson was on harmony vocals only, with guitarist Tim Lopez taking the lead vocal duties.

Tom Higgenson said during a live chat on Stickam that the second single off Wonders of The Younger would be "Boomerang".

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 57/100[8]
Review scores
Source Rating
AbsolutePunk.net 55%[9]
AllMusic 3.5/5 stars[10]
Entertainment Weekly (C+)[11]
Rock Sound (6/10)[12]
Slant Magazine 2/5 stars[13]

Wonders of the Younger received generally mixed reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 57, based on 8 reviews, which indicates "mixed or average reviews".[8] Andrew Leahey of AllMusic gave it three-and-a-half out of five stars, praising them for experimenting on different styles of instruments and vocals, and not relying exclusively on the midtempo songwriting that made them famous saying "As far as pop albums go, this one strikes a rare balance between familiarity and novelty".[10] Amy Bangs of Rock Sound gave it a six out of ten, noticing that the band stuck with their sound as a response to the detractors. She concluded by saying "For the rest of us, there’s no denying that ‘Rhythm Of Love’ and ‘Killer’ are guilty pleasures in the making – consider us thoroughly killed with kindness."[12] Jon Dolan of Entertainment Weekly graded the album a C+, giving credited to Tom Higgenson for sticking with his priorities but found it a bit dreary.[11]

Track listing[edit]

International edition[14]
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Irrational Anthem"   Tom Higgenson, Adam Watts, Andy Dodd 3:37
2. "Boomerang"   Tom Higgenson, Jeremy Smith 2:57
3. "Welcome to Mystery"   Tom Higgenson, Chris Tompkins 4:27
4. "Rhythm of Love"   Tim Lopez 3:20
5. "Map of the World"   Tom Higgenson, John Feldmann 3:39
6. "Killer"   Tom Higgenson, Marty Dodson 2:38
7. "Last Breath"   Tom Higgenson, John Feldmann 3:46
8. "Broken Record"   Tom Higgenson, Zac Malloy, Chris Tompkins 3:31
9. "Our Song"   Tom Higgenson, Shakur Green 3:15
10. "Airplane"   Tom Higgenson, Mike Retondo 2:18
11. "Cirque Dans La Rue"   Tom Higgenson, Marty Dodson 3:57
12. "Body Parts"   Tim Lopez 3:35
13. "Make It Up as You Go"   Tom Higgenson, Dave Tirio 3:44
14. "Wonders of the Younger"   Tom Higgenson, Sean McConnell 5:08
15. "Thanks for Nothing (Bonus)"     3:01
16. "Hollywood Love (Bonus)"     3:42
United Kingdom bonus tracks[15]
No. Title Writer(s) Length
15. "1, 2, 3, 4"   Tom Higgenson 3:18

Credits and personnel[edit]

Adapted from the Wonders of the Younger liner notes.[16]

Plain White T's
  • Tom Higgenson – vocals, guitar, keyboards, celeste, percussion
  • De'Mar Hamilton – drums, percussion, vocals
  • Dave Tirio – guitar, vocals
  • Tim G. Lopez – guitar, vocals, keyboards
  • Mike Retondo – bass, vocals, keyboards, celeste, accordion, horns, woodwinds
Additional musicians
  • Dan Monahan – celeste, guitar, accordion, bouzouki, drum programming
  • Augie Schmidt – keyboards, synths, drum programming, strings, horns
  • Nick Rucker – additional instrumentation on "Rhythm of Love"
  • Jeremy Smith – piano on "Boomerang"
  • Mike Daly – pedal steel on "Killer"
  • Matt Rohde – piano on "Killer" and "Make It Up As You Go", B3 organ on "Make It Up As You Go"

Charts[edit]

Chart (2010) Peak
Position
Top Rock Albums[17] 23
U.S. Billboard 200[17] 149

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Plain White T's: Wonders of the Younger". Slant Magazine. Dec 3, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Plain White T's announce 'Rhythm of Love' single release and reveal video". Altsounds.com. August 26, 2010. Retrieved September 7, 2010. 
  3. ^ "The Wonders of the Younger - album art revealed". September 9, 2010. Retrieved September 7, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b "Plain White T's Has Finished New Album 'Wonders Of The Younger' At Bernie Grundman Mastering @ Top40-Charts.com - Songs & Videos from 49 Top 20 & Top 40 Music Charts from 30 Countries". Top40-charts.com. 2010-09-13. Retrieved 2012-03-15. 
  5. ^ Glasswerk.co.uk (August 24, 2010). "Plain White T's announce 'Rhythm of Love' single release and accompanying video!". Glasswerk. Retrieved September 8, 2010. 
  6. ^ Graves, Shahlin (July 14, 2010). "Welcome: PLAIN WHITE T'S". Coupdemain Magazine. Retrieved September 8, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Wonders of the Younger: Plain White T's: Music". Amazon.com. Capital Group Companies. Retrieved March 15, 2012. 
  8. ^ a b "Reviews of Wonders of the Younger by Plain White T's". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved May 14, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Plain White T's - Wonders of the Younger - Album Review". AbsolutePunk.net. December 7, 2010. Retrieved March 15, 2012. 
  10. ^ a b Leahey, Andrew. "Plain White T's - Wonders of the Younger". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved May 15, 2011. 
  11. ^ a b Dolan, Jon (December 1, 2010). "Wonders of the Younger Review". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Retrieved May 15, 2011. 
  12. ^ a b Bangs, Amy (December 13, 2010). "Plain White T's - Wonders of the Younger". Rock Sound. Retrieved May 15, 2011. 
  13. ^ Cole, Matthew (December 3, 2010). "Plain White T's: Wonders of the Younger Music Review". Slant Magazine. Retrieved May 15, 2011. 
  14. ^ iTunes: Wonders of the Younger album
  15. ^ "iTunes - Music - Wonders of the Younger by Plain White T's". iTunes Store (GB). Apple. December 6, 2010. Retrieved March 15, 2012. 
  16. ^ Wonders of the Younger (Media notes). Hollywood Records. 2010. 
  17. ^ a b "Plain White T's". Billboard.com.