The Upsides

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The Upsides
Studio album by The Wonder Years
Released January 26, 2010
Recorded August 2009, Skylight Studios in Fairless Hills, PA.
Genre Emo-pop, pop punk[1]
Length 39:45
Label No Sleep
Producer Vince Ratti
The Wonder Years chronology
Get Stoked on It!
The Upsides
Suburbia I've Given You All and Now I'm Nothing

The Upsides is the second studio album by American rock band The Wonder Years, released through No Sleep Records and Run For Cover Records on January 26, 2010. The album was recorded with producer Vince Ratti at Skylight Studios in Fairless Hills, PA. After being signed by Hopeless Records, The Upsides was later reissued in a deluxe edition featuring four new songs.

Concept and themes[edit]

The Upsides is a part of a trilogy (along with Suburbia I've Given You All and Now I'm Nothing [2011] and The Greatest Generation [2013]) that dealt with vocalist Dan Campbell's struggles of being scared, loneliness and feeling lost.[2]

As vocalist and lyricist Dan "Soupy" Campbell explains on the album's vinyl release, The Upsides is about fighting back. He began writing the album on early morning bike rides, compiling lines in a notebook for an album that was intended to be about how he had given up. Although it seemed the members of the band had been beaten into misery in their early 20s, as Campbell was riding his bike down past the fountain at "Logan Circle" one day he noticed it had been switched on. This triggered a realization for him, and he decided that it wasn't okay to be so defeated at 23. After a month of writing with the band living in his home, they emerged with a newly adopted 'we're not sad anymore' philosophy.[3][4][5]

"The whole world wants you to be miserable. It wants you to put your head down, sigh to yourself and give up on being happy, and I know just as well as anyone that sometimes, giving up seems like the only option, but if you take one thing from this record I hope it's this. Don't give those mother-fuckers an inch. Stand your ground every chance you get because everybody deserves a chance to be happy."

Dan "Soupy" Campbell, The Wonder Years lyricist and vocalist, on the message conveyed by The Upsides.[3]

Whilst the lyrics have been referred to as "more personal than ever", the band hasn't shied too far away from the humor on their previous releases, with topics mentioned including sexting (referring to a member of I Call Fives), cock-blocking, and fist pumping. The lyrics also venture into different themes in each song, from the loneliness of tour life ("Everything I Own Fits in this Backpack"), to social awkwardness ("This Party Sucks") and persevering through bad times ("Washington Square Park").[4] Allmusic's review said The Upsides has a concept album-like feel and is filled with "post-college angst, busted hearts, big questions, hope, anger, humor, and life". Continuing to say the songs fit together like an intricate puzzle, flowing like it was an entire diary's worth of observations, feelings and events.[1]

Campbell said "when the record came out, I was not in the best spot." He had just broken up with his girlfriend of two years, but still felt "the prevailing theme kind of worked because while I was kind of down at the moment, it was a different down than I had been before. Like in the past, I’ve been depressed, and just kind of been complacent, and ok with it, but this was a different sad. This was a sad where I was mourning what I didn’t have anymore, with the girl I was dating and a couple [of] other things, but it wasn’t hopeless. I knew things were going to get better, and it was just a matter of waiting it out." They later recorded bonus tracks for The Upsides, and one of the songs was about the situation he found himself in upon the album's release.[6]

Release and promotion[edit]

The Upsides sold 1,845 units in its first week,[7] charting at number nine on the Billboard Top Heatseekers and 42 on the Top Independent Albums charts.[8]

Following the success of the album's release, The Wonder Years announced in May 2010 that they had signed with Hopeless Records.[9]

Deluxe edition re-release[edit]

The band released a deluxe reissue of The Upsides through their new label Hopeless Records. The reissue included four extra tracks, two of which had not been heard before. "I Was Scared and I'm Sorry" was written about a break-up and everything changing in Soupy's life. "We Won't Bury You" was written for a friend of the band who was in rehab, he died of an overdose before ever hearing the song. The first of the reworked songs was a fun take on "Dynamite Shovel"; "Recorded live in one room with a bunch of mics everywhere, this finds us stomping and clapping and yelling and laughing". The final track is a completely reworked "slowed down, piano-based version" of the song "Logan Circle", said to be "completely reminiscent of the song it actually is, but it's different lyrics (and a) different structure".[6][10]

In October 2015, the band announced another reissue of the album, due for release on December 18. This time it features new artwork and all of the bonus tracks made available with the previous deluxe edition of the album, in addition to "Leavenhouse. 11:30.".[11]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AbsolutePunk (86%)[4]
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[1] 4/5 stars[12]
Alternative Press 4/5 stars

Allmusic said the "bleeding humanity" of the band and how Campbell "sounds like a regular guy, not a rock & roll frontman" help The Upsides bring "a time-honored sound" and "make it sound fresh and exciting by doing it seriously right". Reviewer Tim Sendra complimented the duelling riffs of guitarists Matt Brasch and Casey Cavaliere, Mike Kennedy's drum work and how Nick Steinborn adds the occasional unobtrusive keyboard part - "They simply take the best of each element of their conglomerated sound (the hookiness of pop, the heart-spilling fever of emo, the rambling energy of punk) and let it rip."[1] The album was included at number 24 on Rock Sound's "The 51 Most Essential Pop Punk Albums of All Time" list.[13]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by The Wonder Years.

No. Title Length
1. "My Last Semester" 3:51
2. "Logan Circle" 2:56
3. "Everything I Own Fits in This Backpack" 4:18
4. "Dynamite Shovel" 1:05
5. "New Years with Carl Weathers" 3:11
6. "It's Never Sunny in South Philadelphia" 4:05
7. "Hostels & Brothels" 3:45
8. "Melrose Diner" 3:21
9. "This Party Sucks" 3:30
10. "Hey Thanks" 2:32
11. "Washington Square Park" 3:30
12. "All My Friends Are in Bar Bands" 3:52


The Wonder Years
  • Dan "Soupy" Campbell — vocals, ukulele
  • Matt Brasch — rhythm guitar, vocals
  • Josh Martin — bass, vocals
  • Casey Cavaliere — lead guitar, vocals
  • Michael Kennedy — drums
  • Nick Steinborn — keys, guitar, vocals

  • Bill Henderson — mastering
  • Jake Sulzer — mastering(acoustic tracks)
  • Mitchell Wojcik — photography
  • Guest vocals on "Hey Thanks" — Rachel Minton (Zolof The Rock & Roll Destroyer)
  • Guest trombone on "Hey Thanks" — Matt Belanger (We Are The Union)
  • Guest vocals on "All My Friends Are in Bar Bands" — Shane Henderson (Valencia), Dave Mackinder (Fireworks), Matty Arsenault (A Loss For Words), Jamie Rhoden (Title Fight), Nik Bruzzese (Man Overboard), Charlie Saxton and Nick O'Neill (Sink Or Swim)

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (2010) Peak
U.S. Billboard Heatseekers Albums[14] 9
U.S. Billboard Independent Albums[15] 42


  1. ^ a b c d Sendra, Tim. "Review: The Upsides". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-09-25. 
  2. ^ Biddulph 2015, p. 43
  3. ^ a b The Upsides (Vinyl). The Wonder Years. No Sleep/Run for Cover. 2010. RFC018. 
  4. ^ a b c DiVincenzo, Alex. "Wonder Years, The - The Upsides". AbsolutePunk. Retrieved 2010-09-25. 
  5. ^ "Chalkboard Confessional: The Wonder Years". Alternative Press. Retrieved 2010-09-25. 
  6. ^ a b "Interview With Soupy (The Wonder Years)". Entirely Smooth. Retrieved 2010-07-06. 
  7. ^ "Local band takes advantage of their 'wonder years'". The Reporter. Retrieved 2010-07-06. 
  8. ^ "The Upsides > Charts & Awards". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-07-06. 
  9. ^ "The Wonder Years Sign to Hopeless Records". AbsolutePunk. Retrieved 2010-09-25. 
  10. ^ "Track-By-Track: The Wonder Years". Alternative Press. Retrieved 2010-09-25. 
  11. ^ "The Wonder Years - The Upsides (Deluxe Edition)". No Sleep Records. Retrieved 2015-10-24. 
  12. ^ "The Wonder Years - The Upsides (2010)". Retrieved 2010-09-26. 
  13. ^ Bird, ed. 2014, p. 71
  14. ^ "The Wonder Years - Chart history (Heatseekers Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved July 30, 2015. 
  15. ^ "The Wonder Years - Chart history (Independent Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved July 30, 2015. 
  • Biddulph, Andy (September 2015). Bird, Ryan, ed. "What Are You So Scared Of?". Rock Sound. London: Freeway Press Inc. (204). ISSN 1465-0185. 
  • Bird, Ryan, ed. (September 2014). "The 51 Most Essential Pop Punk Albums of All Time". Rock Sound. London: Freeway Press Inc. (191). ISSN 1465-0185. 

External links[edit]