Dan “Soupy” Campbell, lead singer from one of my favourite bands of all time, The Wonder Years, is releasing his first solo effort in the concept album ‘Aaron West and The Roaring Twenties.’ and I couldn’t be more excited for this endeavour.
Taken from their official Facebook page:
“Aaron West and The Roaring Twenties is a character study conducted through music by Wonder Years’ frontman, Dan Campbell.”
The idea of crafting a concept album has always appealed to me and, given the raw, lyrical beauty that Dan Campbell brings to the ‘heart on his sleeve’/’open honesty’ approach of what he scribes for the ever relatable The Wonder Years, Aaron West and The Roaring Twenties is a narrative idea that I look forward to listening to on repeat.
Taken from an interview with AP.net, Dan had this to say:
“I wanted to push myself as a lyricist and not just as a guitar player. I thought the way to do that would be to start writing character sketches for the songs, so they wouldn’t be about me; they’d be about a bunch of characters I’d created. I had one that was going to be about an indie pro-wrestler. One of them was going to be about a guy who was from Brooklyn going through a divorce. Then as I started working on it, I realized just that one song wasn’t enough to explore this character the way I wanted to. I thought if I wrote all the songs about one person, then it would be a full-album character piece. But still, I didn’t expect to ever let anyone hear it.”
The entire album, “We Don’t Have Each Other”, is currently available for streaming on YouTube, courtesy of Hopeless Records, and is due for release on July 8th. I’ve listened to it through once so far, and it couldn’t be more different to The Wonder Years. Aaron West and The Roaring Twenties is a wonderful sonic experiment that has seen Dan Campbell push himself as a musician and lyricist, leading to some hauntingly beautiful melancholy in these songs.
If you’ve never been privy to Dan Campbell’s style of writing, then be sure to check out The Wonder Years as well. Grown up pop punk with deep cut messages that, despite the personal nature of where they originated, resonate deeper, and with more people, than Campbell probably initially thought, myself being one of them.
The way he tackled the thematic ideas he wanted to explore, put up against the back drop of some amazing pop punk, inspired the way I tackled my lyric writing when I was in my band, Adventure Starts Tomorrow! (EP, Press Start, available on iTunes and Spotify!) and, yes, has even affected how I approach writing my scripts and novel.
Writing in a raw, honest, style with a message, a story, that is inherently personal to me; committing to this belief, this blind faith that, what, with the billions of people on this earth, there will be a few that will relate to what I’m trying to express.
First Date, Gamers, Temporary, are all evidence of this. Which provides a wonderfully sloppy segue for me: I recently received some feedback from a Screen Writing Competition that analysed my debut feature, Gamers, in great detail, and I think my next blog will be going through their critique in some detail as it broached a few ideas that I hadn’t thought of, and criticised elements that I felt were unwarranted. But that’s the thing with movies, with music, with books, with anything: it’s all subjective to personal taste.
So, with this in mind, I look forward to deconstructing the helpful feedback, a sack of salt and a drink ready, just in case.