Reviews

Dan Campbell of The Wonder Years Drops His First Solo Album Other People’s Lives and It’s Extremely Emotional

If you’ve ever listened to The Wonder Years or Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties, you know that Dan Campbell is a master at story telling. Now, the pop punk and folk rock singer has finally released his first solo album. Other People’s Lives is folksy, emotional, and brings the beautiful stories of everyday people into the hearts and homes of many. After several years of writing songs for fans, Dan released these very real stories of wonder, loss, struggle, and love into the world. Sure it’s only 35 minutes, but you’ll be tearing up through most of it (in a good way).

The Philly musician’s biggest strength is in sharing little details in his lyrics. The opening track, “Conversations with Flowers” sets the tone of the album beautifully. It’s a story full of small moments that may seem inconsequential to some, but are a big part of the characters’ relationship. Next, “Flight No. 5” is a track that covers the pain of a long distance relationship. When looking at the lyrics of these tracks, it may seem short and simple. Yet, these words hold so much weight.

Track 3, “When I Face Into The Wind,” was the first single from this album. Released in February 2021, it gave fans of Dan’s other projects a glimpse into how powerful his art as a solo project. Tonality speaking, the tracks are softer than Campbell’s projects backed by a band. However, their power to emotionally move listeners, may be even stronger. “When I Face Into The Wind” ends with the couple in the story having a baby. We’d be lying if we our eyes weren’t swelling with emotion.

Songs such as “My Break In the Rain” and “Ambassador Bridge” show the ups and downs of relationships. Through hard times, love only grows stronger.  Then we hear “Gull Lake,” one of the strongest tracks. It’s the story of losing a parent-figure. “The Kings of Halloween” is another track in honor of a mother, Kathy. Once again, the small moments reminiscing on the good times through childhood make it special. Additionally, Dan’s vocals convey all the emotion behind the person who’s telling the story.

“In Love In Various Rooms” and “Streetlights Painted You Gold” are perfect love songs because they show the imperfections of love. The lyrics demonstrate raw emotion behind falling in love through different stages in life. Sometimes love is the light in the dark. Then finally, we have another song that is sure to make you cry, “I Love You. I Miss You. Goodnight.,” as the closer. Another stunning song about loss, but honoring the person in the best way, by thinking fondly of them

So, if you haven’t listened to Other People’s Lives yet, grab a box of tissues before pressing play. Dan Campbell has given all the people in these stories a great gift. Through sharing tiny memories, he has memorialized loved ones, marriages, parents, children, and friends into art. With delicate production, smooth guitars, and strong vocals each track is unique, yet, cohesively share the human experience. We’re here to champion whatever project Dan is working on next because it’s sure to be moving.

Featured Image: Loneliest Place on Earth and Miscellaneous Recordings

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