Wonders of the Younger is the sixth album by the band Plain White T's. It was released on December 7, 2010. 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. 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. On September 9, the album art was revealed on the bands official MySpace account. On September 13, the album finished up with mastering engineer Brian "Big Bass" Gardner at Bernie Grundman Mastering in Hollywood.
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." 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."
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."
"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. 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".
Wonders of the Younger received mixed to mildly positive reviews from most 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". Allmusic writer Andrew Leahey gave it three-and-a-half out of five stars, praising them for experimenting on different styles of instruments and vocals, not relying exclusively on the midtempo songwriting that made them famous and ended saying "As far as pop albums go, this one strikes a rare balance between familiarity and novelty".
- Tom Higgenson - vocals, guitar, keyboards, ukulele, percussion
- De'Mar Hamilton - drums, percussion, vocals
- Dave Tirio - guitar, vocals
- Tim G. Lopez - guitar, vocals, keyboards
- Mike Retondo - bass, vocals, keyboards, accordion, woodwinds
- Dan Monahan - glockenspiel, guitar, accordion, bouzouki, drum programming
- Augie Schmidt - keyboards, synths, drum programming, strings
- Nick Rucker - acoustic guitar 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"
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