“We Don’t Have Each Other” pleases fans of all generations
By Austin Vicars
Dan Campbell, lead vocalist and guitarist for the band The Wonder Years, came out with his first solo project album “We Don’t Have Each Other” on July 8. With his one-man-band under the name of Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties, “We Don’t Have Each Other” is a ten-song record telling of the hardships a fictional character, West, endures during his twenties.
Rather than crafting a collection of songs that have the same pop punk flavor as The Wonder Years, Campbell decided to broaden his horizons and takes a more Americana/folk approach to “Aaron West And The Roaring Twenties.” Instead of fast-paced guitar riffs and catchy choruses found in The Wonder Years, “Aaron West And The Roaring Twenties” opts for a singer/songwriter approach that is centered on emotion and acoustic guitar.
While it is easy for some to dismiss this as another “boy and his guitar” kind of record, it is foolish. “We Don’t Have Each Other” isn’t just another generic singer/songwriter album. This album has lyrics that are emotional and moving, such as in the song “Divorce And The American South,” “It’s just when we lost the baby, I kind of shut off,” that are both deep and powerful. The album talks about Aaron dealing with divorce, his father’s death, economic struggles and battling addiction. The topics presented are relatable and can hit a little too close to home for some people.
While the album is dark and depressing, Campbell’s vocal and guitar-work bring it a sense of beauty. The contrast found between beautiful melodies and the sense of darkness and despair are what really make this album shine. “We Don’t Have Each Other” is a record that should be enjoyed as a whole. Each and every song presents its own story and weight that is moving listen after listen.
In an album that tells such vivid stories and shows such immense emotion, it is hard to imagine the stories being manufactured rather than being the retelling of actual hardships. It is near impossible to accept the fact that West is a creation of Campbell’s imagination rather than a real person. While West is not a real person, there is most certainly a little part of him in all of us.