The Wonder Years’ fifth album ‘No Closer To Heaven’ is an incredibly powerful body of work. It’s The Wonder Years at their very best. ‘Stained Glass Ceiling’, a collaboration with Jason Aalon Butler of letlive., underlines the message of the whole album. The intensely moving vocalisation captures the sense of guilt felt by those who can see the injustices in the world, but feel powerless as mere observers. It’s a song that asks questions from every angle.
It’s not the first time that Dan ‘Soupy’ Campbell and Jason have worked together, with Dan providing vocals on ‘The Dope Beat’ as part of letlive.’s Renditions series. ‘Stained Glass Ceilings’ is the first time the pair have had an equal input on a song though and below the pair explain why it won’t be the last.
“Dan called me, he’d let me know he wanted me to sing on their next record and I certainly was honoured and obliged,” explains Jason. “As far as this current music scene that we’re somewhat relative to, it’s rare that I find sparks of inspiration. It’s rare that I connect strongly with many of the bands that we may be contemporaries with,” he continues, before clarifying that he doesn’t want to offend anyone.
It’s a feeling that Dan shares. “I think we come from similar ethos and I think that breeds some of the respect. Bands who like each other and like the way other bands think.”
“Dan told me what he was writing about,” continues Jason. “He was explaining what he thinks he should be saying, how certain things are unjust or wrong and what shouldn’t be happening. He was asking questions because Dan and I come from very different demographics. We come from very different walks of life. He was asking questions about where I grew up, how I grew up and he wanted to understand and use that understanding. He was writing these things from his perspective. Then we got together and started writing this song.”
“He kills it,” says Dan of Jason’s performance on the track. “We’re just friends and we see eye to eye. There’s a mutual respect. I think that Jason’s the greatest frontperson alive right now. The only person on earth who I think rivals Jason on how they perform live is Hayley from Paramore. The two of them, they are the gold standard, just in different ways.”
“The topic of the song is a lot of the reason we were like, Jason is the voice for this,” he continues. “Jason is more the voice for it than I am. I ran almost all of my lyrics for this song past him. ‘Hey, this is what I’m thinking of saying. You’re going to be on the song, so I want you to be 100% behind the message of the song.’ He was like, ‘you’ve nailed it’.
“I don’t want to speak for him, [but] Jason has a really unique experience going through his life. His identity and everything surrounding it, where he came from, who his parents are, all of that is really speaks to this song. He was the perfect candidate to sing on it.”