Review Summary: The band follows the formula and creates a winter album meant for the summer season.
I like to divide up the genre of pop punk into two subcategories. On one hand, you have the deep and profound bands – those like Say Anything or Brand New – and on the other, you have the plentiful mass of sunny-eyed, catchy bands – ala All Time Low, The Maine, We The Kings, etc. Both sides have their quirks and positives, and despite what may be the initial belief on the subject, the population of listeners throughout the world is probably divided almost evenly when it comes to the number of those that actually enjoy each side of the genre. There is a right
way and a wrong
way when it comes to the bands actually crafting their music within these sections, and unless the band is trying to push the envelope and create something original, many outputs – particularly those on the catchy side of pop punk – tend to follow a similar format and formula when it comes to the creation of the band’s album.
I’ll get right to the point: We The King’s Smile Kid
follows the successful formula for a catchy pop punk release almost perfectly. The band isn’t Radiohead – or Brand New for that matter – and they aren’t out to create something original. The band is just doing what they learned to do with their self-titled debut: the band is just making a summer album for teenagers. Lyrical subjects are what you would expect them to be – growing up, girls, and summer – and the emotions that come across from the music fall into the category of the mysterious and often unsettling area of angst.
The opening track should all but cement what I have said thus far: ”Do, do do, do do, do do do…”
follows behind a catchy pop punk riff, and the chorus to be found here is loaded with hooks and many possible interpretations:”She takes me high, she takes me high…”
Suffice it to say, the song could certainly be the anthem of those searching for love and affection. We The Kings continue from there on and deliver summer anthem after summer anthem. “The Story of Your Life” is riddled with a naïve type of hope - the kind that only someone who hasn’t been hit with the negative side of life talks about – and for what it’s worth, I can certainly see a lot of girls falling for Travis Clark’s lyrics that encourage them to run away with the singer. As far as switching it up in terms of sound, “In-N-Out (Animal Style)”, with a healthy ammount of sexual innuendo in the title, has this reggae edge to the verses that later connects with the type of chorus that can be found throughout the majority of the album: catchy, hopeful, earnest, etc.
While the majority of the album is a happy and hopeful anthem affair, there does happen to be one moment where the band slows down a bit. “We’ll Be A Dream” features a duet between Travis and Demi Lovato, and while the track does evolve into another anthem for better and hopeful times, you wouldn’t be incorrect in calling it the album’s ballad. Unlikely as it may be, the album’s closer may be the best example of a catchy, pop punk song. A jingle-bell type of pop punk riff enters the track, and the chorus accompanied by sets of well-placed: “Hey, hey, hey, hey!”
make for the album’s defining track.
is an album of hope that is full of desires for better days. The band has decided to take the relative success of their self-titled debut and tweak a bit, creating an album that’s meant for the summer season but will have to do for the months of winter instead. As mentioned, the band follows the format for a successful and catchy pop punk release almost perfectly, and those interested shouldn’t expect anything below or above that threshold of quality. Listeners should be warned though: the contents therein are full of sugar; it is best that this album be enjoyed in small doses if this is your type of thing.