Review Summary: Oh, how the extremely average have fallen.
There was a time when We The Kings were a reasonably fun pop-punk outfit. Their self-titled debut album hit us in the feels with the unrequited love of ‘Secret Valentine’ and the “run away with me” aura of ‘Check Yes Juliet.’ Even then, though, they felt a little bit like a poor man’s Yellowcard – the chords were extremely basic, the percussion did only what it needed to, and the instrumentation as a whole left a lot to be desired. However, front man Travis Clark was always able to right the ship with his sincere vocal delivery and relatable lyrics. Even as the music
behind all the sentiments began to evaporate on Smile Kid
, there was enough present to result in some of their catchiest pop-punk numbers to date. The reason We The Kings fell off the face of the planet after that is because they continued to allow their ambition to atrophy. By Sunshine State of Mind
, we were no longer listening to pop-punk anymore at all. They’d reached Relient K-at-their-worst
levels of cutesy poptimism, and that was about the time when any remaining fans with dignity jumped ship. Then, instead of learning from their mistakes and attempting to beef up their sound, they continued chasing super poppy
pop-punk stardom – a goal that anyone with knowledge of music trends post-2010 would have immediately recognized as a dangling carrot on the front of a bicycle. Nevertheless, nearly eight years later, We The Kings are still fervently pedaling.
One might expect more biting sarcasm, but the truth is that there’s no expectations left to be disappointed by. On an album that is as uninspired as its title (Six
), the band goes through the motions one more time, presumably for money’s sake – because there’s absolutely nothing else that this could be about. Eleven pop songs, all overproduced, vying for a memorable chorus that could hopefully stick a landing near the bottom of some sort of alternative chart, somewhere…and that’s the best case scenario. Some of the tracks are inoffensively pleasant enough (‘On My Love’ glides by smoothly, ‘The Ocean and the Sun’ has some vague warmth to it and a cool little electro-pop culmination), but even then nobody could accuse them of sounding inspired. From there it very quickly devolves into a tepid pool of homogeneous adult-alternative-accessible-contemporary-radio-pop, or whatever you’d consider Boys Like Girls or The Plain White T’s to be, and you end up with songs like ‘Mama Knows Best.’ The closest they come to resembling a band with something to prove is ‘Planes, Trains, & Cars’ – a candidate right along with ‘Mama Knows Best’ for worst song title of the year – where there is an audible electric guitar riff (gasp!) and even a pretty interesting drum fill. Of course things fizzle out after this, and lead up to the predictably whiny piano ballad closer, ‘What I Wouldn’t Give.’ It’s doubtful that We The Kings will change now that they’re four albums into a repetitive cycle of glossed over, irrelevant mainstream ideas. And why would they？Someone out there must still be buying their music, so more power to them. But rest assured that when they eventually get tired of making the same songs over and over again, and finally hang up the mic, absolutely no one will care.