emo anyone?
bland at it's finest

Grade - 1.4

released July 12th, 2011

from the album - Friday Is Forever - 1.5


from all music


We the Kings are a melodic emo-pop band from Bradenton, Florida, a small Southern town that doubles as the home base for Tropicana orange juice. Friends since childhood (the band's moniker even refers to the name of their junior-high mascot), the four bandmates -- singer/guitarist Travis Clark, guitarist Hunter Thomsen, his bassist brother Drew Thomsen, and drummer Danny Duncan -- formed the group while attending high school. Under the guidance of manager Bret Disend, they placed a number of tracks on the social networking site Purevolume in 2007 to build online buzz. Meanwhile, they also pursued a deal with EMI's imprint S-Curve Records, which eventually signed the group.

We the Kings' self-titled debut album was produced by Sam Hollander and mixed by Lou Giordano, both of whom had done work with some of emo-pop's most marketable acts, and released in October 2007. "Check Yes Juliet" cracked the Pop 100 that fall, and the group spent much of the following two years on the road, playing shows alongside simpatico bands like The Academy Is... and Hey Monday. They also found time to record a second album, Smile Kid, which arrived in late 2009. Like the band's debut, Smile Kid spawned a Top 100 single with "We'll Be a Dream," which featured guest vocals from Demi Lovato. We the Kings continued to tour heavily, supporting All Time Low for several months before headlining their own shows at home and abroad. The shows stretched into 2011, by which point the group had already begun work on a third album. Sunshine State of Mind was released that summer.

Album Review

From its bright-yellow packaging to the summery pop/rock songs within, Sunshine State of Mind is a tribute to We the Kings’ home state, sort of like the Floridian equivalent of the Academy Is’ Fast Times at Barrington High. “Say You Like Me” flirts with reggae rhythms, “Every Single Dollar” puts a Warped Tour spin on 1950s rock & roll, and “Friday Is Forever” barrels forward with a sunny, epic sweep, its melody elevated by vocal harmonies and overdubbed strings. The lyrics fall into the same prepackaged categories as previous albums -- either the girl’s leaving the boy or the boy’s leaving the girl, both of which are described with the sort of literary semi-prowess you’d find in a high-school lit mag -- and they’re filled with plenty of wordless syllables (whoa, oh, oooh being the most frequent) to maximize their singalong potential. The ballads don’t carry nearly as much heft as the faster songs, even with the added benefit of S*A*M & Sluggo’s high-sheen production, but We the Kings have never been concerned with heft anyway. Sunshine State of Mind is a lightweight, breezy album, with just enough melodic mass to keep its songs from floating out of listeners’ heads and into the ether.

Track Listing

1 Friday Is Forever
2 Say You Like Me
3 Every Single Dollar
4 The View from Here
5 The Secret to New York
6 Sleep with Me
7 Over You
8 Kiss Me Last
9 Somebody to Call My Own
10 You and Only You