Year in Music 2017

We the Kings, "Smile Kid"

3.5

On sophomore album "Smile Kid," Florida rock act We the Kings continues to turn out catchy pop-punk anthems, but this time with a larger emphasis on clean, laid-back riffs and hooky melodies. The single "Heaven Can Wait" straddles the line between synth rock and peppy pop, complete with a collection of head-bopping, toe-tapping piano chords, while "We'll Be a Dream" is an arena-sized ballad, featuring the soaring vocals of Disney teen idol Demi Lovato. Despite its rather descriptive title, "In-N-Out (Animal Style)" is actually a feel-good ode to Los Angeles with short, choppy riffs and an arm-stretching bridge that will have listeners singing along before they even know it.-Crystal Bell