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.
AllMusic Review by Andrew Leahey