Is pop punk dead? A question that has been asked for more than a decade, but yet pop punk is still very much alive. In 2010 when STATE CHAMPS emerged on the scene the genre was already well established thanks to pop punk powerhouses like New Found Glory, Blink 182 and Green Day (although some would argue that a couple of these are inaccurately classified as pop punk). In recent years it has been evident that pop punk is truly not dead. While STATE CHAMPS never reached the same accolades as some of their predecessors and/or peers their latest release, Kings of the New Age, is evidence that they have carved out their place in the annals of pop punk history.
The album opens with “Here To Stay” which can easily be seen as an anthemic proclamation that even after 10+ years in the game STATE CHAMPS are not going anywhere any time soon. This is followed by “Eventually” which is a remarkably structured track musically and lyrically. With its consistent dynamics it stands out as one of the best tracks on the album. Things downshift slightly with “Everybody But You” which is a strong follow up to “Eventually” that creates a bit of a contrast showing the range and depth of the album (it’s no surprise that both tracks have been released as singles for the album).
“Outta My Head” plunges the album in to its middle act, but may have served a bit better as the album opener in the overall scheme of things. It is definitely not out of place, but maybe just not in the most conducive place. “Fake It” follows and is probably the most “radio friendly” track on the album, but surprisingly has not been pushed as a single. At least not yet. “Half Empty” is probably the strongest track lyrically and features guest vocals from Chrissy Costanza of Against the Current which creates a phenomenal harmonic dynamic on the track. “Just Sound” somewhat concludes the middle segment of the album and while it is a good track it easily gets lost in the shuffle of everything that has come before it on the album.
The album begins it’s journey into the final act with “Act Like That” featuring another guest spot, this time with Mitchell Tenpenny. The track has a good narrative and vibe, but still seems to be missing something that prevented it from clicking with me, but it may just be an acquired taste. “Where Were You” is a solid filler track and fits well in the last half of the album. However, it is followed by the most interesting placement of “Sundress” which features Four Year Strong. For something that noteworthy you would think it would get a more prominent placement on the album, but runs the risk of getting lost as the predecessor to the album closer. Which brings us to “Some Minds Don’t Change.” Is it a good track? Yes. Is it a good closing track? That is open for debate, but it fits well as the closer as it just doesn’t seem strong enough to have a higher placement on the album.
Overall, Kings of the New Age is a solid release with maybe a couple of slight missteps due to the album’s pacing and track fluidity. Kings of the New Age is available now on all major streaming platforms or visit their webstore to purchase a physical copy.