Weekend Replay: New from We the Kings, Niall Horan, and Why Don’t We

Way back in 2007, pop-punk band We the Kings had a hit with “Check Yes Juliet.” Now, they’ve released their first new album since 2015’s Strange Love. The new album, simply titled Six, feels like a lowkey, but fitting, release for midsummer. It’s nostalgic without feeling like a regurgitation of the trends of a decade ago. Incorporating cheery dance-influenced beats and a characteristically soaring chorus, “The Ocean and the Sun” calls to mind movie scenes of big beach parties and bonfires, making it a perfect summer jam.

Niall Horan‘s been busy as well. His new single, “Finally Free,” will feature on the soundtrack for the upcoming animated movie “Smallfoot.” The movie is about a Yeti who tries to convince his community that humans—referred to as “smallfeet” in the movie—really exist. A lighthearted movie like this one calls for a lighthearted song, and he delivers. Horan’s voice and the lyrics about feeling like “nothing’s out of reach” give the song the same warm, uplifting feel of Phillip Phillips’s “Home.”

Pop these days seems to incorporate a chiller beat, bouncy but not upbeat, and “Talk,” the newest single from pop five-piece Why Don’t We, is no exception. Lyrically, it could almost sound out of date, using physical letters and dial tones as a metaphor for missed communication in a relationship. Are those things considered “vintage” already and therefore cool to reference? Either way, smooth percussion and production make for a bubbly, catchy track.