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DLC Week of 11/9: Magnolia Park and We The Kings

Whether nostalgically revisiting the fun, upbeat vibes of the early aughts or simply seeking out some catchy, peppy rockers, Magnolia Park “Addison Rae” and We The Kings “Check Yes, Juliet” deliver! Both of these bangers are available this Thursday in the Rock Band Music Store.

When Magnolia Park’s “Addison Rae” first dropped in September of 2022, guitarist Tristan Torres had this to say: “‘Addison Rae’ brings you back to the height of ’00s pop-punk with its infectious chorus and unbelievably catchy lyrics that make you want to learn every word.” Torres pretty much hits the nail squarely on the head with this description as the track is a blistering blast of monster riffs, catchy refrains, and lyrics that beg closer examination. While pursuing this brand of catchy-yet-somehow-vaguely-menacing “punk” can all too easily find artists teetering on a knife’s edge over potential self-parody, in this case the Orlando-based six-piece – vocalist Joshua Roberts, guitarists Freddie Criales and Tristan Torres, drummer Joe Horsham, keyboardist Vincent Ernst, and bassist Jared Kay – convincingly stick the landing.

To be clear, the song’s not actually about everyone’s favorite Tik-Tok star, but rather, about someone who has blonde hair just like Addison Rae – a distinction that is mapped out for the listener in the very first line of the track, which is also how the recording begins. In this first introduction to the maddeningly catchy chorus, Roberts’ clear voice chimes out over chunky stabs of distorted guitar for the first few moments of “Addison Rae” before the pulsing rhythm section joins at the 17-second mark. When the full band kicks in, we hear the lead guitar line mirroring the vocal melody of the refrain (if you come up with something that hooky, may as well lean into it!). After this powerful intro, the first actual verse is delivered and it’s all palm-muted guitars and taut drums supporting the gradually intensifying vocals. At 1:20 we’re back at the chorus – and it’s every bit as snappy and ear-wormy as at the intro. The bridge adds some more syncopated rhythms and accents to the picture before the band returns for a double-dose of the refrain, then segueing into an a cappella delivery of the chorus followed by an instrumental revisit of that massive melody, which closes out the track at 3:19.

So how did a band very much of the present-day manage to so convincingly recreate the sound and vibe of the late ‘90s/early ‘00s? And how does Magnolia Park manage to inject just enough depth to their lyrics for “Addison Rae” to avoid being merely another one-dimensional “relationship gone wrong” rocker? Roberts has said, by way of explanation, “A couple of the guys came to the rest of us and said, ‘Hey, we’ve been working on some stuff that’s a little different and we want to know what you think.’ Up until that point we were just a little pop-punk band with no layers underneath the songs and nothing auxiliary in there to augment the music – it was real bare-bones stuff. But then we started doing something that was completely different to what other bands were doing at the time.”

Completely different from the pack in 2022 (and today, as well), but with timeless and universal appeal. Get ready to be playing this one on repeat!

We The Kings hit paydirt with “Check Yes, Juliet,” the platinum single from their eponymous 2007 debut LP.  Very much of its time, the track now lands like an angsty throwback to a more innocent era when sing-along, peppy rockers ruled the airwaves and provided the soundtrack to mall excursions and parents-are-away-for-the-weekend keggers. With well over 250 million(!) streams on Spotify, it’s safe to say the appeal of “Check Yes, Juliet” endures – both for those nostalgically revisiting youthful hijinks and a newer generation just now being introduced to the irresistible charm of this quartet.

Beginning with a mid-rangey guitar figure, “Check Yes, Juliet” kicks into high gear at the six-second mark, with pounding drums and driving guitars confidently chugging at full speed. Singer/guitarist Travis Clark lays down some clear-as-a-bell vocals, with plenty of appealing harmonies bolstering the overall impact. At :40 the group busts out a gloriously over the top pre-chorus that’s all big handclaps and call and response “eeee-oooooh!” exclamations. When the song reaches the chorus, it’s every bit as catchy as you’re probably expecting/hoping by that point. After another run-through of the verse/chorus progression, we reach the middle-eight at the 2:08 mark: hiccupping stop-start accents alongside a more percussive vocal delivery. About 10 seconds later is an instrumental break, comprised of a simple guitar lick over pulsing bass and drums. Following that section we get Clark accompanied only by low-fi filtered drums before the full band rages back at full power through to the fade-out at 3:40. Throughout the cut, We The Kings – Clark, guitarist Hunter Thomsen, bassist Drew Thomsen, and drummer Danny Duncan – play with the casual synchronicity only lifelong friends can muster. It’s an impressive display of musicianship that keeps everything tight as a drum (literally, in Duncan’s case!), but never veers into being robotic. 

When the band released a 10th anniversary edition of “Check Yes, Juliet” Danny Duncan acknowledged the song’s durable legacy: “We think it was a big song that got a lot of people into We the Kings, and we wanted to pay a little tribute, a little respect to the song that started it all.” Yes, Duncan – you think correctly. “Check Yes, Juliet” *was* a “big song” and remains so! If you haven’t heard this one yet, be forewarned: you will absolutely have it stuck in your head for days (or longer)!

Magnolia Park “Addison Rae” and We The Kings “Check Yes, Juliet” are now available as DLC. Both can now be yours for $1.99 each.

  • Magnolia Park – “Addison Rae”
  • We The Kings – “Check Yes, Juliet”

VIDEO: New Rock Band DLC! Magnolia Park and We The Kings



*Please note that this week’s DLC tracks will be available for purchase on Thursday, November 9th.