Life as We Know It

by: Lonestar

Richie McDonald left Lonestar in 2007 with the intent of pursuing a career in Christian music. As he worked on his 2008 debut, I Turn to You, the band hired Cody Collins and soldiered through Party Heard Around the World in 2010, but with their 20th Anniversary arriving in 2013, the group and McDonald decided it was time for a reconciliation, so they reunited for Life as We Know It, an album that hews much closer to what Lonestar did during their time away from McDonald than it does to the singer's sojourn in inspirational music. Life as We Know It is a secular album through and through, celebrating good times with good friends, indulging the notion that it's just fine to "Party All Day" and enjoy "Life as We Know It." If the album is to be trusted, that life is filled bright, shiny songs about romance (sometimes lost but more often won), infused with a genial fondness for everything that comes their way, as it all winds up as a "Pretty Good Day." All this sounds sweet but it can be silly, particularly on the party songs, like the reference-laden "How Can She Be Everywhere?," a particularly embarrassing trifle with references to Disneyworld and Ashton Kutcher which seems just a little bit too eager to become a viral novelty. Elsewhere, this is mainly amiable, not quite holding true to the band's pop-country roots, but certainly finding space within the confines of modern crossover country. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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