Tag Archives: Boy bands

Mad About The Boys: Tween Treats For Spring 2014

The bubbling world of boy bands: you may love them, you may hate them; you may have every single poster of every respective member on your wall, or you may scoff at the idea that a new one is popping up every minute when they’re likely going the way of the dinosaurs. However you feel, they’ll at least be around into the first half of this year, so let’s take a look at some singles you’ll be squealing for (or not) about to go global:

The boys of Summer.

The boys of Summer.

5 SECONDS OF SUMMER – “She Looks So Perfect”
Label: Capitol  / Release Date: February 21 (Australia), March 23 (U.K.), Summer 2014 (?) (U.S.)

These guys haven’t even released a proper single yet, but their social following of nearly 3.5 million fans total between Facebook and Twitter is immense. The Australian quartet is out to conquer the world with this after building their base with YouTube covers and original tracks, as well as an opening spot out on One Direction‘s worldwide tour last year. “Perfect” has already garnered strong pre-order sales in the countries it’s been made available in, although fans in the U.S. will have to wait until later this year to get their hands on the goods. Australian boy bands haven’t exactly made their mark worldwide; in fact, you have to go back to the days of Wa Wa Nee and Indecent Obsession to find any sort of Stateside crossover. Nevertheless, try as they might to get a hit. They have plenty of people rooting for them.

Time to get a hit.

Red all about it.

MIDNIGHT RED – “Hell Yeah!”
Label: 2101/Capitol / Release Date: February 25 (U.S. radio)

Based out of Los Angeles, this band may brand themselves as “America’s Boyband”, but does the majority of America even know about them yet? Probably not. The quintet tried to break at U.S. radio with their “Take Me Home” several months ago, and though it accumulated some minor airplay at CHR radio (#45), the five were beaten to the punch by a different song with the same title by trio Cash Cash and Bebe Rexha. So, onward and upward, as they say. If you’re a regular listener of Hits 1 on SiriusXM, they’ve been playing this on and off since July, so it’s not exactly new. Produced by RedOne, the boys are ready to party again, so long as you’ve “graduated from the school for cool.” I hear it’s pretty easy. Will they manage to finally breakthrough in a big way with their second radio cut? Let’s see what the label can do.

"Story" time.

Making “memories” in 2014.

ONE DIRECTION – “Midnight Memories”
Label: Columbia  / Release Date: March 10 (U.K.)

Well, well, well. “Story Of My Life” is still building at radio here in the States, and while we’re hoping it can still reach the top of the airplay chart in a few weeks, the five lads from London are moving onto their third single and title track from Midnight Memories in Europe. (No confirmation yet on whether this will actually be the third single in the U.S. or not.) A music video for this just premiered last Friday and is already over 13 million views, which I guess is pretty standard for their clips at this point. They leave a boring house party, eat kebab, spray each other with fire extinguishers, steal a police boat, etc. You know, pretty normal stuff for a weekday night, right? It’s a fun tune, even if it does sound like Def Leppard‘s “Pour Some Sugar On Me”. Hey, it’s all about having a good time. This one is real good. Time to rock out!

Doesn't somebody want to be Wanted?

One last “Glow”.

THE WANTED – “Glow In The Dark”
Label: Island Def Jam / Release Date: March (U.K.)

As we know, these five guys are on their way out, but don’t you worry. There’s still one more single to be lifted off their recent album, Word Of Mouth, titled “Glow In The Dark”. The schedule out of the United Kingdom notes a tentative date of March without any other specifics, so stay tuned as to if/when any special packs are announced. Plus, you know members Max George and Nathan Sykes will go solo as the media tries to pit them as the next Robbie Williams and Gary Barlow, respectively. Perhaps things will turn positive for them once again in this in-between time. This song is your typical EDM banger and there’s nothing real distinct about it; however, if it weren’t for this being the band’s last release for some time, it probably would’ve been a full-out flop. Expect it to do some action once a date is announced.

Which one of these four bands’ newest singles has the most potential to do well, and like, totally rules your playlist? Let me know! Follow the blog below or hit the “Get Social!” tab to find out how you can connect with PGTC on social media.

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Filed under Single Reviews

SINGLE REVIEW: Lawson – “Learn To Love Again”

They'll fight for this "Love".

They’ll fight for this “Love”.

At this point, there’s no way you can avoid the Boy Band Revolution that’s taken over the world. Between those youngsters One Direction and bad boys The Wanted, it’s Team Backstreet versus Team *NSYNC all over again. However, there’s one boy band (more like a young man band) that despite some consistent success in the United Kingdom doesn’t really get a lot of coverage and hasn’t had their major breakthrough in the United States… yet.

The quartet calls themselves Lawson. For our Stateside viewers, let’s call them the 98 Degrees of this era. Consisting of three 22-year-olds (Ryan Fletcher, Joel Peat and Adam Pitts) and one 25-year-old (Andy Brown), they’re easy on the eyes, can sing, and all play instruments. The band is named after lead singer Brown’s doctor who performed a surgery on him to remove brain tumor, which was successful. Their album, Chapman Square, was released in the U.K. back in October, and it reached the top five on its debut week. Three singles from it, “When She Was Mine”, “Taking Over Me”, and “Standing In The Dark” have all gone top ten, with the former two hitting the top five. With all that behind them, the band is taking a trip over here to the U.S. and Canada to play a few showcases in January/February in Los Angeles, New York City and Toronto. One can only assume that this means they’re testing the waters for a full-blown promotional campaign here. If it works, then look out for them on the scene in the Spring.

While they attempt to achieve the dream of international stardom, the band is releasing a fourth single from their album in the United Kingdom, a single called “Learn To Love Again”. The song has six co-writers listed on it, which is quite the bunch, but let me spell it all out for you. One writer is the aforementioned Andy Brown. Joakim Berg, Carl Falk, Rami Yacoub and Michel Zitron are all Swedish singers and songwriters. Berg is the lead singer in the band Kent. Falk’s written and produced a number of Pop songs over the years, especially with boy bands like One Direction and Westlife. He also recently worked with Nicki Minaj. Yacoub’s been in the industry for a long time, often working with Falk and super producer Max Martin, whom he worked with on hit singles for the Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears earlier in their careers. Lastly, Zitron has been behind several big singles for Swedish House Mafia, including their current one, “Don’t You Worry Child”. Oh, and we can’t forget about Eric Turner. You probably remember him from the chorus of the Tinie Tempah single, “Written In The Stars”. He’s released some solo material since then, but nothing’s stuck on the national charts, so he’s back to songwriting. So, with that untangling done, how about the actual song?

“Learn” is a sort of deviation from their past three singles in that it’s the closest to a dance song they’ve released (at least closer than “Taking”), though it manages to keep their pop/rock sound in toe with a heavy guitar and drum arrangement throughout. The song tells of two lovers who have been through the bad times of a relationship, where the “darkness took its toll” as they were “in the shadows”, but they’ve seem to make it through despite all the negativity surrounding them; Brown croons that “maybe that is how I knew you were the one.” They were lost, but now they are found, sharing in what, in the future, may be the best of times for them together. It’s one of the stronger songs on their album, which I happily imported a while back, so I don’t have any problem with it being released as a single. My main concern is whether it’s going to get lost in the shuffle or not. Even if you saw none of writing or production credits and just heard it sonically, you would automatically say that it was a Swedish House Mafia influenced track, or maybe even Calvin Harris since he’s been riding his recent album for a while. It’s the building pre-chorus with the synthesizers, the drum machine, and the “oh oh oh” chants that just explodes into a more surprising lyric-driven hook. It’s like a weird fusion of the band and both of these producers, but it’s very “Save The World” or “Feel So Close” without being a total club song. It’s generic, but it’s also not generic, because the band is able to back the song up with a meaningful vocal, arrangement, lyrics, etc. It’s complicated.

You can see where the dilemma is. Those dance acts were two of the biggest on the charts in 2013, but if the general public is fatigued of that sound, then it’ll sink. It’s also a fourth single from an album that’s been out for a while, so you would think that if people wanted the song, they would’ve downloaded it already. The February 3 release date attached to it doesn’t help things either. However, if “Learn” was the first single release in the United States, I don’t think that would be such a bad idea. We may have national charts overpopulated with dance music, but we’ve had this happen for far less time than in the United Kingdom. We’re also at a point here where The Wanted just underperformed with their last single release, “I Found You”, and One Direction is climbing with a ballad, “Little Things”, so it would be the perfect time for them to launch a breakthrough with the song. Boy band takeovers usually last a few years at a time, so they best be seizing the moment while they can.

Here’s hoping that 2013 is another great one for the boys and that they’ll get a little “Love” here in the States. They’re got the goods; now, it’s all up to a good backing to get them rocketing to the top of the charts. –AFS

Listen to and purchase “Learn To Love Again” on AmazonMP3 (U.K. only.)


Filed under Charts/Trade Papers, Single Reviews

Kids These Days: The Latest Tweenage Hits

Headed in the right Direction.

Headed in the right Direction.

Every generation of teenage girls have their male teen idols. They include singing sensations like Elvis PresleyRick Nelson, The Beatles, The Jackson 5, The Osmonds, Shaun Cassidy, Rick Springfield, New Kids On The Block, Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC, The Jonas Brothers, etc. I could go on for ages listing them all out and I still wouldn’t get them all. Point is, one replaces the other, and several compete all at one time for our fair maiden’s attention.

Now, there are a few teen idols from the last wave of singers that are still around on the charts today. The most prominent one is Justin Bieber, but even Bieber is between his 3rd and 4th year mark on the charts and releasing the most urban sounding songs on his album Believe, which I guess happens to the best of them. Remember when the Backstreet Boys had The Neptunes remix “The Call” in 2001? Nelly featuring on *NSYNC‘s “Girlfriend” in 2002? Justin Timberlake followed in a similar vein for his solo career. Well, Bieber’s latest single is “Beauty And A Beat”, which features rappper Nicki Minaj, preceded by a single featuring rapper Big Sean. Followup and fourth single “All Around The World”, featuring Ludacris, is out in the United Kingdom in February, so expect it in the States in a few months.

Sadly, The Wanted‘s newest falsetto-laced release, “I Found You”, is struggling to find a wide American audience, though it essentially comes off as a part two continuation of their big hit “Glad You Came”, which is still regularly played on the radio. It did hit #3 in their native United Kingdom… before falling to #20 the next week, then to #29, and then straight out of the top 40. Expect them to have a few more hits before they call it a day. It’s not like they’ll be wanted forever. Cody Simpson‘s also been struggling on the radio here and Ryan Beatty never really caught on. Oh well.

Here are three new tween hits on the radar in the States that’ll crossover into 2013 – the good, the bad, and the ugly:

ONE DIRECTION – “Little Things”
The boys have changed it up on us! “Kiss You” was initially meant to be the second U.S. single from Take Me Home, but the boys have opted to release this pretty ballad in the States as it recently hit #1 in their native United Kingdom. This is their first slower song to get a release here (Ballad “Gotta Be You” off their last album hit #3 in the U.K. last year) so it will be interesting to see how radio reacts to it since lead single, “Live While We’re Young”, hit a brick wall before the top ten on radio. I actually liked that one a lot, but it did sound similar to some of their earlier material. Ed Sheeran co-wrote this song, but the lyrics aren’t exactly the strong point of this composition. Who has dimples on their back at the bottom of their spine? No, it’s the tenderness of their singing and their vulnerable side that will get the teenage girls swooning. I can hear the collective sighs of “Awww!” already. It’s already #32 on CHR radio and climbing. Look for it to make it through the winter season alright.

CONOR MAYNARD featuring NE-YO – “Turn Around”
This twenty-year-old British singer has three top ten hits under his belt in the U.K., including this recent one which is now just making it to the States. It’s been in the top 50 on the CHR chart for a few weeks now, but it’s only been making small gains as of recent. It has your typical Stargate produced-sound, but it’s a cute little Pop song that, at least to me, is more enjoyable than some of Bieber’s latest stuff, but because he’s still ruling the charts, Maynard can’t seem to break through. I mean, there’s even a floating elevator in the video, and it’s giving me Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory vibes without going too far. At least it didn’t end up like this. Maynard releases his fourth single in the United Kingdom, “Animal”, this month.

AUSTIN MAHONE featuring FLO RIDA – “Say You’re Just A Friend”
Sorry to be a heartbreaker, Mahomies, but this one just isn’t going to do it for me. Buzz single “Say Somethin'” was at least halfway decent because it was a essentially a second-rate version of One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful”, but this one is even more generic and his vocals on the chorus are grating as hell. Plus, they got a rent-a-rapper, Flo Rida feature on this single, which means that his label is desperate for a hit. This “song” samples the classic Biz Markie track, “Just A Friend”, although Flo  can’t seem to figure out what year it came out as a single, based on his rap. It was 1990, two years after “Piano In The Dark” by Brenda Russell, the sample destroyed on his latest single, “I Cry”. (Blame that one primarily on the Bingo Players, though.) Try Mario’s 2002 remake of “Just A Friend” if you want something a little better. All things of this musical tragedy considered, it’ll probably be a minor hit, although I’d like to say you’re just a flop. Nothing against Mahone himself, but this is just bad. Better luck next time.

Who knows what could be next in the Pop world? I’m sure you’ll find out here first.


Filed under Charts/Trade Papers, Single Reviews