This week, the members of O-Town announced they’re getting back together – for real this time – to record a new album and eventually go on a tour.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with O-Town, they are one of those boy band fabricated in the groundbreaking first season of Making the Band in 2000. Five guys were chosen as the winners: Erik Michael Estrada, Jacob Underwood, Trevor Pennick, Ashley Parker Angel and Ikaika Kahoano. However Ikaika was all, I’m not into this and quit (He later formed his own group called LMNT with MTB rejects Bryan Chan and Mike Miller, and MATTHEW MORRISON FROM GLEE HOLY SHIT I HAD NO IDEA UNTIL NOW. They sang this Hey Juliet song, that may sound familiar). To replace Ikaika, the group decided to invite runner-up Dan Miller to the band and O-Town was officially formed.
They were managed by the infamous Lou Pearlman (who also created MTB), and went on to record two albums before disbanding in 2004. They say they wanted to pursue individual endeavors, but really, the only one who had any sort of semblance to a successful endeavor is Ashley Parker Angel, you know the token cute blonde one. And by successful, I mean he had his own reality show, played Link Larkin on Broadway, and now voices a character on Disney cartoon Handy Manny.
Nearly a decade later, the boys are back at it – without Ashley Parker
Angel – and going into a ‘new beginning’ of their careers. And here’s the thing – I’m excited to see what they come up with. It’s no secret that I am partial to boy bands, and unfortunately (or fortunately) I wasn’t able to hide my feelings for this 2000s group either. Fun fact: In high school, my friend Sarah and I, on a whim, decided to drive to a local mall where O-Town was having a CD signing, and since we got there kind of late, we were sort of the last ones in line. And when it looked like we just might have our chance, they LIT’RALLY cut us off with one person in front of us, thus prohibiting us from meeting these dreamboats. But Sarah, because she was way more ballsy than I, decided we should just sneak over to the table (that was set in front of a Bon Ton department store) and we managed to get a few of them to sign our CDS.
Anyways, I appreciated their music, and I feel like because of the success of ‘N Sync and my beloved Backstreet Boys, a lot of boy bands cropped up and took over the space, making it nearly impossible to survive if you weren’t either, well BSB or ‘N Sync. I think with O-Town’s vocals, they had potential to be something bigger and better, but just didn’t have the right mix of management, record label support, or good music to back it up.
In saying that, here’s a list of some of O-Town’s best songs you may not be familiar with, but deserve more attention. Yes, they only had two albums out, but there were actually some solid pop tracks on there. Warning: if you don’t like pop music, maybe don’t listen to the first few on the list.
10) Every Six Seconds // O-Town
Well, I liken this song to Next’s Too Close, in that I loved the song and sang at max vol when I listened to it – but I never understood the lyrics. Until I was old enough to actually listen to them. Oops. And looks like Lou Pearlman was trying to sneak in a couple of product placement ads in the song. I see you Victoria’s Secret and Mac.
9) Shy Girl // O-Town
If you want to time travel back to the late 90s/early 2000s, this song will do the trick. Honestly, this is the poppiest pop song and could’ve been recorded by 2ge+her. Their first (and second to last) album was totally a representation of Lou Pearlman and the band he wanted to make on the reality TV show. It was also becoming a copy cat of all the other boy bands, so much so that it was on the edge of becoming a parody of itself. Enter Shy Girl.
8) Sexiest Woman Alive // O-Town
Again, with the lyrics. Absolutely ridiculous. But that beat though. Product placement tracker: Häagen-Dazs & Calvin Klein jeans.
7) Take Me Under // O-Town
Remember when 90s songs had someone talking in the beginning? Yeah, this song has that. Except it’s supposed to be like a sexy woman robot voice? The future was so bright, y’all. Sidenote: I randomly remember them recording this song on MTB, and through the power of YouTube, we can watch it all over again – oversized turtlenecks and OG Mac systems included.
6) Love Should Be a Crime // O-Town
O-Town: not just a boy band, lobbyists against love.
5) You Can’t Lose Me // 02
O-Town’s second album, O2, was such a different sounding album than the first. It was like they broke free from the Lou Pearlman chains and were like, ‘Screw you, we’re doing what we want… for 90% of the album’. It has more of an acoustic feel than bubblegum pop, and I’ll let’s be real, I still listen put some songs into my iPod rotation to it to this day. This song is the last track on the CD, and kind of gave me the vibe of closure yet open for possibilities in the future… am I reading too much into this? Also please take time to appreciate the Windows Media Player-like graphics in this video.
4) Girl // O-Town
O-Town was particularly good at O2/acoustic songs and R&B/pop tracks, the latter of which is featured in this song. Pair that with an ode to a girl and you’ve got the perfect mix to make the fangirls swoon.
3) Suddenly // 02
It’s songs like Suddenly that make me think they’re channelling BSB circa 2005, which I’m totally okay with. It’s much more bearable than some of the almost unlistenable songs from the first album.
2) Craving // O2
There are a string of songs on O2 that are just on point, and this is one of them. One of the reasons I’m looking forward to them getting back together is the hope that they do more songs like this. If you put this next to Shy Girl, it’s like two different bands.
1) From the Damage // O2
O-Town haters, listen to this before you judge any further. Or just pretend they don’t have the stigma of being a fabricated boy band and listen to it for what it is. The lyrics aren’t hokey, and there’s so much emotion in it, it’s like they finally believe what they’re singing. There’s a reason why this was the first track on the album – they wanted to make it clear they were not the same boy band from the first record. One might think they’re actually full-fledged artists.