Help! The boy bands are back! They’re everywhere!
Okay, so right now there are basically only two contenders: The Wanted (whose self-titled CD releases this week in the U.S.), and their cheery, more bubble-gummy counterparts One Direction (who beat The Wanted to the punch with their U.S. debut last month).
But it just feels like more than two bands. *sigh*
Anyhow, The Wanted, the Anglo-Irish five-some from across the pond, have been generating plenty of buzz in the states over the past few months, dumping single after single on the market in anticipation of their U.S. release. Actually, the band’s chronology is a bit confusing at this point, because this self-titled debut is actually a year and a half old, released in the U.K. in 2010. Even more confusing—while the promotional singles from this record have been trickling onto the U.S. market since last fall, The Wanted actually released their second CD, titled Battleground, in the U.K. last November. (Good luck getting that one in the states; you can buy it on their website with Pounds Sterling.) I’m sure all this is some sort of PR strategy, but it feels like the PR people for The Wanted don’t realize it’s the 21st century and a global market. It doesn’t take two years anymore for news to travel over the ocean. (Guys, you can actually release stuff in the U.K. and U.S. at the same time. Just saying.)
As to the music itself, comparisons between The Wanted and One Direction are inevitable—but only to present a frame of reference, because the two bands are actually quite different. The Wanted presents an older, “darker,” more brooding version of the boy band model, while One Direction is more “smiley”, more tween-friendly, I suppose. Also, while One Direction is more straight pop/rock and harmony driven, The Wanted is more dance/club oriented, and relies more on unison chants than harmonies. The moods are entirely different between the two bands.
So enough background information—this is supposed to be a review of The Wanted.
Hm…what do I say? …
Honestly, tongue out of cheek, I can’t find much to say about this record. The pulsing dance rhythms are likely to get your feet tapping, but otherwise, as a body of work, it just sort of sits there. The vocals don’t really stand out, and the arrangements are mostly standard electro/dance/pop formula. The two opening tracks, “Glad You Came” and “Chasing the Sun” are the exact same key and tempo, and sound like parts one and two of the same song. It doesn’t get too much better from there.
Toward the end of the track list, the record seems to borrow (read: steal) from other top-selling records in an attempt to keep (read: recapture) listener interest. “Gold Forever” has a piano part remarkably similar to Coldplay’s “Clocks.” The opening of “Lose My Mind” sounds like it came right off of Kings of Leon’s “Use Somebody.” And the piano riff of “Warzone” reminds me of about six different Adele tunes. Really? Do we need to be this obvious?
Anyone who’s read my stuff here on MIMO knows I’m admittedly a bit biased against boy bands in general, so it takes a lot to impress me in this category. But if I’m gonna choose between One Direction and The Wanted as to which boy band is worth listening to…I’ll pick One Direction. The Wanted has an ironic name, in my opinion. There’s just not much here worth wanting.
ALBUM RATING: 1.5 Stars (out of five)