O-Town Is Back With A More Modern Sound

by Taylor Ferber
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Guess who's back? Back again?... Remember a little band called O-Town? A group of musical mavericks who provided the 2001 hit "Liquid Dreams"? These guys are back in town, because the '90s never really went anywhere. But, they may or may not give audiences the nostalgic journey they were hoping for, and there are a few reasons why. The band released a new song "Empty Space" on Tuesday, and it doesn't seem to come from the O-Town I love and remember. How times have changed.

Since rising to fame as the first group to win MTV's Making the Band in 2000, the boy band had a few albums under its belt in the late '90s to early '00s, before splitting up in 2003. Each member went on to pursue solo careers, but none really took off. Perhaps the most successful was Ashley Parker Angel (who performed in Broadway's Hairspray) and his thriving Instagram with a plethora of shirtless selfies.

After they all sort of disappeared, rumors emerged in 2011 speculating the band was reuniting. In 2013, O-Town created its social media accounts gearing up to come back into fans' lives, releasing the album Lines & Circles in 2014. Somehow, this mostly slid under the radar. Until now, that is. And O-Town looks and sounds a little different.

Original members Erik-Michael Estrada, Trevor Penick, Jacob Underwood, and Dan Miller are part of the reunion. But guess who isn't? Frontman Ashley Parker Angel. Well, this isn't anything new. When the band reunited in 2014, the guys were open about Angel's decision to decline the opportunity, and there were not hard feelings. Guess he still hasn't come around.

In addition to Angel's absence, the band's sound is completely different. Granted, '90s pop boy-band sound is very distinct and a thing of the past (or is it?), but the group's new hit gives me total Justin Bieber vibes. It's definitely more modern, and slightly EDM-infused with less of a boy-band feel than music by groups like One Direction. If fans want to see and hear the band in action, they can catch them on their current U.S. tour, which will run through the summer.

I guess this doesn't particularly sound like the '90s, but it feels like the '90s. And that's all I can really ask for on another Tuesday.