Monday, July 18, 2016

O-TOWN - O2 (2002)


Swinging back to the neighborhood of boybands for a moment, I thought I would stop in for a visit the boyband who made it big through the short-lived reality TV series "Making The Band": O-TOWN. In fact, I had almost forgotten that's how the boys had gotten their start in the first place! Well it had certainly been some time since I'd been around the block with them, so it seemed that a forty-five minute joyride with their second album, "O2", was in order. Actually, that joyride ended up lasting for well over an hour, considering that I had to shift the gears and reverse back to a couple of favorite stops along the way. "From The Damage": it's these kinds of complete lyrical, vocal and instrumental contemporary pop/rocks offerings that sound like they would win an aspiring band in the makings a record deal; one of the album's finest songs right off the bat. But then it's the one right after that sounds like it should be a band's signature hit: "These Are The Days", which I'd like to say I at least vaguely remember before my hour-plus joyride got under way. So touching is this mellow, bittersweet gem about feeling lonely but looking forward to a brighter point in life when things are beautiful again—well-written, well-sung and well-presented all around. I love my boyband dance-pop, so you can bet I was all into the beat and the groove on jams like "I Only Wanna Dance With You" (always fun when the chords and the rhythm from a memorable favorite from the 80's get recycled for my listening pleasure; this time, it's the George Michael classic "Careless Whisper" being heard here) and the totally-hip trio of "Make Her Say", "The Joint" and "Girl Like That" (all are a lot of fun with a lot of flavor for my ears to savor). Didn't backtrack to all of those favorite stops like I wanted to just yet, but believe me, they're on my mental itinerary! Though O-TOWN boys are at their best on this album when they craft together a quality effort along the lines of the opening cut; something about the contemporary pop/rock sound really brings out their talents, particularly on the vocal side of things. "I Showed Her", "Suddenly" and "Craving" are good examples to support that statement, as are the pair whose theme is that of emotional misery: "Been Around The World" (I really like the arrangement here, that retro-pop feel a la THE JACKSON 5) and "Over Easy". Then there's the charming concluding piece, -"You Can't Lose Me", that makes me hang around town with these guys for a lot longer than just a casual joyride:

1. From The Damage
2. These Are The Days
3. I Only Dance With You
4. Favorite Girl
5. I Showed Her
6. Been Around The World
7. Make Her Say
8. The Joint
9. Suddenly
10. Craving
11. Over Easy
12. Girl Like That
13. You Can't Lose Me

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