was is a boy-band from the early aughts formed over the course of a reality competition show. They had a hit or two with some perfectly boy-band songs like, “Liquid Dreams,” “All or Nothing,” and, depending on what you call a hit, “We Fit Together.”
I remember O-Town. From watching Making the Band weekly and rooting for my favorites to working through the feels when Ashley Parker Angel left the group.
I also remember standing in my college dorm room and watching a friend hop onto my bed causing my O-Town, self-titled debut album on (very delicate and not scratch-resistant) CD to slide, in slow- motion, toward the floor where it cracked. I was genuinely upset. Not in tears, but sad all the same.
I told my acquaintance and new dorm-mate, Cindy, about the devastation I’d just experienced. She replied brightly, “The first one? You can borrow mine!”
We’ve been best friends ever since. Literally. She was in my wedding.
Boy-Bands made music that was sexy, but not too sexy, provocative but almost subtle, upbeat even in the bleakest situations and just good clean fun. O-Town isn’t just music I’m a fan of; O-Town is a feeling I love.
I love that O-Town represents and revives and time when we can revel in being unabashedly corny and lighthearted.
The most recent O-Town Concert I went to was on a Tuesday night in a weird arts studio space. The venue was not only BYOB, attendees were also allowed to bring their own food, and find their own seats (which were a combination of pews attached to the floor and stackable plastic-metal chairs).
The opening act was a super-local group of teenage girls, 3D, with what I remember as black and pink satin track suits. They sung about adult themes, as any good pop group does. They danced in unison and took their roles and hype-women VERY seriously (t-shirts were awarded to the loudest woo-hooers).
THEN, Ryan Cabrera. took the stage. Yes, that Ryan Cabrera: the hair that dated Ashlee Simpson and played guitar on her couch during her reality show, The Ashlee Simpson Show (2004–05). Everyone knows, “On the Way Down,” even if you swear you don’t or wish you didn’t. His hair might’ve gotten bigger with time and he has more tattoos– during his set, he joked he’s going to get an O-Twon tattoo in honor of a fond memory of an inside joke from the My2K tour (also on that tour was 98 degrees). Jacob, from O-Town, swears he’s going to get a tattoo of just Ryan’s hair.
O-Town, Ryan Cabrera, and some amateur girl group are the fully-self aware aughts nostalgia and 21+ Tiger Beat we came for.
I’m strongly encouraging and advocating for never growing out to the things that make you happy3
I’ve been living a happier life since realizing being an adult means people can’t tell me what to do and how to act and what to like –laws, however, laws still throw their weight around. People, they can just judge me. Is the judgment of others in some way worse than the feeling I get when I get to an O-Town concert is amazing? That is, do I care so much what people will think about what makes me happy that I’d rather not be happy? Fuck no.
I realized when I was watching O-Town perform “Skydive,” one of my new favorite songs by the group that I’d never heard that song before my first concert in 2014. 2014 was when O-Town decided to live happily ever after. They’re on tiny stages that don’t even have a “backstage,” getting handed Smirnoff Ice from audience members and laughing at their campy roots.
“This is a song about Friendship,” Trevor said, introducing Liquid Dreams at the Allston show. “What’s the dirtiest song you know?” Eric asked the crowd before the song at the most recent show.
Today, when I was looking for my O-Town playlist to listen to while I write this, I kept seeing a weird album cover I didn’t recognize.
Eventually, I realized this was the cover of their newest album that was just released today (August 4, 2017)! I felt proud because I realized how hard it is to not only be humble but to also be happy.
Oddly, I felt proud because I realized how rare it is to not only be genuinely humble but to also be genuinely happy.
O-Town‘s new album is titled Part 1 and is currently on sale for the cost of about a coffee and-a-half (I should spend way less money on coffee).
The preceding album Lines & Circles featured such bangers as:
- Skydive (not at all a banger as much as it is a ballad)
- (the traditionally poppy) Chasin’ After You and Right Kind of Wrong,
- and the more modern titular (I just love getting to use that word– tee hee) Lines & Circles.
If you’re not ready to sing along at the top of your lungs in a dive bar in a city near you that you’re only vaguely familiar with, then check O-Town out online. Give them a listen in your car. In Massachusetts, if the only thing I can notice you’re doing in your car while we’re stuck in traffic is singing at the top to your lungs, I love you and I thank you.
- Aug 14, 2016, House of Blues Boston Boston, MA and Jan 13, 2016, Brighton Music Hall Allston, MA and Nov 10, 2014, Paradise Rock Club ↩
- line-up: Sugar Ray, Everclear, Lit, and Sponge ↩
“Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t kill their husbands. They just don’t.”
– Elle Woods from “Legally Blonde”