I began thinking that my boyband posts have become too video-centered and I haven't been writing enough so no videos or nothing on this post, I'll just write and write and write.
After listening to tons of boyband albums, I'd like to think that I know a thing or two about what makes the perfect boyband album. Whether I like the songs or not, there's always a formula for boyband albums, a formula that has worked for everyone from the most successful bands to the most obscure ones.
So I'll use two model albums for this post, just to see that everyone uses the same formula. The two boyband albums that best represent the formula are Westlife's Coast To Coast and The Backstreet Boys' Black and Blue, both released in 2000.
Element number one, a sappy semi-ballad/ballad. Since boybands have millions of girls swooning over them, why not cash in on that? These are the types of songs that when fans listen to them, they think their favorite member's singing to them. I call it a 'I wanna marry you' boyband song, mainly because it keeps girls wanting to and daydreaming about marry them. On Coast to Coast there are a few, but the two that really represent this kind of song is Puzzle of My Heart and Close. On Black and Blue there are a few as well but it's Shape of My Heart and Yes I Will.
Then there are the super ballads. If the semi-ballads keep girls swooning, the super ballads make them cry. If the album was a concert, they'd sing these last and the fans will start bursting into tears. You need these types of songs on a boyband album so fans can say that they experienced every emotion possible when they listened to your albums(haha..). On Coast to Coast the two super ballads are Angel's Wings and Fragile Heart and on Black and Blue it's I Promise You(With Everything I Am) and How Did I Fall In Love With You.
Of course you've got to have the midtempos. Those are the songs that have dance routines when they sing it live but don't qualify as uptempos. They're almost always melodic, mainly because they aren't uptempos(although a lot of uptempo boyband stuff have melodies!) and these are the songs that justify whether and boyband can sing AND dance. On Coast to Coast they were Dreams Come True and Somebody Needs You and on Black and Blue they were The Call and Shining Star.
I talked about the uptempos and how they sometimes don't have melodies but most of the time they still do. These uptempos are the songs with really intricate dance routines and entire productions dedicated to them, with backup dancers and pyrotechnics and everything, it's the show part of the concert. It's not designed to show the audience that the boyband in question can sing, it's designed to show that they can dance because whether we like it or not, boybands are expected to nail at least one difficult dance routine in their often times short life spans. On Coast to Coast it's When You're Looking Like That(the recorded version is a bit slow, but they speed it up a bit live.. in the early days the dance routine for this was difficult for their standards but not it's kind of reduced to a bit of running around and swinging the mic stand..) and on Black and Blue it's Get Another Boyfriend.
If you have midtempos you have the songs verging on being midtempos but are still kind of ballads. It's like this, if you change the arrangement a bit and make it a ballad, nothing much changes. The dance routine for these songs is optional, you can have them just walking around the stage maybe. On Coast to Coast it was I Lay My Love On You and on Black and Blue it was The Answer to Our Life.
The following elements aren't always on boyband albums, but I've seen a few with them.
The mandatory cover version. Some boyband albums have them, Westlife always have a few, A1 had Take On Me and Another Level had Freak Me. Sometimes fans like certain songs so to hear their favorite band singing their favorite song is kind of a plus point for them. haha. On Coast to Coast the covers were Against All Odds, I Have A Dream and No Place That Far.
I've seen quite a number of duets as well. I don't know what it is with duets but quite a number of boyband albums have them as well. I think it's got something to do with the bigger artist having a hand in launching the newer artist, I've heard that theory before. On Coast to Coast the duet was with Mariah Carey, Against All Odds.
If boybands don't write their own songs or if one member doesn't mastermind the whole thing, there's always at least one song written by a number of the members or the whole band. It's something about boybands wanting more creative control over what they're doing so I guess their record companies gave them a few songs. On Coast to Coast Shane and Brian wrote Angel's Wings and on Black and Blue the whole band wrote Time(which is an amazing song, to tell you the truth..) and The Answer To Our Life. Strangely enough, all those songs aren't uptempos!
Have I forgotten anything? haha.. Just leave a comment!