POP RESCUE: ‘O-Town’ by O-Town (CD, 2001)


Today’s POP RESCUE is the 13 track 2001 debut album O-Town by the MTV Making The Band series constructed five-piece boy band O-Town.

O-Town - O-Town (2001) albumI had to admit that I chuckled as I picked this one up in a mixture of ‘just don’t’ and ‘I dare you to’ purchasing decisions. For the cost of blowing £1 on something that I secretly hope is as bad as it looks, I felt it was worth it.

So, here we go…

Timpani introduce hit single Liquid Dreams before the loved-up vocals come in, and the pop star name-checking starts. It’s pretty inoffensive, although those names will date this song somewhat.

Next up is Every Six Seconds embraces some rock guitars, giving this track a bit of an edge, although their vocals are too high to really fit in a rock song.

Next up is a smooth sounding RnB number titled Girl. Imagine how many times you could say the word ‘girl’ in the space of 3:37. Now double it. This track reminds me of something that you’d find on Craig David‘s Born To Do It album from the previous year.

Having spotted the Craig David similarity, that continues into Sexiest Woman Alive. ‘I’m about to make you my wifey. WIFEY!’ they sing. Wow. This track is awful. These guys wanna get wit you reeeal bad.

Track five is the guitar led track Love Should Be A Crime, which is actually rather good, but it really jars with the rest of the tracks here. This song failed to chart in their native US, but did hit the top 40 in the UK when it was released as the 4th and final single from the album. It is *almost* Ocean Colour Scene.

Following this is Shy Girl, which sounds a bit B*Witched at times (albeit gender swapped). The chorus isn’t bad, but the verses are pretty dull. It reminds me of the kind of bland incidental music you’d hear playing in the background of a scene in the coffee shop in the soap Neighbours.

Second single All Or Nothing is up next, opening with some welcome piano and a gentle vocals. This is a fairly standard ballad and it starts off pretty okay. But, as destiny dictates – it’s the kind I’d expect to find a music reality series band/artist get stuck with. This is completely the kind of song I’d expect to find on the Michelle McManus debut album. Perhaps it was – i fell into a coma listening to it. It comes complete with key change moment towards the end. Nauseating.

Sensitive feels like a Destiny’s Child or Mis-Teeq track. It’s just awful with these men’s vocals on it.

The next track is down-beat and reminisces over the jobs that the band should have done instead of making records – The Painter. ‘So i’ll try and find a melody as beautiful as you’. Seemingly they didn’t. Oddly, Plumber and Cleaner don’t get a mention.

Returning to a Craig David/Backstreet Boys sound, Take Me Under this is just a boring song about becoming unconscious, with a lot of huff-puffing from someone at the back of the studio. Sadly, i listened to it all.

Thankfully All For Love comes along, and it’s much more upbeat and memorable. This is probably as close as they’ve been so far to Backstreet Boys. I could imagine this one being a single – although Billie Piper or Britney Spears could have easily have taken this one on.

Penultimate track Baby I Would is a rockier ballad, and of course, comes with the obligatory key change. For the US editions of this album, it was the final track. Europe was lucky enough to get their debut single glued onto the end. As a final album track, it works okay, although it feels like it takes ages to end.

Closing track is We Fit Together and this one actually has a bassline, and comes with acoustic guitar, and some nice vocals too. This was the group’s third single, but it almost feels like it’s a different group completely. If hearing this track caused you to buy the album, then I think you’d have been disappointed.

This feels like a cheap hybrid of Backstreet Boys, 5ive and NSYNC, mixed with Craig David and a bag of pop weasels. And the album artwork is a bit Powerpoint.

Out of the 13 tracks, I think there’s 4 that i could possibly suffer hearing once more.

Where are O-Town now?

O-Town have changed their line-up slightly, but the group continue touring.

After this debut album, they released one further one O2 before a hiatus due to a split in about 2003. A new album has been poised for a 2014 release. I can only hope they’ve grown up a bit, and strayed from this manufactured style.

POP RESCUE O-TOWN rating:

  • POP RESCUE 2014 RATING: 1 / 5 Love Should Be A Crime alone earned it that.
  • 2001 UK CHART POSITION: #7
  • POP RESCUE COST: £1.00 from a Poundland store.

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