Big Time Rush is back, and having seen them live back in 2012 (yes, I was and still am a Rusher), the 12-year-old girl inside of me is screaming.
The Nickelodeon boy band announced the news of a Big Time Rush reunion on their official Twitter account on July 19 along with a teaser video of the four boys, writing, “WE ARE BACK! It’s been a minute, but we couldn’t be more excited to see you! [Let’s] make up for lost time.” The band will be playing two live shows in December, with one in Chicago on December 15 and one in New York City on December 18 (so who wants to buy me a ticket?).
The two-minute-long teaser video accompanying the announcement shows where each singer is now: Kendall is backpacking through the woods, James is working on a car, Carlos is playing with his two kids, and Logan is allegedly still working on his PhD… but the camera then pans to him actually playing the surgery game Operation. At one point, the deep-voiced narrator even dramatically declares that “the world needs Big Time Rush.”
And honestly, I couldn’t agree more. After a year like 2020, I think the world could use — no, needs — a little injection of boy band. Where did all the boy bands go, anyway?
Think about it. One Direction is long gone. The Jonas Brothers are touring in 2021 but are mostly all off doing their own thing. 5 Seconds of Summer is still together but their music isn’t nearly as much of a hit as it was a few years ago, and the Backstreet Boys almost broke up but then allegedly stayed together thanks to a heart to heart “therapy session” — yet haven’t released any new music since 2019.
And although BTS is incredibly successful in North America as well as across the globe, what other major boy bands are there? What happened to the golden era of the boy band?
It turns out that I’m not the only person wondering about it. In a Reddit thread dedicated to contemplating the extinction of the boy band, one user wrote, “Boy bands and girl groups are just generally seen as being too manufactured and inauthentic for the North American market. There’s a lot of emphasis put on authenticity, or at least the illusion of authenticity, and every fiber of these groups goes against that.” Okay, but can I once again mention BTS, who has been accused of being “manufactured” but is arguably the world’s biggest boy band and is the third group in 50 years to have three number one albums on the Billboard 200 charts in less than 12 months?
Another wrote, “[Boy bands] have a limited shelf life. They can only last till their fans age out and can’t replace them. Then for a while they’re detested because all things popular with preteen girls are, until it’s been long enough that people forget to be disgusted by them and find the concept nostalgic. Then the cycle repeats.”
Okay, I feel attacked.
Boy bands may have a “limited shelf life,” but so far, 2021 has been all about nostalgia. Y2K fashion trends are coming back, people are rewatching their favorite ‘90s and early 2000s sitcoms and television shows, and popular childhood Gen Z shows are even getting their own reboots, like the recent iCarly reboot. So it would make sense that music would follow suit. And the boy band comeback has already proven to work, at least temporarily: when the Jonas Brothers reunited in 2019, their hit song “Sucker” was the number one radio song of that year.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, nostalgia also hugely appeals to younger audiences like Gen Z, and especially those “going through a time of intense transition” — like a year and a half long pandemic, maybe? There is something comforting about somehow remembering all the lyrics to “Boyfriend” and “Worldwide” after all of these years and reminiscing about watching episode after episode of the comedic Nickelodeon show after school, when times were so much simpler.
So if you ask me, Big Time Rush’s comeback will be a big time success.