Clad in leather and cutoff denim, the sweaty band looked out at the screaming Austin crowd and stated simply, “Boys Like Girls is back.”
Initially, the power-pop fellows compared themselves to the music greats they toured with. They made a name for themselves with “Hero/Heroine” from their debut, self-titled album and later went on to share a stage with LMFAO, Cute is What We Aim For, Hit the Lights, and other chart-toppers. With this exposure, Boys Like Girls received more attention for their second work, Love Drunk (2009), which produced multiple successful singles.
Now, three long years later, the band has nearly disappeared from the music scene, and its music no longer goes hand-in-tattooed-hand with head banging or fist-pumping.
Instead, the group has adopted a fresh, more relaxed sound that audiences might not expect. Even so, as lead singer Martin Johnson hashtagged on Twitter, #BoysLikeGirlsIsBack.
After the lengthy hiatus, the Massachusetts-born quartet released its third album, Crazy World Dec. 11. The 11 tracks by Columbia Records are still considered part of the pop punk genre, but the new sound unfortunately resembles a ’90s alternative rock band rather than All Time Low or The All-American Rejects as the label suggests.
Despite the changes in rhythm and beat, Johnson and friends have kept their songwriting intact. Still, the foursome has unfortunately lost a lot of their edge during the musical hibernation.
What sets this album apart lies in the windpipes of Johnson. His voice has improved with age and experience, and his tenor sounds better than ever in Crazy World.
The 2009 Billboard hit, “Two is Better Than One,” may have met its match with “Be Your Everything.” This track received immediate positive feedback when fans had the chance to stream the heartfelt beat online before the record was released.
Though the tune lacks the star power Swift provided in the old duet, the new jam seems less sappy and more like a genuine love ballad.
BLG also picks up a banjo or two, giving songs like “Shoot” a country vibe. A harmonica even accompanies “Crazy World,” incorporating more of the western style into the project as a whole.
“Red Cup” channels some of Boys Like Girls’ youthful energy and gives fans a blast from the past, a reminder ofwhat the old band sounded like. This nostalgic track stands out as one of the few upbeat tracks on an otherwise leisurely and pleasant piece of music.
Johnson penned some of his best work in “Hey You,” which completes the album and makes critics forget about the previous flaws.
“Life of the Party” shows off the skills of guitarists Morgan Dorr and Paul DiGiovanni, making the simple lyrics come to life for a successful summery tune.
The new Boys Like Girls may lose fans because of the changes its members have made. But new genres explored in the latest album could give the band a reappearance on the charts in a way it hasn’t before. Furthermore, almost every track has the potential of becoming a regular on the radio. But were the guys a few years too late?
Gone are those sweaty bangs and black clothing. In their place, an honest comeback arises in BLG’s Crazy World. In fact, Boys Like Girls may be back, ya’ll.