With reunions of popular music groups being on the rise, it makes sense that next generation boy band, O-Town, would strike while the iron is hot. Originally brought together on a reality series and under the management of former head music honcho Lou Pearlman, the then-quintet released two albums before splitting up in late 2003, only three years after their debut. Rumors of regrouping were brought up for years, but it was not until 2011 that they came to fruition, minus the inclusion of one of their original band mates, Ashley Parker Angel. On June 19, the group released their first music video in over a decade for the ballad, Skydive.
Released in May, Skydive brings the popular group back to form with something slightly different. Rather than attempt to rejoin the music fold with something upbeat, the track shows off the side that many mostly recall through one of their most known ballads, All or Nothing. Member Trevor Penick calls the song “dramatic” and expressed that all of his band mates (which include Erik-Michael Estrada, Jacob Underwood and Dan Miller) have a moment to shine.
He explained to Billboard that the track starts off very simple with just vocals and a piano, before being joined by “a seventy-piece orchestra, and all four of us belting it out in 4-part harmony.”
The song is the lead single from their upcoming album, Lines and Circles. Scheduled for an August release, it is the follow-up to O2, their second album released back in 2002. Currently, they are touring Europe in support of Skydive and the album, with plans to return to America in the coming months. The boys are still just as talented as they ever were, but some things have changed over time.
“Last time, we were always partying,” Penick relayed to the Daily Star. “We didn’t get to see all the countries we visited before, so we want to get to know them now.”
It has been a hard road for O-Town to kick things back into gear. Their former manager, Pearlman, is currently in prison after a long-lasting money laundering scheme was finally uncovered. Many will recall that the music groups that Pearlman created and managed, such as the Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC and O-Town, were cheated out of millions of dollars. Some even took him to court in order to have shoddy contract deals rescinded. In an episode of the second season of Making the Band; the show that produced the creation of O-Town, the group found out first hand that Pearlman was not the fatherly figure he once portrayed himself to be.
This time around, things are different. Underwood is currently in charge of the group’s finances. Estrada was the one who came up with the title, Lines and Circles, for their album. O-Town are calling the shots themselves. One thing that is not that different, however, a rabid female fan base.
“There’s always groupies, they’re everywhere,” Miller said to the Daily Star. “[They’re] like palm trees.”
Also part of the change is the fact that Ashley Parker Angel, once a popular member of the group, has decided not to join the ride this time around. All five remain close and have no hard feelings, but Miller admits that all decisions are now “a two-two split, while back then we had a majority.”
Overall, O-Town seems to love the way things are going. The reunion was only meant to be a fun, but small tour; a proper “thank you” to the fans who stood by them so long after their split. However, Underwood admits that the connection between he and the other members was too strong to ignore.
“Once we began working, what developed was something a little more ambitious,” he said to Billboard. “The ideas kept flying and we couldn’t help but start making new music.” O-Town’s new album, Line and Circles will be released on August 3. The first single, Skydive, will be available for download via iTunes on July 27.
By Jonathan Brown