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Why Don’t We Tries to Compete in ‘The Good Times and the Bad Ones’
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Why Don’t We Tries to Compete in ‘The Good Times and the Bad Ones’ 

The five-member boy band fights for their seat at the (mainstream pop) table with their second LP

Just like what the title suggests, lately it has been both good times and bad times for all boy bands across the continent. For one thing, boy bands are no longer a bubble stock which would most likely end up a laughable memory in years to come. Thanks to One Direction and boy band-turned-man band Jonas Brothers, boy bands have come a long way to earn their overdue credibility. However, the presence of world juggernauts such as BTS, EXO, and 5 Seconds of Summer might guarantee more challenges than opportunities for up-and-comers. It’s no longer the matter of how to score a break, but how to score a victory lap.

Why Don’t We’s second LP ‘The Good Times and the Bad Ones’ feels more like a battle cry for resistance as opposed to a typical follow-up. The boys show up with guns blazing from the very first track. The opener “Fallin’ (Adrenaline)” kicks off with thunderous drums, arena rock vibes, and “brooding boy in love” lyrics which should be flirty enough for present and new teen girl fan base. It is followed with “Slow Down” which recalls past surf rock delight of Sugar Ray with guitar riff reminiscent of the early works of John Mayer. The first two tracks have made it clear: Why Don’t We hungers for a seat at the (mainstream pop) table. The album might sound formulaic (and it does), but they follow the pop formula with near-perfect execution.

What is relatively a brief catalog is mostly dominated with teen pop rock with a couple of twists. Why Don’t We slows down their tempo with “Lotus Inn”, “Be Myself”, and “Love Song”. The album centerpiece is most definitely “Grey”, the longest track of the album which presents the five boys at their most emotive. Regardless of the single-ready “Fallin’ (Adrenaline)” and “Slow Down”, the highest praise should be reserved for this particular ballad.

Afterwards, it’s Why Don’t We entering new sonic territory with chill lo-fi “For You”, indietronica “I’ll Be Okay”, and Billie Eilish-esque “Look at Me” (the track’s construction does recall the one of Eilish’s “Bad Guy”). It’s acceptable for an artist to follow what is fashionable as long as they unabashedly own up such move. Ultimately, the boy band which was formed merely four years ago closes this next chapter by returning to their wholesome pop roots (“Stay”).

Overall, ‘The Good Times and the Bad Ones’ can be considered an impressive personal best. It proves to be much more intriguing than their first body of work (‘8 Letters’, 2018). Furthermore, a specific appreciation should be noted for Daniel Seavey who shows potential both as a vocalist and as a budding producer. Unfortunately, we have to go full circle on this record. Is this ‘personal best’ enough to have Why Don’t We compete with those boy band juggernauts? Is this the start of their good times or, God forbid, their actual bad ones?

IN A NUTSHELL:
+ ‘The Good Times and the Bad Ones’ showcases creative ventures for Why Don’t We with unabashedly single-ready tracks
– It is still up for question whether this album will finally put Why Don’t We on a global music map

RECOMMENDED TRACKS:
“Fallin’ (Adrenaline)”, “Slow Down”, “Grey”

ABOUT THE WRITER

Felix Martua is a writer, editor, traveler, curator, and cataloger for music, entertainment, and all things pop culture. He can be reached at felix.martua@yahoo.com

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