The American boy band Why Don’t We has recently made a comeback after a nine month break with their new single “Fallin”. However, this new single has something noticeably different from their previous singles and album. This song is almost edgier, which is reflected in the music video that features a mainly black color palette. Even though there has only been one new single released for the new era, it looks like this new era is darker, with a little bit more rock influence than their previous music. However, Why Don’t We isn’t the first boyband to put more edge in their music and to explore rock influences, perhaps this is just a smaller part in the shift of the typical boy band sound and look.
There are other boy bands that have followed the path mentioned of adding edge to their music and turning away from the pop music typically associated with boy bands of the late 90s and 2000s. This can be seen in groups like One Direction and 5 Seconds of Summer as well. While One Direction never took on the dark color palette, their music over the years changed from radio pop to a more pop with rock influences. As seen in their songs Temporary Fix and Stockholm Syndrome, the “boy band sound” is changing as both the members and audience gets older. 5 Seconds of Summer made a little bit of a different change, but their newer music still falls into the new “boy band sound”. They started out with a power pop sound and have transitioned to an edgy pop sound that is clearly shaped by their early rock influences.
The previous two bands, One Direction and 5 Seconds of Summer, have gained massive audiences with their sound, and if Why Don’t We continues with this sound, those large audiences could be in store for them as well. As the main audience of the boy band grows and changes, so does their music and the way their music sounds.
However, the edgy pop boy band is not the only change in the industry. The rise of K-pop has introduced the mega group, a large group that mixes languages and genres. K-pop groups have rapidly risen over the years, transcending Korea and making their debut on American music award shows and the American song charts too.
The typical K-pop mixes pop, rap, dance and they are never without tons of energy. Their fans are known for being some of the most dedicated fans in the world. Although they may more closely resemble the boy bands of the late 90s and early 2000’s in terms of music style they are bringing a more diverse sound, showing the world music beyond the typical Western boy band sound.
These two new styles of boy band show that music typically catered towards a teen female audience can also evolve and change. Their main audience are changing their music taste, becoming interested in different things, and getting more connected with each other. The edgy influence might be a reflection of those changes in their fan base, or perhaps the typical pop sound is changing to become darker, edgier and more rock influenced.