Taken from this week’s Future Pop mailer. Click here to subscribe.
Labels are so wary of the cost of a major pop launch these days, that they are rare treats for us who love to follow their every twist and turn. That’s why I’m excitedly tracking Syco/Columbia’s new US boyband Pretty Much, who I first featured last month. At the time they didn’t have any music online but I was expecting it to be very current, cool and upbeat, like a boyband version of post-2015 Justin Bieber. I also assumed the aim was to create a modern, updated version of the American boybands that have been most successful in the past, Backstreet Boys and *N Sync. What I did not expect was for their debut single to actually sound like an early release by one of those groups. In fact, it could even be compared to their predecessor, New Kids on the Block. Would You Mind is a 90s-style boyband track that could even be called “dated,” yet everything else about this campaign is smart and innovative. I love the ethnic diversity in the casting, the social media posts which are fun without trying too hard, and the clever marketing tricks such as this dance video posted by a big YouTuber on the single release day. They’ve clearly got Spotify on board, as they were top of last week’s New Music Friday despite very little prior hype. The single certainly is poptastic (thanks to Savan Kotecha and his brilliant team, including Max Martin on keyboards!) but it’s a brave move to take this direction when it’s so far from the tastes of a teen pop fan today. Are Pretty Much good enough to change those tastes? I wouldn’t bet against them.