Nickelodeon band Big Time Rush is slated to release their second album, “Elevate.”
I’ll be honest. Last year, Big Time Rush was a guilty pleasure for me. But with “Elevate,” they’ll no longer a guilty pleasure. Their songs are actually pretty good. With the guys writing 8 of the 12 tracks, BTR deserves a big pat on the back for creating an album of radio-friendly hits and club-banging tunes.
The album kicks off with the first single, “Music Sounds Better With You,” featuring rapper Mann. The track perfectly sums up who BTR is in this new album–more mature (first curse word!), and hotter (this album is all about love). The song, written by OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder, is kind of corny, but it has a great beat and their voices go past the generic boy band sound.
In “Show Me,” (also sung by fellow Nick star Keke Palmer) the boys turn the heat up with more mature lyrics and sensual vocals.
I touch your skin, you’re trembling
It’s in your eyes, you’re here to win
So let the game, the game begin
I want to see you
telling me that you got what I need
“All Over Again” is a cool ballad with cute lyrics about falling in love all over again. That said, the band kind of ruins the romantic mood with supposed dance instructions about moving to the left, right, back, and side (too generic; not feeling it).
“No Idea” features the chorus from an All Time Low song of the same name. While it’s arguable which band sang the song better, you can admit that BTR did a good job of making it into a kid-friendly R&B track. Their harmony during the chorus may not have the same back-tingling effect as ATL’s, but it fits their bubblegum pop sound.
In “Cover Girl,” BTR proves that they have actual musical talent (besides vocal talent). The song is heavy on acoustic guitars, which begs for the song to be over-covered by wannabe acoustic artists. The lyrics deal with the female self-consciousness,like Hollywood Ending’s “You Got Me” or One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful.” While some of the lines are corny, the boys try not to sacrifice meaningful words for cheap rhymes:
I don’t know why you always get so insecure
I wish you could see what I see when you’re looking in the mirror
And why won’t you believe me when I say
That, to me, you get more beautiful every day
Certified club-banger goes to “Love Me Love Me.” It’s a fast-paced, beat-heavy track that begs to be performed with an epic light show. The band has dubstep and hip-hop influences in the song, making it a versatile song. In their previously released single, “If I Ruled The World,” the band recruits pop singer Iyaz to add to the island sound the song has. The song is very happy-go-lucky and free, telling listeners to “get up…out of [their] seats, kick off [their] shoes like [they're] down at the beach.” The chorus is repetitive and infectious, which for their typical tween audience is perfect.
In “Invisible,” the band tries to create Nickelodeon’s version of Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful.” The lyrics are similar to those of “Cover Girl,” with the guys singing about how a girl is more beautiful than everyone else in the city.
“Time Of Our Life” opens with a funky guitar riff, which is carried throughout the track. If you can’t get over the cheesy lyrics (they actually use the phrase “fly”; and they’re not talking about planes…), you have to admit that the beat of this song is on point. Parents of BTR fans may appreciate the throwback funk sound, as younger people may just squeal over the fact that BTR wants to party all night. “Superstar” continues the dance-y vibe. Again, the lyrics are more kid-friendly, but they gain some measure of coolness with the lyrics in the chorus:
You wanna wile out, then wile out
All eyes on you
It’s going down, down, right now
You can’t lose
You gonna wile out, then wile out
That’s what you do
Talk of the town, now
And you already know that you’re a star
“You’re Not Alone” will give you that warm, fuzzy feeling that…you’re not alone. The band also makes use of James Maslow’s ability to wail in the song.
The album closes out with the titular track, “Elevate.” The track features gang vocals in the chorus, sick beats in the bridge, and a hint of island flavor (seriously, remove the heart-pounding beats, and you’ve got “If I Ruled The World, Part 2″).
The band has definitely elevated themselves since their last album, especially considering that they were creatively involved with most of the songs in this album. Their songs tend to stray away from the cliché tween-friendly music; it actually works for older people. It helps that they worked with music legends like Ryan Tedder, The-Dream, Mann, and JR Rotem.
Do you think this album will elevate the band a little higher on the charts?