Why Did It Take 16 Years For Another Boy Band to Hit No. 1 on the Hot 100?


Buried throughout the information that the Jonas Brothers had managed a triumphant bow at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 this week with their reunion single "Sucker" — a historic event for quite a few causes — was a revelation that took many pop followers without warning: The track was the primary No. 1 hit from a boy band on the chart since B2K's P. Diddy-assisted "Bump, Bump, Bump" in 2003. 

That's a very long time. Now, 2003 got here after many of the profitable TRL-era boy bands had been already previous their prime, so maybe it's not terribly stunning that not one of the Backstreet Boys/*NSYNC class of teams have topped the chart since. But that timespan nonetheless covers a major variety of main boy bands of the 21st century — together with One Direction, The Wanted, 5 Seconds of Summer, BTS and, in fact, the Jonas Brothers throughout their authentic run. Considering the variety of iconic pop tracks these teams have been accountable for over the lest decade and a half or so, it's fairly jarring to listen to that not a single one among them went to No. 1. 

The easiest clarification for that is one which may really feel equally counter-intuitive for pop obsessives: Radio hasn't actually been all that into boy bands this century. There are exceptions, positive, and a handful of singles from these aforementioned teams have managed to interrupt by means of — One Direction scored a pair of No. 5 hits on Billboard's Radio Songs chart with 2012's "What Makes You Beautiful" and 2014's "Story of My Life," whereas The Wanted and 5 Seconds of Summer have scored a No. 2 hit every on that itemizing with 2012's "Glad You Came" and 2018's "Youngblood," respectively. But these are the one songs from the 5 teams mixed to make the Radio Songs prime 10, and not one of the teams apart from One Direction have even charted one other prime 40 hit there. With its No. 46 debut this week, "Sucker" is already the Jonas Brothers' greatest Radio Songs hit. BTS has by no means made the chart. 

Without constant radio help, it's been laborious for these teams to mount an actual cost on the prime spot of the Hot 100. At the height of the iTunes period within the mid-to-late '00s, the Jonas Brothers offered about as persistently properly as any main pop artist, scoring 5 prime 5 hits on Digital Song Sales — however streaming wasn't but a part of Hot 100 calculations on a serious scale, and radio play wasn't sufficient to get the group previous No. 5 on the Hot 100 ("Burnin' Up," 2008). 5 Seconds of Summer's early chart success broke down equally; throughout the group's first two albums, six tracks charted on the highest 10 of Digital Song Sales, however radio presence was minimal, leading to none of these best-sellers making it previous No. 16 on the Hot 100 ("Amnesia," 2014). 

Why has radio been so reluctant to embrace these teams' singles? It may have one thing to do with them being out of step with overarching traits in pop music basically. Savan Kotceha, co-writer of One Direction's breakthrough hit "What Makes You Beautiful," as soon as talked to Billboard about devising boy band hits to function "counter-programming" to what else is occurring on radio at the moment. "You do the precise reverse of what's happening," he defined of his unified boy band concept. "Because to me, I really feel like teenage women have to really feel it's their very own factor. If you're simply making an attempt to be Usher, they'll simply purchase Usher." 

That concept may clarify why One Direction thrived with throwback power-pop because the early-'10s charts pulsated with big-tent EDM and tonight's-the-night celebration rap, or why the Jonas Brothers discovered success with a sprightly, PG-rated type of pop-punk within the mid-to-late '00s, when the Hot 100 was dominated by midtempo balladry and Auto-Tuned hip-hop. But it additionally may clarify why most of the greatest hits by each teams by no means actually discovered their footing on radio: It was laborious to fit an infectious arena-rock singalong like "Best Song Ever" in prime 40 playlists alongside Calvin Harris and Pitbull, similar to it was robust for a guitar-driven new wave nugget just like the Jonas' "S.O.S." to seek out room in between hits by Chris Brown and Nelly Furtado. Tellingly, the 2 greatest radio hits for boy bands of this era had been way more consistent with up to date radio traits: the dance-floor-geared hedonism of The Wanted's "Glad You Came" in 2012, and the melancholy, '80s-flavored chug of 5 Seconds of Summer's "Youngblood" final 12 months. 

The instance of 5 Seconds of Summer — which in contrast to the JoBros of their first incarnation, does overlap with the period of streaming becoming a member of the Hot 100's knowledge combine — can also be illustrative of boy bands not essentially having streaming success commiserate with their cultural affect, both. While radio lastly did embrace 5SOS on "Youngblood," the streaming world by no means fairly caught up: the observe stalled at No. 25 on Billboard's Streaming Songs tally, and thus managed a No. 7 peak on the Hot 100. One Direction managed extra success on streaming throughout their run, with three Streaming Songs prime 5 hits, together with a No. 2 peak for 'Best Song Ever" (which additionally ended up the highest-charting boy band Hot 100 hit of this pre-"Sucker" interval, reaching No. 2 on that chart) — however the group's greatest radio hits and largest streaming hits usually didn’t match. (Notably, "What Makes You Beautiful" did attain No. four on the On-Demand Streaming Songs chart earlier than the general Streaming Songs chart's debut the following 12 months.)

Ultimately, it took till "Sucker" for all of the components to correctly line up for a Hot 100-topper: The track debuted at No. 1 on each Digital Song Sales and Streaming Songs, and is already making an affect on the airwaves. The clarification there would possibly simply be a mixture of track and good timing — after a six-year absence, the Jonas Brothers seem to have chosen the precise proper second to return, as "Sucker" has not solely blasted to the highest of the charts, however reignited huge curiosity of their again catalog: The day of their comeback single dropped, it was one among 5 JoBros singles to seem in the daily Spotify U.S. Top 200 chart. It appears that for arguably the primary time, there's room for boy bands in each the radio and streaming worlds — and whereas it could be an unrepeatable fluke, it wouldn't be an enormous shock to see some extra boy band reunions come out of the woodwork briefly order to see if the general public shall be suckers for them, too.