(Photo courtesy of: People) “Big Time Rush reunited in 2021 after a seven-year hiatus and released their first album in a decade this year.”
Over a decade after the release of their last album, boy band Big Time Rush has returned with “Another Life”, which perfectly updates their sound to fit in with the music scene of 2023.
Originally formed by Nickelodeon to star in the television series of the same name, Big Time Rush consists of Kendall Schmidt, James Maslow, Carlos PenaVega and Logan Henderson. While “Another Life” was initially released in June, the band released a deluxe edition, complete with five new songs, on Nov. 10.
After going on hiatus in 2014, the members of the group focused on individual projects. Schmidt returned to his pre-Nick group, Heffron Drive, while Maslow and Henderson each released solo music under their own names. PenaVega released two songs and acted, but his main focus during the hiatus was on his children, whom he shares with his wife, Alexa PenaVega.
In 2020, the group virtually reunited for acoustic performances of their songs “Worldwide” and “Beautiful Christmas” as a way to connect with fans during the pandemic. The following year, they officially announced their reunion as Big Time Rush and spent the summer of 2022 on their Forever Tour while also recording new material.
“Another Life” opens strong with the lead single, “Can’t Get Enough”, which sounds as if Big Time Rush put one of their songs from 2011 in a vault and then touched it up a decade later. This theme runs throughout the rest of the album, which sees an update to the classic Big Time Rush sound. It is clear that the band is aware that their fanbase has aged a decade with them, and they are working to keep up with them.
This is especially clear on “Weekends”, which features an incredibly catchy hook, and is sung primarily by PenaVega. A common theme of the group’s post-reunion work is giving more opportunities for vocals to Henderson and PenaVega, who have incredible voices but were not always allowed to shine on earlier albums.
The album’s highest point comes in the form of “Ask You Tonight”. The acoustic ballad is driven by Maslow’s warm vocals, and it slots in neatly with the group’s previous acoustic ballads, including the aforementioned “Worldwide” and 2011’s “Cover Girl”.
The five deluxe tracks include a few surprises and serves as a nod to the group’s fans, known as “Rushers”.
“Shot in the Dark” was originally written and recorded in 2010 for “Big Time Terrors”, an episode of the Nickelodeon show. However, it was left from the group’s debut album and never released, although Maslow performed a solo rendition during the group’s final tour. On this summer’s tour, the group resurrected the track, and have included a re-recorded version on the deluxe album.
The new version of the track includes crunchy guitars and spooky backing vocals, finally doing justice to a fan favorite.
“Learn to Love” and “Dreamworld” both sound like they would have fit perfectly in 2013’s “24/Seven”, while “Your Way” is perhaps the catchiest song that Big Time Rush has ever released. It is a shame that the group didn’t include it in the original release because it certainly would have been a hit even then.
The album ends with an acoustic version of “Weekends”, which brings a different perspective to the song. Instead of a party anthem, it is easier to take in the heart-wrenching lyrics, packing a huge punch and leaving listeners heavily anticipating the group’s next release.
Overall Grade: A+