Before Simon Cowell was known for being a bastard on American Idol, he was an A&R talent scout for BMG in England. After becoming bored with promoting singles from professional wrestlers, he wanted to find a male Spice Girls and successors to British boy band Take That. Auditions were held for an "edgy" boy band, and they got down to the finals when five contestants met and decided to go in as a group. Hence the formation of "5ive", as they were often dumbly called: Scott, Sean, Rich, Abs (stupid name, but because his name was also Richard), and J. The edgier aspects came from the fact that they incorporated rapping into many of their songs. At the time, I thought they sucked at rapping, but in retrospect they weren't so bad. Compared to Kevin Federline's "Popozao" and D4L's "Laffy Taffy", J and Abs are Biggie and Tupac. Also, their lyrics often had sexual innuendo and overt references beyond that in typical boy bands, and unlike most, they were not prevented from having girlfriends publicly. In the U.S., they had one hit (still better than most British acts), the top 10 "When the Lights Go Out", and managed to score platinum with their debut album. Personally, I had always preferred their far less successful (#53 on Billboard Hot 100, thanks to wikipedia) follow-up, "It's The Things You Do". It was a catchy as hell Max Martin track that only got a single release in the United States.
It's The Things You Do (Video Version) - This is a radio edit that features a second sung verse, as opposed to the raps in the original. It's somewhat rare, and I actually have it on a cassette single! It's The Things You Do (Sean and Dave's Excellent Extended Mix)- This is pretty rare too, it's from the maxi-single, although I have it on a Club Mix compilation somewhere. It's basically a longer version of the album version, which features the hilarious rap parts. I remember that my local radio station (Y100.7) would use the instrumental as a music bed for the DJs to talk over, several years after it was released. I would keep thinking the song would come on, but eventually realized and stopped being dissapointed when it continued to loop the very beginning endlessly.
As a bonus, here is the music video for the Max Martin track "Until The Time Is Through", a sweet ballad that was released in Europe.
Tomorrow we're moving forward to 1999, possibly the greatest year for Max Martin and teen pop in general ever, with some of the greatest pop songs of all time (IMHO) being released. Britney Spears debuts, BSB take it to a new level, and ballad queen Celine Dion (!!!), up next.