with State Champs, The Summer Set, and Lolo
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Boys Like Girls
If it’s true what they say—that there’s something in the dirty water of Boston’s Charles River—then Boys Like Girls drank up. Little else could explain the band’s meteoric rise after forming as teenagers in 2004. In the modern age a story like their’s is designed in boardrooms over speakerphone. The story of Boys Like Girls, however, was forged from the very beginning in the damp basements, garages, and VFW halls of the Massachusetts coastline over tattered lyric books, guitars, drums, and a collective dream. A half billion Spotify streams later it‘s clear this was a fairy tale in its first act, and the world was about to find out.
What followed was the platinum-certified self-titled debut Boys Like Girls  and its chart-topping successor Love Drunk —which bowed at #1 on the Top Rock Albums Chart and Top 10 on the Billboard 200. There was a slew of successful singles, including the platinum-certified “The Great Escape” and “Love Drunk” as well as the gold-certified “Hero/Heroine” and “Thunder.” There was the platinum-certified, BMI award-winning Hot 100 duet with Taylor Swift, “Two Is Better Than One.” There were sold-out shows, international tours, and unforgettable moments everywhere from Madison Square Garden to Europe, Asia, South America, and Australia. But by 2012 lead singer and song-writer Martin Johnson was beginning to feel the universe pulling him into a new arena.
Collaboration was nothing new to Johnson, but for the first time he began writing and producing music not intended for his own band. What followed was another string of wild successes with hits from Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, Blink-182, Avril Lavigne, Jason Derulo, Daughtry, Christina Perri, Gavin Degraw, Pentatonix, and more. This—along with Johnson’s bandmates’ own successful musical endeavors—lead to a years-long hiatus for Boys Like Girls.
In 2016 the band would return to the road for the 10th Anniversary tour of their debut record. While fans across America were ecstatic for the reunion they’d been waiting for, internally it felt more like a farewell. “It was important to us to leave it all out there for the fans,” Johnson says. “To really give them the ‘thank you’ they deserved.”
“At a certain moment, your songs are no longer yours,” Martin observes. “I don’t even remember writing our first couple of records, but I do remember going around the globe and singing them. If I look into the audience, I know it’s not really about me; it’s about them. Over the years, I’ve realized the importance of being a vehicle for their soundtrack. At the end of the day, music needs to bring joy and escape. That’s something we can do to be of service, make people happy, and make ourselves happy.”
In 2019 Boys Like Girls plotted another return to the road—this time to Australia and Asia. However, their plans would be delayed due to the global events of 2020. After making good on their promise to return in 2022 and punctuating the tour by playing both weekends at Las Vegas’ When We Were Young Festival, Boys Like Girls meant more than ever not only to Johnson and fellow co-founders Paul DiGiovanni [lead guitar, backing vocals], and John Keefe [drums, percussion], but to the fans as well.
“We got out there, and it was euphoric for all of us,” smiles Martin. “Getting rowdy with the guys again, it felt like everything I was chasing with a solo project or by making music for other people had been fulfilled by Boys Like Girls. I realized how much fun, youthful, and beautiful it was to be on stage with my best friends. Seeing the state of the audience, it was deeply nostalgic, but there were also all of these kids who had never seen us. I looked at the boys and said, ‘We need to make a record. I’m going to put everything on hold until we go and say what we need to say’.”
It’s for this reason that Boys Like Girls has signed with Fearless Records and will release new music again for the first time in over 10 years. The band now works out of Johnson’s Nashville recording studio and has embraced a newfound sense of creative freedom rooted in the same energy that sparked their seminal output.
“It’s been so fun since that clarity and freedom came into play,” he goes on. “It was like, ‘Let’s play whatever the fuck we want’. That’s what we did with the first record and why it was fun. We weren’t thinking about what genre we were playing. We were just rocking. As a kid I thought I was right about everything. Now, I’ve had enough failures that I know how to doubt myself. So, it’s like, ‘Fuck it. If it sounds good, let’s go for it’. This approach has made us feel like the band we were and are.”
They ignite this era with “Blood and Sugar”—their first single in over a decade. On the track, neon synths wrap around a stomping guitar as the chorus cleverly reminds, “Even though the girl’s a looker, we’re only blood and sugar, right?”. With a swaggering bridge punctuated by warbling synths and howls straight-the-heart, it’s classic Boys Like Girls with an infusion of experience and wisdom. “I think of it as a relationship with a bunch of empty calories,” Johnson reveals. “You’re talking about how human beings are just blood and sugar. You might fear this girl, but we’re all just skin and bones, so why can’t you move on? Sonically and dynamically, I hope it’s like getting shot out of a cannon ten times. It’s something we can’t wait to go out and play.”
It’s safe to say the engine of Boys Like Girls is primed and ready for new magic.
The Summer Set