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Boys Like Girls

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Boys Like Girls is a four-piece rock band from Boston, Massachusetts. The group completed nationwide tours with Cute Is What We Aim For, Hit the Lights and Butch Walker and topped the Top Unsigned Artist chart on PureVolume, within a few months from forming in late 2005. In August 2006, they released their Matt Squire-produced debut album Boys Like Girls via Columbia Records/Red Ink. On March 17, 2007, it was announced that the band was voted 2006 Artist of the Year by the readers of Spin.


The band Boys Like Girls was formed in the final months of 2006, when singer/guitarist Martin Johnson — formerly of short-lived Massachusetts act The Drive — wrote a handful of songs he was looking to record. He recruited bassist Bryan Donahue and drummer John Keefe, both of whom had been in bands of different setups with the frontman, most notably in the pop punk band Lancaster. Keefe brought along lead guitarist Paul DiGiovanni, who he had collaborated recently on a brief demo recording with, to complete the line-up — oddly enough, the two learned that they were distant cousins several months later.[1][2] The quartet soon opened a PureVolume account to showcase their music, and uploaded a roughly recorded demo of "The Great Escape" and an acoustic rendition of "Thunder" to their profile. By the end of the year, the group had landed the #1 spot on the website's Top Unsigned Artists chart.[3]

The arising buzz around the band was overheard by both booking agent Matt Galle and record producer Matt Squire, who contacted the band about a future collaboration. With their support, Boys Like Girls embarked on their first nationwide tour with A Thorn for Every Heart, Hit the Lights and Keating beginning late February 2006. Following the month-long venture, the group immediately entered the recording studio with Squire, to record their debut album for Columbia Records/Red Ink. During their time in the studio, Squire introduced the band to another of his alumni, Cute Is What We Aim For, who offered Boys Like Girls an opening slot on their upcoming headlining tour. Once the album was fully recorded, Boys Like Girls went back out on the road, playing back-to-back tours, including the Cute Is What We Aim For tour in June, as well as a two week stint of shows with Butch Walker in late July.[4] In between, the band filmed their first music video for their album's lead single, "Hero/Heroine", directed by Mark Serao and Chris Vaglio of Grey Sky Films.[5]

On August 22, 2006, the eponymous Boys Like Girls hit record store shelves. As of April 2007, the album has sold over 80,000 copies within the United States.[6] While, as the title might suggest, songs about boys liking girls clearly prevail on the record, Johnson threw in the occasional escape from the pre-, mid-, or post-relationship formula, and touched upon themes such as his mother's battle with cancer, leaving home and precocious adolescents. Concerning the latter, he discussed the motivation behind the song "Dance Hall Drug":

“ So many kids are growing up too fast. 13 year olds are giving each other hand jobs in the back of the bus, 14 year olds are already drinking and partying, and kids spend more time worried about growing up and being cool than they do actually growing up and being a kid.[7] ”

In the light of the album's release, Boys Like Girls completed their first headlining tour, supported by Permanent Me and Scenes from a Movie in August and September, before heading out on an East coast tour, opening for lostprophets and Eighteen Visions throughout October 2006. The remainder of the year was spent playing first on a five-band bill with Spitalfield, Punchline, Over It, and Valencia, as well as on the Tournado Tour, nightly sharing the stage with The All-American Rejects, Motion City Soundtrack, and The Format. 2007 started out with a short headlining run with Self Against City, after which the group joined Cobra Starship supporting a two-month Cartel tour beginning in February. In between releasing their album's second single, "The Great Escape" (reaching #63 on the Pop 100), performing on Jimmy Kimmel Live on February 22, 2007, and eventually charting the Billboard 200 for the first time in April 2007, Boys Like Girls played their first international concerts during the Canada leg of a North America tour with hellogoodbye and the UK festival Give It A Name 2007.

Musical style and critical reception

Stylistically, the self-proclaimed emo band lists its musical influences as a variety of contemporary emo and pop punk bands, such as Jimmy Eat World, The Academy Is... and Dashboard Confessional. While these tendencies are clearly audible in guitarwork and drumming, punk rock influences are far less obvious as far as vocal patterns and lyricism are concerned. Given Johnson's characteristic tenor vocal melodies — which are, thanks to sporadically placed falsettos, at times reminiscent of Tyson Ritter's (of The All-American Rejects fame)[8] — the band's all-around sound is geared to late '90s alternative radio rock, along the lines of Vertical Horizon and Eve 6.[9]

In comparison with the majority of their peers, Boys Like Girls has a more radio-friendly pop rock sound. Hence, Boys Like Girls has been labelled "an album full of hit singles"[10] or "the soundtrack to summer"[11], emphasising the up-and-coming quartet's potential to write mainstream compatible tunes. Other reviewers considered "a watered-down copy of Jimmy Eat World" a more adequate description.[12] In general, judgements ranged from predictable mediocrity to promising newcomer debut, though not necessarily in terms of longevity.

While the on-line community precipitately crowned Boys Like Girls "2006's Fall Out Boy" (in reference to the pop punk band's commercial success with 2005's From Under the Cork Tree),[10] album sales were less convincing. Despite promotional front page features (such as Spin's "Artist of the Day" or the highly influential Absolutepunk.net's "Featured Band" and "Absolute Exclusive: Album Leak"), Boys Like Girls scanned a mere 1,472 units within its first week of sales, thus failing to chart the Billboard 200.[13] However, continuous touring and promoting helped gaining the record a #179 entry into the chart in April 2007, peaking at #142 the following month.[6]


Martin Johnson – vocals, rhythm guitar

Paul DiGiovanni – lead guitar

Bryan Donahue – bass

John Keefe – drums


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