Am I an OG fan of The Wanted? Yes. Is it a defining part of my personality to all those who know me and many who don’t? God, yes. You couldn’t fathom the number of texts and DMs I received on September 8th when the band announced their indefinite hiatus was over. I have complicated feelings toward their career — I am always willing to dive deep into my Scooter Braun conspiracy theories and how he derailed them on purpose — but the love I had for them as a band is a light that will never go out. Today marks a milestone with their first new release since Word of Mouth in 2013. “Rule The World” feels like “Glad You Came” but a little older, a little wiser. It’s a summer party track, pop with some EDM flavour, but a bit more subdued than its predecessors.
For those who didn’t partake in the festivities of the early 10s, it was a cardinal sin to be a The Wanted fan. Directioners would eat us alive. Other music fans would chastise us for loving a band who were “one hit wonders” — which is a common North American opinion for those who can’t hear Battleground or their self-titled album online. And that was one of the main issues. A majority of their best work and accomplishments were never available for consumption on this side of the pond (legally) so there was less to wave around and show off. We waited and waited for tours and albums that never made it to Canada. We feasted on the breadsticks at the table while waiting for the main course. But someone in the kitchen must have burned the main course, because it never came.
As quickly as we had them, they were gone. I lamented how the battle between 1D vs TW held them back when there was no reason they couldn’t co-exist. I blamed Scooter Braun (maybe still do, allegedly). I held out hope that some day they’d come back and things would happen in my own country that I could be publicly excited for. I would occasionally swallow my pride and message the band members asking for a reunion. And now, in the darkest hour of the modern age, they came back to us. Like Nathan raising out of the stage in a beam of light post-vocal chord surgery. And instead of feeling excited and planning to go to 20 shows, I just feel… calm. One of my comfort bands came back to me in the middle of two hell years. I received a Wanted Wednesday email and nearly cried because it just felt so good to return to the safety of being 19 in 2011 and discovering a new boyband. I jumped on this bandwagon hoping some day I’d see them live. Here in 2021, I hope to someday see them live again. The journey forward continues.