Are our middle school heartthrobs all making a comeback at once?

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The answer is sort of. Not all of them are coming back, or at least doing so successfully, but no worries girls, there’s plenty of new tunes to tide us over until the next wave of heartthrob revival hits.

First up, Greyson Chance. Chance hit the music scene in early 2010 when a video of him performing at his sixth grade talent show went viral. His rendition of “Paparazzi” by Lady Gaga sung in his perfect, pubescent voice, paired with his pristine piano skills was all too much for the middle school ladies of the time (yes, me included).

Not a year later, Chance released his first independent single “Waiting Outside the Lines,” and not too long after that, he released his first album “Waiting Outside the Lines EP” and his full album “Hold On ‘Til The Night.” Upbeat tracks “Stranded” and “Little London Girl” paired with slower songs “Hold On ‘Til The Night” and “Cheyenne” made his album a huge hit.

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The cover art of Greyson Chance’s album “Meridians,” released in 2015.

He went on tours with fellow singers like Miranda Cosgrove and Cody Simpson (don’t worry, we’ll get to him later), but disappeared shortly after. Chance released another, shorter album in 2012 and a few singles, but nothing struck as big as the original Greyson Chance.

Last year, Chance released a new single “Afterlife,” but it was Frank Pole’s remix of the song that earned it attention.

Over the last few months, Chance has been releasing singles off his newest album, “Somewhere Over My Head,” released May 13, each with high-quality album covers featuring the 19-year-old and his new high-fashion wardrobe.

If you haven’t been following Greyson chance over the years, you won’t be able to tell it’s him listening to the new album. For starters, the boy hit puberty somewhere between 13 and 19. Who would have thought?

And if you weren’t expecting that, you’re certainly not expecting the future pop hits that feature Chance’s insane vocal range, and I mean insane.

Chance’s older work (between the break-out and the comeback) is worth a listen, as well, despite its lack of success. There’s no denying comeback-Greyson Chance’s immense musical and vocal talent.

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Cody Simpson performing in Montreal, 2013.

Now for Chance’s old tour mate, Cody Simpson. Unlike Chance, Simpson had a rough start to his career. He was a Justin Bieber wanna-be, from the over-produced pop songs all the way down to the hair. Cute though he may have been, Simpson’s music didn’t launch him into stardom quite like he anticipated.

Also unlike Chance, Simpson didn’t necessarily disappear. He’s been releasing complete albums as well as singles on a fairly regular basis since he first hit the music scene, but his most recent album, “Free,” released in 2015, is what’s gaining him attention these days.

Why is this album different? Well, because Simpson isn’t trying to be Justin Bieber anymore. The Australian’s sound has taken a 180, leaning more toward Jack Johnson than toward pop star wannabe.

The songs are well written, well produced, but not overly produced, and Simpson’s new approach showcases his voice, which, by the way, is quite pleasant. As are his guitar skills, also showcased in his new songs.

Simpson has embraced his Australian-Californian-surfer-Jack-Johnson-esque persona and it’s serving him well.

Much like Simpson, trio Emblem3 are proud of their California heritage. The two brothers and their friend originally hail from Colorado but pursued their dreams while auditioning for The X Factor in 2012.

Wesley and Keaton Stromberg and Drew Chadwick were an instant hit among the ladies and the judges. Their audition of an original song “Sunset Blvd” skyrocketed them to the top of the contestant list. The group blazed through the competition gaining fans and admirers all along the way but were eliminated in the semi-finals, ranking fourth.

Elimination didn’t hinder the trio, though.

Shortly after, on July 30, 2013, Emblem3 released their album “Nothing to Lose” featuring their hits “Chloe (You’re the One I Want)” and “3000 Miles.”

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The cover art for Emblem3’s album “Nothing to Lose,” released 2013.

They went on tour with Selena Gomez, opening for her “Stars Dance Tour.” And in June of 2014, released another

independent album.

Eighteen days later, Chadwick announced he was leaving the band and, consequently, Emblem3 broke up. In December, the Stromberg brothers partnered with Jack & Jack on their song “Cheat Codes,” still under the name Emblem3. Less than a year later, Chadwick re-joined the brothers and Emblem3 was back! Well, almost back.

On February 1, 2016, Emblem3 released their single “Now” featuring all three esteemed bandmates.

If you’re confused, don’t worry, here’s the important part: as of April 1, 2016, Emblem3 is back with a brand new, six-song album full of fresh beats and brand new hits-to-be.

Twenty-three-year-old Jake Miller’s track “Number One Rule” circa 2013 earned him his fame. His previous album, “Spotlight,” failed to skyrocket him to the top of the charts, but “Number One Rule” took care of that.

Jake Miller on the set of a photo shoot, 2013
Jake Miller on the set of a photo shoot, 2013

Miller was a young rapper who sang about his hard work that paid off in fame. Fans were drawn to that confidence, not necessarily to the quality of music.

After the release of “Us Against Them,” the album featuring “Number One Rule,” Miller wasn’t heard from again, not until a few weeks ago.

August 19, 2016 debuted his seven-song album, “Overnight.” It’s a repeat of his old music simply sung in a deeper voice.

August 19 was also a big day for Austin Mahone.

Austin Mahone held much more promise than Miller, but his comeback held much more failure.

Mahone, like Greyson Chance, made his mark on YouTube, this time with a cover of Justin Bieber’s “Mistletoe” (yes, all roads lead to Bieber).

After his release of “Say Somethin’” on June 5, 2012, Mahone was launched into stardom worldwide. The pop hit was featured on countless radio stations and his poster appeared on countless bedroom walls.

Austin Mahone at fashion show event, 2013
Austin Mahone at fashion show event, 2013

Mahone was on a roll with the releasing of his hits “Say You’re Just a Friend” featuring popular rapper Flo Rida, “What About Love,” “Banga Banga” and “Mmm Yeah.”  

Since, Mahone has been releasing singles along the way, the first of which was “Dirty Work” on July 19, 2016.

“Dirty Work” received much hype on social media, namely Vine, but only because he’s good friends with today’s “popular” Viners, not because his song is any good.

“Dirty Work” has since been followed by “Way Up” and “Send It” featuring Rich Homie Quan on August 19 (should we just make it a national holiday?).

All three have certainly missed the mark and needless to say, Mahone’s comeback has been fairly unsuccessful, so far. There’s still hope, though!

Take a step back, Austin. Readdress your sound because your effort to be a Justin-Bieber-style star was cute when you were 17, but not anymore.

Moral of the story, don’t try to be Justin. Just listen to his music.

Regardless of the success or lack of success these comebacks are grabbing, we’ve got Ross Lynch and Shawn Mendes for now. And who knows, Big Time Rush and Jessie McCartney may have albums in the works.

 

Fun fact: Corbin Bleu has multiple solo albums, not just his work from High School Musical and Jump In. You’re welcome. 

*All photos courtesy of Creative Commons