For five straight weeks, the Billboard 200 album chart has experienced an onslaught of artists who held major relevance in the mid-2000s, particularly 2006 and 2007, followed by a period of lessened popularity and/or eventual inactivity. Hell, we don’t even have to stop there. Prior to Timberlake’s three-week reign, the No.1 album in the country belonged to Bon Jovi, a band that admittedly held more sway in its earlier days but still connected with 2005’s “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” and the 2007 album Lost Highway.
This week, Fall Out Boy took the top spot in America with its big comeback album, Save Rock & Roll, which debuts at No. 1 with 153,000 sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The band beats out its closest competitor, Kid Cudi, by almost 20,000 copies, as the rapper’s Indicud slots in second.
Rewind to February 2007. That month, Fall Out Boy went to the top of the charts with the band’s third album, Infinity on High, buoyed by big singles “This Ain’t a Scene, It’s An Arms Race” and “Thnks fr th Mmrs” and the strong performance of its previous album, From Under the Cork Tree, which put the band on the map in 2005 and 2006.
Similarly, Paramore first found minor success on the strength of 2005’s All We Know is Falling, following the album up with Riot!, the band’s 2007 breakthrough that spawned major chart hits in “Misery Business” and “Crushcrushcrush.”
And then there’s Timberlake. The former ‘N SYNC’er just so happened to bring sexy back in mid-2006, dropping the wildly popular FutureSex/LoveSounds in September. The album produced three No. 1 singles in a row — “SexyBack,” “My Love” and “What Goes Around… Comes Around,” stretching JT chart dominance into 2007.
For the first part of the 2010s, however, none of the three acts where anywhere to be seen, at least musically. Timberlake made the best of the moment, continuing with the acting career he announced in 2006 he’d be focusing on for the near future and starring in major motion pictures such as The Social Network. His music popped up occasionally, mostly in his work with comedy troupe The Lonely Island and Saturday Night Live.
Paramore released Brand New Eyes in 2009 to general acclaim and notched its highest spot on the Hot 100 (“The Only Exception,” No. 24), but it seemed for awhile like frontwoman Hayley Williams might strike out on her own for good, especially following her guest spot on B.o.B. mega-hit “Airplanes.” After that single faded, however, music fans didn’t hear much from Williams or her band.
Fall Out Boy’s 2008 record Folie a Deux only managed No. 8 on the Billboard 200, with lead single “I Don’t Care” proving fairly underwhelming. Side projects from the bandmates followed, though singer Patrick Stump’s Soul Punk, Pete Wentz project Black Cards and The Damned Things, featuring Joe Trohman and Andy Hurley, weren’t exactly commercial successes..
By all accounts, comeback attempts by any of these artists could have gone wrong. It’s the difference between a massive tour fueled by a No. 1 album, and a massive tour fueled by nostalgia.
And yet. Here we are.