“I have a lot of different types of music on my iPod.” That’s my go-to response when people ask for my favorite band, clearly trying to learn something about me by the fact that I like Jason Mraz or that one Mystikal song. That sentence is how I avoid judgment. But it’s also true.
I was raised on The Beatles and Queen and Simon & Garfunkel, and today, I love Mumford & Sons and The Backstreet Boys and Bon Iver and Eminem. But in between, I’ve had many musical phases, and in 2005, I was a teenager who’d just gotten her first car—equipped with a sun roof—and needed some jams that were worthy of the windows-down treatment. Essentially, I was the target audience for Danity Kane.
Danity Kane was the P. Diddy-crafted girl band formed in 2004 on the hit MTV reality show Making the Band 3. After proving their skills, both vocally and on the dance floor, Aubrey O’Day, Wanita “D. Woods” Woodgett, Shannon Bex, Dawn Richard and Aundrea Fimbres walked away the winners of Making the Band 3 and were quickly signed to Bad Boy Records. After deciding on the name Danity Kane, they released their first self-titled album two years later in 2006, with the hit song “Showstopper.”
So, at the time, as much as I loved the Beatles and Queen, 16-year-old me needed something with a little more bass if I was going to drive my besties to the mall (or wherever we went at that age). Because, you know, everything is backwards when you’re a teen and blasting Danity Kane seemed more normal than blasting Queen. (Well, that and Beyoncé’s B’Day, of course. In fact, between those two albums, I almost never rolled my windows up.)
In the next few years, I formed a relationship with Danity Kane. It wasn’t anything serious. But here’s the thing about Danity Kane’s music: You could accept it for what it was. I wasn’t walking around asking for Danity Kane to win a Grammy. I wasn’t listening to the lyrics to try and discover something about the meaning of life. I was simply playing the music at my beach house and having a dance party with my best friends in between tanning sessions and picture-taking. … Again, we were 16.
I didn’t go out of my way to keep track of Danity Kane after that. But their second album, Welcome to the Dollhouse, renewed my love for them. This album was better than their first, and having come out just in time for one last spring break during my senior year of high school, Welcome to the Dollhouse made Danity Kane once again perfectly fit into the timeline of my adolescence. So perhaps it’s fitting that my going off to college marked the end of Danity Kane (the first end, at least).
I was 15 hours away from home at college when I watched things start to go south on Making the Band 4. I’m still not positive of what happened. Diddy wasn’t happy with the person that O’Day had become, and the rest of the group seemed unhappy with the group’s management. In the Making the Band 4 finale, O’Day and Woodgett left the band, therefore putting an end to Danity Kane’s run. I was heartbroken when the band broke up, but I was even more heartbroken when I realized that not many people cared. None of my new college friends understood my loss, so I called home and reminisce about beach dance parties with my high school friends. Because of the lack of enthusiasm around me, I didn’t dwell on the breakup long, but from that point on, Danity Kane would always be associated with good memories and an all-too-short relationship.
Jump forward to 2014, and I started hearing word of a Danity Kane reunion. Before I knew it, they’d put out a new single, “Lemonade,” and just like that, I had a new summer jam. Despite the fact that they’d lost two band mates—Aundrea and D. Woods—their sound was everything I remembered it to be. Living in New York, I was no longer a teen and I no longer had a car, but “Lemonade” seemed like the perfect fit for apartment dance parties and the occasional subway ride to work. As I should have predicted, Danity Kane’s sound had matured along with me, but much like me, it hadn’t changed all that much.
Now, just a few months later, Danity Kane is no more. I don’t really care why—whether somebody allegedly punched somebody in the back of the head, or didn’t, or whatever—because all I know is that I was robbed of what could’ve been the best Danity Kane album to date, the Danity Kane album of my 20’s. As someone who still has dance parties often, I really could’ve used it. After years of being a fan of the girl group that only ever sort-of was, I’m left feeling a little, well, damaged.