And when is it gonna fade out?
|Justin, Joey, Lance, JC, and Chris|
|Harry Styles and um...all the other ones.|
Boy bands. Oh how we girls love them. Ever since the Beatles happened, boy bands have been a pivotal part of our journey into womanhood. They’re made up of men who are not quite men yet but not quite boys either. They appeal to our sexual desires before we are even aware that we have them. They sing about love and dance in unison as we drool by our television sets and beg our parents to buy us the issue of Tiger Beat with the exclusive ultra large poster of them for our bedroom. Boy bands evolve as generations do and even though they haven’t always been classified as pop, they’re essentially part of the popular segment of music. They’re inescapable.
Out of all boy bands ever to exist, I am completely and irrevocably biased toward *NSYNC. They will forever be my number one boy band. Yes, The Beatles were more talented (or durable, at any rate), but nothing will replace Justin, Chris, Joey, Lance and JC in my heart. Ever. These boys, as opposed to the One Direction boys (who I think are adorable, by the way), weren’t really boys at all. They were men. Talented men who existed before the era of autotuning. Not that One Direction uses autotune, I really don’t know, but I do highly doubt they can pull off a cappella as beautifully as *NSYNC did at The Grammys in 2003 (see below). Now, I’m no music connoisseur so I won’t argue with you if you tell me that Westlife was better than *NSYNC (although, for the record, you’d be wrong), all I’m saying is that whether we like it or not, we all went through that phase, and no matter what anybody says, our boy band and our times will always be the best.
The Beatles, The Jackson 5, New Kids on the Block, Boyz II Men, The Backstreet Boys, The Jonas Brothers, One Direction, The Wanted. Since the 1960s, each decade has birthed a decent share of boy bands. What differentiates them from other bands (as is the case of The Beatles, a rock and roll –not pop –band), is their enormous female fan-base. The hordes of screaming gals waiting outside concert venues, hotel lobbies and airport terminals, losing their voices and nearly fainting at the mere glimpse of a hair follicle. Bedroom walls completely hidden behind creased photographs ripped from any magazine that dares feature those boys within its pages. Drawers filled with LPs, cd’s, books, magazines, postcards, jewelry, action figures, concert t-shirts and other such useless band merchandise. A degree of obsession with men these girls have never met that borders on the psychotic. If you’re looking for a true fanatic, look no further than a 14 year old girl singing the newest boy band pop song like it’s the song that was created to cure the billions of broken hearts around the world. With no exaggeration, that is the purpose and effect of the boy bands that have topped the charts in the last 50 years or so.
But a band is supposed to be about the music, right? And boy bands are about the music. Whether it’s good or bad, it’s the music that gets girls hooked in the first place. The sweet corny lyrics and the danceable, catchy melodies are what entrap us from the get go. The boys’ good looks come second. Choosing our future husband comes in close third. It's a very serious thing, this natural process through which we girls must pass in our adolescence. Defining our boy band fandom then is how we define our teenage years now.
Here is where I give an honorable mention to that one goth, hipster, or nerdy girl who never idolized a boy band out of angst or because of a prematurely developed exceptional taste in music. Yes, those girls who leered at us as we talked about how cute Kevin and Brian of the Backstreet Boys are and how I can’t believe Justin is dating Britney now omygosh! Sorry you girls missed out on how awesome being a silly pre-teen with silly crushes on older boys we’ll never have is. I’m sure you were busy with other [much more important] things. No sarcasm intended.
Truth is, this pop life isn’t fading out anytime soon. Even if you hate boy bands because it’s “not real music” or it’s “too commercialized” or “they don’t even write their own songs, man, what the hell,” you can’t shut them out of your life completely. Our little sisters and cousins love One Direction. Our daughters will have their own boy band to admire and swoon for. Few of us know what good music is when we’re 13. Few of us have even defined our music taste by our late teens. So, stop judging the Directioners (although you can snicker a little at the fact that they call themselves Directioners), and let them bask in that senseless joy that you likely went through at some point. Were they some of the best times of your life? Yes. Well, it’s the best time of theirs too. So, there.
This has been a Fatiluzer rant. Ci vediamo presto!
Photo of One Direction from December 2012 UK Cosmopolitan magazine.
Title and subheading is a lyric from NSYNC's Pop (2001)