Truth be told – in the least “music snob” way – I never liked boy bands growing up. To this day, I hardly know any of the words to any Backstreet Boys or N’Sync song (except the ones drilled into my brain thanks to serious radio play), and I never felt like any of them were heartthrobs. I was really into Gavin Rossdale, Third Eye Blind’s Stephan Jenkins, Freddie Prinze Jr. and, obviously, Leonardo DiCaprio (which hasn’t changed). Music-wise, my pre-teen years were spent more interested in the ladies of the pop world (Spice Girls, Britney, Women & Songs chicks) and weirdly obsessed with 90s alt-rock (as explored here). Anyway.
Last night, amid the controversy of one-fifth of British boy band One Direction calling it quits, I decided to see what all the fuss was about (fuss being: masses of young girls publicly suffering severe panic attacks), and dove right into a YouTube spiral of their songs and videos.
After listening to a few of their most recent singles, not only did I get it – the biggest boy band in the world thing, the sold-out back-to-back tour thing – but I found myself, a (mildly) intelligent mid-twenties woman, in this weird boy band trance that I’d never slipped into as a tween. Here I was, watching the X Factor auditions that brought the five together via Simon Cowell, suddenly lovestruck over raspy-voiced, tattooed (21 year-old…) Harry Styles, lol-ing at Danny DeVito’s unexpected cameo in their “Steal My Girl” video (I also bought the song immediately – yes, bought), and a little sad that the five were now only a four.
Had I become just as weird as the 1D fan-Moms who drag their uninterested child to concerts as a decoy? Probably not, but I suddenly really liked the guys.
If I do have a wise one-up on any of the grief-stricken tweens of the world who know no better, it’s that I know very well the boy band bubble always pops. Time has proved that, regardless of how dreamy and talented a manufactured singing group is, something or someone always gives – and we’re either left with memories, or a far better spin-off that stands the test of time (JT, Beyonce, etc).
Bottom line is – and I have to reiterate this in daily personal and professional conversations – there is no measure of what makes music “good” or acceptable. So, I will have no shame listening to “Steal My Girl”, “Night Changes” or 1989 on repeat now that I’ve learned it’s some of the catchiest sh*t in the game. It sounds good, it feels good, and for that sake – I hope the 1D boys survive this wee setback and make a little more of it.
And if they don’t, they gained a new fan in their final days – and I will anxiously await Harry Styles’ solo act.