Boy Bands / by E

       With One Direction, The Wanted, and the return of 98 degrees, it has become increasingly difficult to turn on the radio without hearing a boy band these days. If boy bands are the butt of so many, many, jokes, why do we continually allow them to thrive in our society? Now, there is a difference between boy bands, and all male bands. The Gaslight Anthem, Coldplay, Mumford & Sons; These groups may be boy bands, but they are not 'boy bands'.
       No, boy bands are the groups in the tight pants with the fitted vests and blazers; the ones with the clean shaven faces, whose appearances have been carefully constructed to assure parents that it is okay for their daughter to have their posters plastered on the bedroom wall.
       When Frank Sinatra first came on the scene, girls would throw themselves at him. Albeit, they were older than today's average boy band fanatic, but it was the first time there had been any sort of mass hysteria, from young women, over a male music icon. The next time this happened was with the arrival of The Beatles; these 13-16 year old girls were screaming from the sidewalk and fighting to get into their hotel. Parents and the media were in disbelief at how these women girls were dealing with their first sexual urges. Now, it seems to be an established rite of passage. The general consensus is that, if you are a pre-teen girl and you don't have 'Bieber Fever' (or some other mental disorder caused by too much exposure to young male singers), something is wrong with you. 
       I never truly experienced that same hysteria; my middle school years were utterly void of boy bands. N'Sync, Backstreet Boys, and 98 Degrees had come and gone while The Wanted, Big Time Rush, and One Direction were nonexistent. I passed the prime ages of boy band fanaticism before they had a chance to come back onto the music scene. The only time I ever got excited over a boy band was when I was nine; my first concert was to see a boy band (Remember O-Town? That's fine, no one else does either) but I was there because I had watched Making the Band with my older sister and was at that stage in my life where it was customary to follow her every move. I didn't particularly like the band; I had no clue why my sister thought this guy named Ashley was hot, I just knew she was crazy for thinking a guy with a girls name was attractive, but that she liked him so I would too. A hint for anyone planning to take their child to a concert for the first time: Take them to see a female Disney star, like Demi Lovato or Selena Gomez, not a band who's most popular single was entitled "Liquid Dreams." (Or Snoop Dogg. The image of that child's face as he watched his mother dance to "I Wanna Fuck You" will forever be etched into my brain.)
       Don't get me wrong, I love a catchy boy band song just as much as the next person, but I hate liking boy bands. Something about their hair or clothes or what they represent in society; I can't be sure of the origin of my aversion, I just know that it exists.
       So, back to the point, if we don't like them, why are their singles always on iTunes top ten list? It could be that their safe images ensure they will not break our hearts. Or the fact that, even though their dance moves are fun to mock, they're also easy to mimic. But mostly, I believe that it is because, no matter who you are, you still, secretly, wish you could make such an impression on a guy that he would feel the only way to express his feelings would be to write a song for you. And boy bands are good at making a song sound generic enough that ten out of eleven girls can yell "OHMAGAHHH!!! THAT SONG IS TOTALLY ABOUT ME!!"
       The main thing to remember is that, even if you don't like boy bands, you better get used to them. History has shown that the boy band epidemic comes around every five years or so and can't be stopped until it has run its full course.
- E
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