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May 24, 2012

The One Direction infection

by Mimi Verdonk, Online Sports Editor
Move over Justin Bieber! Boy bands are the new big thing...again? With the introduction of England's One Direction and The Wanted to the music scene, and along with their American counterparts Mindless Behavior and Big Time Rush, boy bands have not been this big since 'N Sync and the Backstreet Boys. But what does this mean for the state of music? Contrary to what the screaming girls at sold out concerts might think, boy bands are nothing but trouble.

One Direction will be performing at the Patriot Center on Thursday night. Courtesy of youngmalecelebrities.com
One Direction will be performing at the Patriot Center on Thursday night.
After the disappearance of the Jonas Brothers in 2009, America has been on the upswing with good music. Musicians like Kanye West, Taylor Swift and even Justin Bieber have been singing songs with substance. Songs have moved away from the uber-pop sound of boy bands and into the realm of genuine lyricism. That is, until the One Direction boys showed up with their well-quaffed hair and dimples. Cue the infatuated tween girls. The "Beliebers" are all headed in 'one direction'.

Jokes and good looks aside, the re-emergence of boy bands could be renamed the death of radio. The melodies, reminiscent of Nick Carter's and Joe Jonas's of yesteryear are catchy, but lyrically they are nonsensical and corny. "The way that you flip your hair gets me overwhelmed" from One Direction's "What Makes You Beautiful" is cheesy, but not nearly as bad as the words from Mindless Behavior. The group of middle school aged boys with funky hair does and overdoes dance moves, and its smash hit "My Girl" is written about Internet girlfriends who communicate via Twitter and text. "A hundred and forty characters is more than enough…You send me a J slash K, said I'm just playing with you," they whine in the song which has more than 26 million hits on Youtube. What has America come to when ballads are being sung about the internet by prepubescent boys?

The fact of the matter is, and lamentably so, that 12 year old girls have been listening to this music since the early days of the Beatles, Hanson and The Jackson Five. Like their young audience, the bands will grow and mature, shifting the content of their songs along with them. We must not forget that even six time Grammy award winner Justin Timberlake once had dyed blond hair and too tight pants himself.

Though it's easy to look at boy bands as a group of teenage guys with too much hair product, boy bands build icons. Chances are at least one member, if not more, will become a legend in their own time, like their predecessors in the bands before them. As 'N Sync once crooned, it seems like listeners will never say "Bye, Bye, Bye" to boy bands nor the artists that are born from them.

One Direction will be performing at the Patriot Center on Thursday, May 24.



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  • Tiffany Woody (View Email) on May 24, 2012 at 1:57 PM
    i love you guys! my favorite band in the whole wild world! i am deffentley coming to your guys concert!
  • Alex B. (View Email) on May 24, 2012 at 5:07 PM
    In my view, comparing the "substance" of Kanye West, Justin Bieber, and Taylor Swift with that of One Direction is not particularly relevant when they all produce bland music (music, not song). If a song is nice to listen to, then I will care about the words. If not, I won't. And that's why I do not listen to any of them (except on the bus, when I don't exactly have a choice).
  • Michela on May 25, 2012 at 2:51 AM
    While I completely agree that One Direction lyrics are ridiculously cheesy, your entire argument became invalid when you mentioned Kanye West, Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber as instances of substance musicians, sorry.
    • Imma let you finish but... on May 28, 2012 at 3:31 PM
      Kanye is a musical genius. To say his music doesn't have substance is plain dumb. You don't have to like the guy but make sure you do your homework.
      • Sam on May 28, 2012 at 10:15 PM
        Sorry, I wasn't aware that rapping and making a few "catchy" beats constituted musical genius.
        • Have you been living under a rock? on June 2, 2012 at 11:44 PM
          Kanye is the voice of a generation! Hundreds of years from now, people will forget about Newton, Einstein, and Hawking--instead, people far and wide will be chanting "KANYE! KANYE! KANYE!"
  • Forever Begging to Differ on May 26, 2012 at 10:43 AM
    I understand what you're saying in the article, but I think that it is unfair to base your entire opinion of One Direction based on one song that isnt even their best one. There are other songs on the album, including three that they themselves wrote, that have way more subtance and lyrical meaning than What Makes You Beautiful.
  • Mimi fan on May 27, 2012 at 12:50 AM
    You don't you're beautiful!
  • Alumnus on May 27, 2012 at 5:05 AM
    "Upswing of good music?" America hasn't seen one of those since the 80's. Who are you kidding? Popular music now is almost universally a nadir of creativity and talent.
  • anonymous on May 27, 2012 at 10:30 AM
    one direction <33333
    mims this was awesome
  • C'mon Man on May 27, 2012 at 11:18 PM
    Mimi, you don't know you're beautiful. <3 <3
  • since when on May 28, 2012 at 3:32 PM
    does kanye sing? hes a rapper mimi lolz
  • looool on May 28, 2012 at 10:08 PM
    Songs have moved away from the uber-pop sound of boy bands and into the realm of genuine lyricism.

    Wait, what? I wasn't aware that Kanye and Bieber were genuine lyricists.

    "Swag, swag, swag on you...sitting by the fire while we eating fondue"

    Yup, genuine lyricism and not uber-pop at all.
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