It happens about every ten years. In the late 80’s and early 90’s we had New Kids on the Block which left us all ‘hangin’ tough,’ knowing all the words to ‘Step by Step’ and having crushes on either Joey or Jordan. In the late 90’s and early 2000’s Backstreet Boys and ‘N Sync were two of the biggest groups in the world. We all lusted over Justin and relatively few of us knew what tragedy would become the Carter family (Aaron, Nick and their late sister). And don’t forget about LFO, 98 Degrees, O-Town and all the other C-list bands to come out of the fold. In the late 2000’s . . . wait, what happened in the late 2000’s? Boy bands were conspicuously absent from the music scene.
Fear not, with the history-making #1 debut album from UK boy band One Direction this week we’ll soon be subjected to throes of screaming girls and lusty tongues wagging from the gay community. Say what you want about his decision to leave Idol or the not-as-expected ratings for X-Factor, but one thing is sure, most of the time Simon Cowell knows what the hell he’s doing. One Direction was formed during the UK X-Factor and placed third. Their debut album, Up All Night was released in mid-November of 2011 in the UK and sold nearly 500,000 by year’s end. Their US debut is the only number debut ever by a British group. Up All Night is filled with pop hooks and melodies provided by the likes of Steve Mac, RedOne and even Kelly Clarkson herself.
Someone, somewhere is scrambling to hastily throw 5 guys together and hope that if they can get them in the studio fast enough they’ll be able to jump on the bandwagon. As for whether One Direction has what it takes, there are already a few other boy bands dropping their (I assume matching, color-coded) hats in the ring.
Blake: UK (older) boy band is preparing their US debut album; the majority of tracks were penned by pop-ballad powerhouse Diane Warren (“How Do I Live”). Debut single “Start Over” has already been released and features a more mature production. May be a hit for older crowds; definitely those who own an Il Divo album.
The Wanted: The Wanted have already had their debut single “Glad You Came” featured in Fox’s smash Glee. They were just on The Tonight Show and will be featured next month on The View and The Today Show. With a Top 10 iTunes single, these guys are going to make a splash when their debut album drops April 24th.
No matter the success, hopefully these groups have looked at the past and have some smart accountants set up because while they may be today’s news the boy band cycle shows it will only be a matter of time before fans say ‘bye, bye, bye’.