Every right-thinking adult knows that boy bands suck. We know that this music is mass-manufactured by corporate money-men, and that the image is think-tanked to the point of pristine. We know that teams of people work on the songs until they are polished enough to satisfy the most dollar-hungry desk pig, and we know that further teams of people work on the dance routines until they are clean enough to please the parents but risqué enough to titillate the freshly titillate-able. It’s a fine, awful balance, and as right-thinking adults, we know that.
However, there was a time when we weren’t right-thinking adults. Every one of us was a pre-teen once, then a tween, and then a teen. Chances are, we liked some easy, melodic, disposable pop music at one time in our lives. Personally, I had my Kylie Minogue phase. We go through it, and we get over it. We might hold a little nostalgic warmth for our old childhood darlings, but we embrace it for what it is. That’s why you don’t see many women in their late 30’s wearing New Kids on the Block shirts but, when NKOTB tours, the venues will be packed with people reliving a more innocent time for one night only.
Of course, the New Kids largely went away, and were replaced with the Backstreet Boys. In England, Take That were the boy band kings. Then NSYNC came and went. Big Time Rush was something for a minute. Right now, One Direction is the band making children faint.
Some adults get angry about One Direction, and other teen stars like Justin Bieber. Some claim that this corporate nonsense is killing music, that it is hurting real musicians. The truth is, if One Direction didn’t exist, the fans wouldn’t suddenly start buying Bob Dylan, Iggy Pop and Marvin Gaye records. They just wouldn’t. Rather, those kids would play video games and watch reality TV. One Direction isn’t an alternative to different music, it’s an alternative to other forms of teen entertainment.
That’s why I don’t hate One Direction. I don’t hate Justin Bieber and I didn’t hate NSYNC, etc. It makes no more sense for an adult to hate these people than it does to hate the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, or Spongebob Squarepants. It’s not for us. This is children’s entertainment. Why get angry? Justin Bieber isn’t looking coyly into the camera for you, Mr. 40-year-old auto worker from Wyandotte.
That’s not to say that we shouldn’t get mad about other musicians. There are far greater offenders than the boy bands. Celine Dion is, in this writer’s opinion, the worst. Grown up, free-thinking adults all over the world like this monster, and many flock to her (shiver) Vegas shows.
You see, that’s the difference. People grow out of One Direction, but adults still fall into the Dion trap. While she’s feigning emotion and integrity, playing the part of the deeply affected maiden and singing the most detestable tripe, people who should know better are parting with dollar after dollar.
Sure, Dion can hold a note, as can Mariah Carey (Dion isn’t the only offender). But since when did music become a science rather than art? Celine Dion hasn’t meant one single line of lyric that her career has spewed out. That song from Titanic was her shit-peak.
Let the kids have their kiddie music, people. But let’s grow out of the adult-oriented bullshit.