I’ve always found the term ‘boy band’ highly misleading and slightly insulting. As a former band geek, when I hear the word ‘band’ I fully expect to see musical instruments of some sort or some sign of instrumental talent present. Like The Monkees and The Beatles. Those guys were boy bands. They did everything. Otherwise, you are just a vocalist. And another thing, do you still call them a boy band at the fifty year reunion? That’s kinda stupid if you think about it. Well at least that’s my personal opinion and I know it doesn’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. But I digress.
Say the word boy band now days and you’ll hear BSB and N’SYNC. Though they were the last wave, they were the biggest, but not the only ones. Hundreds of boy bands have come and gone in the last 15 years. Some of them great. Others not so much. In my research I came across names of boy bands that I’d never heard of. But they were out there.
What is the appeal of these groups. Let’s look past the fact that these are manufactured groups. Let’s look beyond the fact that they were solely marketed to tweens and teens. Let’s forget about the ever popular boy band formula. Let’s look at their music. In particular the group New Kids On The Block.
I grew up in the 80s when NKOTB exploded on the music scene. Ah! Joey, Jordan, Jonny, Danny, & Donnie (and Mark before he went solo)! As a preteen girl I LOVED theses guys! I’d like to say that in 50% pride and 50% shame I admit that I had the dolls and t-shirts back in the day. Shut up!! I gravitated to the messages of love and forever. Thinking back I think to myself ‘Why was I into these concepts at 10?’ Answer, the songs were catchy as hell…and singers were cute. NKOTB ‘Hangin Tough’ album was the first of their music I heard. The song ‘You Got It (The Right Stuff)’ was HUGE! Watching the video now may make me cringe, but the song still has the same impact. It’s catchy, well vocalized, the message was cute…what’s not to love. The album title song ‘Hangin Tough’ tho I’m watching the video as I gather my thoughts to type this makes me want to die of laughter(Oh my God the dancing, those clothes!), and the song is epically ridiculous, it still kick ass. I still bump their song ‘Step By Step’ off their 3rd album ‘Step By Step’ on my Ipod constantly!
Looking back on it, I think to myself…Oh my God! I’m honestly not sure if I was as heavily into them because I really liked them or if it was a sign of my environment and I was just rolling with the tide. All of my friends, yes I mean every single one of them, were huge fans. We all thought they were so cool and tough looking and seeing the videos again now, I see these guys were anything but. Were they brave for rocking those outfits and dancing around like a bunch of wounded chimpanzees, sure. It conveyed what they were trying to get across. But tough…yeah, no. I can safely say I don’t think any of these guys would have busted a grape in a food fight.
As far as I know they are still out on the circuit. Touring, making new music, the whole bit. And they will continue to do alright for themselves. I continue to support them partially from nostalgia, but the other part is because they are actually very talented guys that deserve my support. I want them to keep making the type of music that they make. As long as it’s fresh and they continue to grow their craft and get better and please God, don’t follow today’s trends, they’ll always have a fan.