Thursday, November 29, 2007

Boy Bands and mainstream culture.

Yahoo! Music had an article about Boy Bands, and so I had to put my 2 cents in. Too bad it only had a 3000 character limit. I used every single one. :)


There is nothing so polarizing in music than the selection of pop icons. And if one band is glorified in a decade, the others will be vilified by that particular fan. BSB fans will consider Nysnc the enemy, much like Coke and Pepsi are direct competitors. Looking at it historically, there have been waves of pop music popularity. The creation of rock and roll can be partially given to the rise of such teen idols as Frankie Avalon, but true "boy bands" rose in the 1960's with the Beatles appearance on the Ed Sullivan show (in the US, I know little about trends overseas). It is amazing that cable television would help their competitors, The Monkees, rise from drugs, depression, and horse racing to the monumental comeback they experienced in 1986. Nor surprisingly, groups like Menudo and New Kids on the Block were also popular then. I call this the 80's wave of pop music. (Most of this is simple history, but I'm building toward a point.)

The pendulum of popular culture swung back the other direction with Alternative (REM) and other sounds of teen angst. The rebellion of such positive attitudes and the embracing of negativity was partly the aging of the young fans of the 80's to turn against their childhood and grow up into a world so often invaded by cynicism. (It is also interesting to look at the positive messages in music and parallel them to economic ups and downs in the US economy.)

So when the 1997 pop revolution began, a new sound of positive love songs and catchy musical rips were beginning to be felt in Europe with bands such as BSB and the Spice Girls, and as most things in Europe do, they would have eventually come to the US with as much force as they did. However, it is my contention that if it were not for the amazing song writing abilities and positive outlook of Hanson, the door would not have been opened as quickly for pop music again in America. I seem to recall an interview where Nick Carter (or one of the BSB) said as much.

granted, the days of MMMBop are long gone, and Hanson has matured, and in some instances, continue to produce music and to influence the music scene as much as Middle of Nowhere did (although, frankly, I can't get into their latest album, _The Walk_, it lacks the pop roots that made _Underneath_ a great album)

While boy bands are now as numerous as Walmarts here in the US, and perhaps the airwaves are inundated with sub-par writing and simplistic messages of love and lust, an important realization must be made. Pop has never died off from the 1990's hype, mainly because the availability of music has exploded with the Internet, with Apple's Ipods, and with the diversification of tastes, cultures, and the mainstream acceptance of most music as a personal choice among individuals. So pop can exist along side hip-hop, country, or hard rock, and in some cases, can blend into any of the other genres. It's a positive step toward acceptance of other cultures, and one Pop music should be proud of.

No comments:

Post a Comment