Archive for the ‘music’ Category

Boy Bands

Heeeeeey, blog.

I’ve been a terrible blog keeper. I’m sure I don’t need to explain why. I’ve begun to make a list preparing myself for another Horror Movie Extravaganza, but seeing as that’s not till October, I’m here to prep myself with some good old recreational blogging!

I feel like I’ve been perpetuating this theme of horror and monsters, and I have all intention of keeping that up. It’s just that today we’re going to talk about a different kind of monster…


A Fame Monster… as it were, albeit an old one.
…I just realized two of them are not wearing shoes.

So, it was 1998 and I was twelve years old and there was an N’Sync (‘N Sync? *NYSNC?) concert on Disney so… that’s how that started. I always erred on the side of *NSYNC, as opposed to another popular boy band consisting of 5 kids coming out of Orlando in the 90’s. Fast forward to 2011, and as a 25 year old I got bored one night and downloaded the N’Sync discography and wasn’t all that sorry about it. After having a good long listen in the shower and realizing that I remembered way too many of the lyrics, something hit me:

These kids were geniuses.

Okay, all the boy bands of that era had the same idea. But let’s face it, between Backstreet Boys, *N’Sync, Youngestown, LFO, 98 Degrees, Hanson, 2Ge+Her (I mention that one satyrically), the first two were the front-runners of my generation. Except again, I liked N*'”;SYNC better so I’m going to be talking about them pretty much exclusively.

The smart thing about boy bands follows thus: they capitalize on the underdeveloped sexuality of teenage girls. Have you ever been a teenage girl? They have no idea what they want. The real estate is prime then, for telling girls what they *should* want, and that translates into a small briefcase full of archetypes: “The Bad Boy”, “The Jock”, “The Boy Next Door”, “The One No One Likes”, you get the idea. Take this, put it in teen mag quizzes “Which Backstreet Boy is Right For You?” and girls can immediately zone in on their ideal boyfriend.

And what is even better than having a super hottie to fantasize about going to prom with? A super hottie who is sensitive and in tune to your feeeelings. Check these lyrics.

Now I toss and turn
Cause I’m without you
How I’m missing you so bad
Where was my head?
Where was my heart?
Now I cry alone in the dark

– Thinking of You (*NSYNC 1998)

He doesn’t give you the kind of attention
That a girl like you needs (that a girl like you needs)
Cause he always looks around
His eyes wander ’round
He doesn’t see you like I see

– No Strings Attached (No Strings Attached 2000)

“Girl you’re turning me on,
You’re such a fine lady,
And sugar, more and more,
You’re driving me crazy
`Cause you’re just what I want,
And I’m just what you need,
Oh it’s on
I’m gonna make you my baby;
Sweet darlin’ all I can see, Is you and me”
– I Just Wanna Be With You (*NSync 1998)

He just wants to hold you, baby.

-He cries Read: sensitive
-He will treat you better than your current boyfriend, who sounds like a real dirtbag
-Vague promises of sexy times

Do you know what was sexy to me when I was twelve? Cuddling and kissing. When I was that age, “girl, you’re turning me on” did not translate into as it does today – “girl, you’re giving me a boner and I can’t stand up or it’s going to be embarrassing for both of us”. To me, it meant “girl, I wanna hold you and tell you how much I love you all night long and we’ll keep our clothes on”.

And for the most part, these boys were all about keeping it sexy while telling you you’re pretty and keeping the kicks above the waistline. It really plays into this notion for young girls to think they want sex without getting a clear idea of what a sexual relationship entails. Granted, I do feel like twelve year old girls these days have a way clearer idea of what sex is than I did at that age, and that’s precisely why we don’t have bands like N-Sync anymore. They toted an ideal of what a boyfriend should be for a girl growing up in the late 90’s – and weirdly enough, it was all kind of effeminate. Sensitive? Not afraid to cry? Always chasing after you? Impeccable fashion?

Girls bought into it, hard. How could one resist with titles like: “God Must have Spent a Little more Time on You”, or “I Want You Back”, even songs like “Bye Bye Bye” which carries a message of “I love you so much but you’re hurting me” puts the power in the hands of the women. Clearly, we are the most desirable things in the world to them, and what girl doesn’t want that?

But, the fact of the matter is, we all grew up eventually. And if you’re a happy, healthy, well adjusted lady, you realize what real men are and what life is like with them. You start appreciating aspects of masculinity and realize it has nothing to do with being able to sing tenor. At the end of the day, I’m not criticizing *NSYNC or boy bands at all. I do not feel they stunted my growth as a woman, nor do I really feel they did all that much damage to me in terms of my expectations of dating in middle/high school (mostly because I was that loser kid who didn’t date at all). They’re fiction – really catchy fiction that inspires dancing in the shower.

The beautiful thing is that I wasn’t the only one who grew up.

And if that doesn’t earn JT some mad respect, I don’t know what does. Well played, good sirs. Well played.

Read Full Post »