Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Official Tweenage Wasteland Official Boy Band Watch

In the late 90s and early 00s, your bloggers were hardcore boy band fans. For the past few years, we have missed seeing groups of three to five clean-cut young gentleman dancing in unison to catchy, inoffensive pop hits. But, like the swallows returning to Capistrano, boy bands are a cyclical phenomenon, and we’ve been watching for warning signs that they are making a comeback.

There are several boy bands out there now, still in the embryonic stage, but ready to dance for your amusement. And so Tweenage Wasteland is proud to present the Official Tweenage Wasteland Official Boy Band Watch, in hopes that boy bands will soon be tearing up our hearts, and the dance floor, once more.

We’ll be rating these groups in five categories: Image, Archetypes, Music Video, Personality, and Oh Yeah, The Music.

Image is, of course, the most important aspect of a boy band. Don’t lie and say it’s the music. It’s what strikes you visually when you first encounter the band. Good image makes you want to find out more.

Archetypes are very important. 2Ge+ther famously delineated the boy band archetypes as The Heartthrob, The Cute One, The Shy One, The Bad Boy, and The Older Brother, but there are other equally valid ones like The Old One, The Funny One, The Other One, and most importantly, The Little Blond One. Take a moment to think about it. You recognize these archetypes. A boy band does not require all of them, but it does require a good sampling of the key ones, and clear delineation of who is who.

The Music Video is self-explanatory, and also key – less so now that Total Request Live is no longer a cultural zeitgeist, but still very important.

Personality is what comes after Image. It’s what makes you fall in love with a band, or make you want to leave nasty comments about them on their YouTube channel.

Oh Yeah, The Music. Whatever.

So put on your 98 Degrees T-shirt, turn on “I Want It That Way” on iTunes, and stay tuned for the Tweenage take on the latest wave of boy bands.


Ryan W. Mead said...

With the Gloved One's passing on everyone's mind, I pose the following question: Jackson Five- first boy band?

Rebecca said...

I think that depends on how you define "boy band". If you mean specifically three to five guys singing and doing choreographed dance, then they are certainly the first *I* can think of. But if you just mean a group put together by a music impresario who are, at least initially, given music written by someone else to perform, then there were prefab groups at least back through the early 60s (if not earlier -- not all were well known), though none with real historical impact spring to mind until the Monkees.

Ryan W. Mead said...

Interesting thought. It's a matter of opinion, of course, but to me the Monkees don't seem like a boy band- they seem to me as an attempt to capitialize on the success of the Beatles, who, as you pointed out, were not a boy band. However, the Beatles (at least in their early days) and the Monkees both had a lot of the same things that a lot of future boy bands would have: a goofy fun-loving persona, tons of screaming fans, etc. which can be seen in groups to this day (most notably your dreaded nemeses the Jonas Brothers). I don't think the Jackson Five had a goofy, fun-loving persona, but I could be wrong. They had their own cartoon show, at least.