Boy bands have played a dominate role throughout music history. These all male groups are most remembered for their ability to both sing and perform cringe-worthy synchronized choreography, and for each having gorgeous good looks, which caused hordes of screaming teenage girls to chase after them. Over the years, boy bands have evolved and had their periods of popularity, but just when we thought we had finally seen them disappear with the ‘90s, they made a surprise return in the late ‘00s. This unexpected reprise of boy bands has introduced us to a new era of boy bands; all male groups who no longer perform the moronic choreography that we are familiar with, and who are finding fame in a more technological world.
This new era of boy bands has challenged our predetermined notions of what classifies an all male group as “boy band”, and has caused us to re-evaluate the ways in which boy bands used to grow their success and fame. However, there’s one variable that hasn’t changed, and that’s the crazy dedication from the younger generation. Which leads us to our question: why are boy bands so popular among the younger generation?
We surveyed the experts in this field (the fans of boy bands) via a Twitter poll and asked them questions based around the sudden boy band phenomena.
The definition of a boy band is more complicated in modern music than it was back in the 90’s, which is why we asked the audience ‘What classifies an all male group as a boy band?’. 33% said that it was based om good looks and personality, the other 33% is was based on musical ability/talent, 17% said it depended on their popularity, and the other 17% said it was the product of their management and record label.
Next, we asked for their opinion on ‘Which boy band has the most fame and success?’. As expected, there were mixed results, but ultimately it came down to three bands: 50% voted in favour of Backstreet Boys, 25% in favour of One Direction, and 25% in favour of NSYNC.
Finally, we asked the most important question and the one at the heart of research: ‘Why do you think boy bands are popular among our generation?’. Truthfully, we were prepared for a higher audience reaction to some of the available voting options compared to others, however we were surprised to find there was a unanimous vote towards one response: ‘good looks’.
So what does this mean?
Boy bands are thriving with sexuality, whether it’s intentional or unintentional, which can be very appealing to young girls (and maybe boys; no discrimination), who are currently experiencing adolescence and exploring their feelings of love and lust. As the New York Times explained in their article, “the varying personalities of boy bands’ members could be seen as a testing ground for attraction”. We won’t get into the logistics of puberty, but basically with the increase in hormones and sudden sexual urges, the younger generation is the perfect target audience for boy bands. The fact that there are multiple members in the group, with all different looks and personalities, it makes it easier to attract girls and boys of different ages and personal tastes.
But from what we can see from the Twitter polls and from our own knowledge of the boy band phenomena, good looks aren’t the only thing that causes boy band hysteria; musical ability/talent play a key part too. Boy bands can’t just rely on good looks and personality, there has to be some evidence of musical ability/talent for them to be successful. Without good music and vocals, there won’t be any media coverage, which will drastically hinder their popularity and audience numbers, and even worse, without positive audience feedback there will be no income. That’s why TV talent shows, such as X factor, produce very successful boy bands as the show allows audiences to both hear and see the band before deciding whether or not to support them.
So now we can see that boy bands appeal to the younger audience because of one of many factors. If a boy band has the good looks, and are able to create some nicely-written music as well as harmonize with each other, then they have a big chance at fame and popularity.
Are you a fan of the boy band phenomena? Do you agree with our analysis? Do you think boy bands will continue to be a music trend? Let us know!