Boy band invasion

It seems that, every decade, new sensations emerge in the entertainment industry that perfectly fit the vision of the formulaic boy band. Here are the most popular two at the moment, brought to the United States from Britain.

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One Direction

They sold out their Dec. 3 Madison Square Garden performance less than an hour after the tickets went on for sale.

They set the record for the highest number of pre-orders of their debut single sold by Sony Records, despite Sony having handled mega-famous artists like Beyoncé and Michael Jackson.

They became the first U.K. group to debut their album at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard charts, beating out the Beatles and The Rolling Stones.

Clearly, this isn’t just any ordinary band.

The X Factor-formed boy band One Direction (including singers Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Zayn Malik and Louis Tomlinson) has been taking heat lately for being just that — a boy band. However, after making waves in countries bordering the Atlantic Ocean, it’s safe to say that the term is slowly losing its derogatory connotation.

The combination of their debut single “What Makes You Beautiful” as well as their album Up All Night has charmed the hearts of tweens, teens, grown women and even some gentlemen. The songs on the album range from slow and romantic ballads to upbeat, energetic dance tunes.

Each boy is allowed the chance to shine as the solos rotate from song to song. There’s definitely a reason that they made it big on a singing competition show — their voices are as beautiful as their faces (excuse my fangirling).

With their flood of TV appearances on shows including Saturday Night Live, their ability to create mass hysteria, and their arrival onto the cover of almost every entertainment magazine in the business, it is apparent that their success can only go “one direction” — up.

by Brianna Leyden


The Wanted

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The Wanted might already have four Top 5 singles, two No. 1 hits, 30 million YouTube views and approximately 400,000 copies of their debut album (cleverly titled The Wanted) already sold, but most Americans only know this Brit-pop group as the driving force behind the radio-friendly song “Glad You Came.”

With the comeback of the boy band, The Wanted may just have a bright future on this side of the pond, too. Their heart-stopping good looks and charming accents can only help the cause.

In 2009 Max George, Tom Parker, Siva Kaneswaran, Jay McGuiness and Nathan Sykes entered the music world as Boy Band 2.0, the cooler, less sickeningly sweet version of bands like Hanson and N’Sync. Sure, all their songs are still about girls and sex and heartbreak, but they somehow come across as less pathetic than their predecessors. The Wanted’s debut album may not prove this point quite as thoroughly, however, as their sophomore album, Battleground.

Battleground contains a dash of adultery, more than a little objectification and an abundance of euro-pop club music beats and slow ballad jams. It’s the dubstep-esque bass lines that make this album so popular, but it doesn’t hurt that the boys have taken a less bleak perspective on life.

The world is getting tired of Adele’s constant man trouble, Kelly Clarkson’s need to declare independence and Bruno Mars’ desperation. The Wanted provides the perfect escape route: upbeat songs about doing what you want, when you want.

by Hayley Battenberg