Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Don't Hate the Heartthrob

Okay, so I’ve had One Direction’s Best Song Ever in my head for the last week. Despite the title, I don’t think it’s the best song ever, but despite its refusal to stop playing over and over on my inner entertainment center, I do still think it’s a good song. It’s definitely very catchy. It’s also got me to wondering… why is there so much hate for popular boy bands?
“One Direction totally sucks.” Do they? They can dance, they can sing, they don’t punch kittens, and they’re pretty. Is it the choreography? The lyrics? Does the hate come from jealousy? Do the haters wish they could dance and sing too? So go dance and sing. Isn’t that what American Idol is for?
That’s not it. It’s not that their music is bad or their dance moves are boring. It’s not even that your girlfriend would dump you for the blond one. It’s the hysteria.
I never really understood that feeling. New Kids on the Block showed up when I was in fifth grade, and I can remember my friend CJ going nuts over them. I couldn’t understand where she was coming from. When I was in seventh grade, I knew the name of every member of N’Sync and could sing most of their hits, but I was never dying to have their children.
There was a movement in the United States in the early 1960s that was determined to stop “the British Invasion.” Images of screaming fans in the UK and in Europe were distasteful to them, and they didn’t want American teenagers turning into piles of fangirl goo. Elvis’ popularity had apparently been bad enough.
But there was no holding back The Beatles. Or their fans.
At one concert in Japan in 1966, the crowd was screaming so loud that the band couldn’t hear one another. When it came time to harmonize, George waved his arm around so the crowd would make noise; that way no one would be able to hear when they screwed up. If you go back and listen to the recordings from that concert, you’ll think the band was getting lazy, but it wasn’t their fault that they could hardly hear themselves think.
Don’t hate the heartthrob. Hate the hysteria.

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