Going in ‘One Direction’
Not since the heyday of “New Kids On The Block”, “Backstreet Boys” and “N’SYNC” has there have been such a renewed interest and clamor to once more look for the definitive boy-band. Now, we have “One Direction” to fill out the ranks—unaminously declared by numerous critics, voting polls and of course, the fans, to be the number one boy-band today. Girls, and even some guys, have been going bonkers over these five British chaps.
One thing that “One Direction” has going for them is their distinct “charm” that every boy-band needs to make it to appeal across the border and to grow from a regional fanbase to a global fanbase that would number in the millions! There has to be also that intangible quality—some may call it having “IT”—or just possessing that much sought-after “Star Quality”! Whatever term or definition it goes by, if you don’t have it, it would be hard to make it in the record business. It takes more than talent; sometimes it is more of the kind of personality you have, the way you connect with the fans and just being plain likable.
And who was one of the first people in the record industry to take notice of all that and saw something special in these five young boys? He is none other than Simon Cowell who saw that these five boys have “IT”! Simon Cowell, being the savvy businessman that he is, wasted no time in signing the boys to his own record label “Syco Records”. He made the right decision because “One Direction” was an immediate draw and a hit with the fans right off the bat!
Simon Cowell may not be an artist. Neither is he really a musician in the purest sense of the word. But he happens to be an A&R executive and a television producer who definitely knows how to spot talent and when to sign an artist from the get-go. That is talent in its own right! Something that not a lot of people possess, or if they do have that talent, it is mostly self-serving and not beneficial for others.
So, regardless if Simon Cowell may sometimes be one of the most despised judges simply for telling it the way it is and just speaking his mind, nobody can really question or doubt his business acumen. At the end of the day, the record industry is indeed a BUSINESS and “One Direction” has become big business and a money-making machine. Just look at all the merchandise, look at the digital sales, look at the in-store record sales, and the number of chart topping hits they already have! The numbers speak for themselves and you can’t argue with those. For now, Simon Cowell has “One Direction” as the number one boy-band in the world!
In a span of barely two years, these five boys have brought back the “boy-band” phenomenon, once considered to be “dead” and long over with ever since the “bubble-gum pop” movement ended in the early 2000’s. It has now come back full force and we are feeling the effects of it today.
Even the origin of how “One Direction” was formed is almost a standard or a timeless tale. Individually, the five members of “One Direction” didn’t stand out or make much of an impact when they were auditioning for the British reality television show “The X-Factor”. But when they all got together as a collective unit, that was when they discovered what they could become. Because there are certain individuals who truly only become artists when they are performing together and are on stage. This is the case in point with “One Direction”—who, as a tight-knit group of guys who have achieved worldwide success and fame they are enoying now—as a boy-band.
Because while most boy-bands inevitably break up and go their separate ways, such as the case of Justin Timberlake when he broke away from “N’SYNC”, that crucial and well-timed career move did work wonders for him, and proved that he can also excel as a solo artist. In fact, when we hear his name these days, we don’t really remember anymore his time with “N’SYNC”. That is a sign of progress for him and the growth he has achieved as a solo artist. However, the same can’t be said for another N’SYNC member JC Chasez, whose attempt to have a solo career floundered and sank even before it had begun. But that was them and “N’SYNC”.
In the case of “One Direction”, I don’t see them breaking up anytime soon. In fact, it should be a few years more if that would even happen and take place. But if it does happen, it wouldn’t be to purposely disappoint their fans. It would only mean that their run would have just ended, and that is inevitable.
In my opinion, if there would be one break-away star or a member who could make it on his own years from now after “One Direction” is no longer active, that would be Harry Styles. I consider him to be the leader of the group. Plus, anytime you can have a high profile relationship with another “Pop-idol” in the likes of Taylor Swift as he has had, that already raises your stock considerably.
Of course, each fan has his/her own favorite member, but I rank him to be “D’ Guy”! But all of that could change as time progresses and as their career as a unit moves forward. The second member in whom I see a lot of potential is Louis Tomlinson. My bet is they are the two members who might make it on their own in the future. But for now, given that this boy-band does continue to sell millions and they don’t experience any unwarranted problems, I don’t see anything stopping the dominance of these five boys in gaining more fans. They haven’t even reached their peak yet and that is still a long way to go. Here is wishing “One Direction “more success and one day, I hope they would perform here for their fans.
Compared to other boy-bands in the past and from a different era, I view “One Direction” as a younger, more polished, clean-cut and “friendlier” version of the older boy bands I mentioned earlier. My personal opinion is that just like any artists, they have their own target audience—an age group that they can appeal to the most and would be identified with. If boy-bands like “N’SYNC”, when they were in their prime and when they were all still young, were also around now the same time with “One Direction”, I still think “One Direction” would have the upper-hand in having more fans than “N’SYNC”.
The existence of boy-bands like “One Direction” is needed. Otherwise, the music landscape wouldn’t be balanced and it just wouldn’t feel right! While the argument can always be raised that not all kinds of artists can fit in the already limited pool of available mainstream artists in the record industry, I beg to differ because I believe there is room for everybody—whether you are a solo artist, part of a band, in a group, or a member of a boy band. I, in fact, don’t find anything wrong with artists like “One Direction”.
I think these guys really have a purpose—they serve as “Pop-idols” from teenagers to young adults. We all went through that phase in our young lives. I recall that when I was in my early teens, I had a crush on Geri Halliwell of the “Spice Girls”. In fact, a lot of my peers also did and it was something we were either too ashamed to admit or shy of saying, at the time. You could say it was sort of a guilty pleasure.
I can relate to the kids and teenagers of today, because I was once a teen myself. So, let these kids and teenagers enjoy their “Pop-Idols” while they are still active and around. It is an important and unavoidable phase in every music aficionado’s life. Being young is great and you only get to live your youth when you are young! Enjoy it while you still have it, I say!
For some, it can be so easy to dislike artists who represent the pop-spectrum of music. But in a way, aren’t we all “pop”? Pop isn’t only classified or categorized as a genre or a style of music. It also means whatever is in demand, widely known, and recognized which can also mean that you are popular. Pop is also short for or an acronym for popular. Whatever the crowd wants, cheers for, and is bought in mass amounts by music aficionados is under the umbrella of “Popular Music”. Basically, whatever sells, is pop music.
“One Direction” is a perfect representation of that! They may be as pop as they come, but they are also what sells. There is virtually no person who doesn’t know their name. In relation to this, I can say “Pop-Music” is, at the moment, the “life blood” of the entire recording industry. Without artists like “One Direction” =, things would become dull and boring. We need artists like them for many reasons. Everyone has a purpose in the recording industry and I don’t see anything wrong with that!
Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94