Why One Direction Could Actually Go Down In (Boy Band) History

11.16.15 2 years ago

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 26: One Direction (lL-R) Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne, Niall Horan, Zayn Malik and Harry Styles arrive at the 28th Annual ARIA Awards 2014 at the Star on November 26, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

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In 2007, VH1 aired a reality show called Mission: Man Band (note: this was during the time when all of VH1’s programming was nostalgia-based). It featured former members of LFO, 98 Degrees and *NSYNC trying to shed their boy band pasts and form a successful “man band.” The band in question was called Sureshot, and being that you’ve almost certainly never heard of them, that answers your question regarding whether or not this show was successful. It was a reminder that boy bands are almost never viable beyond a few years.

Boy bands generally have a pretty fast-approaching expiration date for obvious reasons. For one thing, they appeal to a specific fan base of young girls who will get older, and discover other – and probably better – music. Perhaps more importantly, they tend to represent a moment in time. When we think of New Kids on the Block, we think of the late ’80s; when we think Backstreet Boys or *NSYNC, we think of the late ’90s/early 2000s. Boy bands are often a microcosm of a three to four-year period, and we move on from them pretty quickly. That’s been the rule for decades, but with One Direction, who released their fifth studio album Friday, it’s hard not to wonder if they might be the exception to the rule.

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