When groups like Boyzone and Take That ruled the land of the tweenverse in the 1990s, you’d be forgiven for thinking the decade was merely a byproduct of an experiment into female hormones gone wrong, girls 6 to 26 would fawn over their technicolor and overtly metro sexual paraphernalia – dreaming of the day they’d be plucked away by her pruned and perfumed prince charming.
Ten years later and the female sexual pandemic that kept many a hairbrush wet at night seemed depleted to say the least. Aside from the Backstreet Boys – whose members had ironically been through drug and alcohol addiction – the last remnants of a musical legacy that had given the 90s a bad name was over, but as always, a new one had begun. Girls from Wellington to Washington had ditched the soft-spot for side-step dance moves and replaced it with a fondness for denim, juvenile anarchy and hair gel. Acts like Son of Dork, Busted, The Noise Next Door and McFly epitomised the “pop-to-rock” shift at the turn of the century that would eventually lead an entire generation on to discover Greenday, Blink 182 and real guitar music. Sure, these guys still had the female-allure, but their package was sold on the premise of more than just a singing pre-teen soft porno.
Fast forward another ten years and, holy fuck. Twelve years into what was meant to be the greatest century (and millennia) for humanity, ever, and record execs (supposedly clever people) have just unravelled the fact they took a ten-year holiday on the greatest money-spinner in a single music demographic, ever. Cute, singing, boys. Hell, it took until 2008 when vote-in talent show The X Factor produced JLS, the first inkling that a fresh batch of un-boybanded pubescent young ladies were ready for the reaping. Inevitably, 2010 became the year when the bubble burst, and we collided head-on with The Wanted, a clean cut, lower-vested manifestation of the format we’d all seen before – but revamped and reworked for the 2010s.
And then we come to One Direction – the personification of shitting out five Justin Biebers in one go – a group who’ve recently become the first UK group in history to debut at number one with their first album in the United States, something even The Beatles didn’t manage to accomplish. But why the sudden burst after a decade of boy band dormancy? Vast increases in technology and the creation of social media and networking have all helped to inflate and exasperate a playground group crush into an international feeding frenzy.
I’ve been asked what I think of One Direction’s future; quick flick fame, or on to the realms of super pubescent stardom? Well, imagine Take That in their heyday – only with the ability to instantly and electronically communicate with billions of fans on individual digital platforms. Now call that the Internet, Facebook and Twitter.
Now imagine Robbie never left.