In the long and storied history of these United States, there have been a select few occasions where our friends (or enemies) from across the pond have decided it was time to conquer America. From the Revolutionary War to the War of 1812 to Beatlemania, we Americans are no strangers to British invasions. However, it seemed that in the waning decades of the 20th Century, our fellow English speakers were content to stay on their side of the Atlantic. But now, just when we were least expecting it, the Brits have decided to storm our shores once again with their sights set of dominating our vast nation. Musically, that is.
Now that both have a solid foothold in the United States, it’s interesting to see the different paths The Wanted and One Direction seem to be taking. Even though the bands are close in age, their management teams have decided to go in almost opposite directions (no pun intended) with their promotion.
It’s been an amazing week for boy bands, has it not? It’s almost as if we’ve time warped back to 1999. I’m talking, of course, about my two new current obsessions, The Wanted and One Direction. Both are boy bands with four Brits and one Irish dude, both have amazing songs currently on repeat, and, most importantly, both groups are experiencing insane recent success.
Last night I parked myself in front of my television to watch all three and half hours of the 54th Grammy Awards. Overall, it was…. meh, with only a few shining moments of brilliance. To me, it seems that every year the producers of the show find it necessary to bring out the oldest and most tired greats of the music industry. Now, I’m not one to deny Paul McCartney’s greatness or Springsteen’s, or Glen Campbell’s, or Tony Bennett’s, or The Beach Boys’, but seriously? If the show wants to stay fresh, they’re going to have to leave the old folks in their homes. Onto the performances….
I’m going to make a bold claim, 2012 will be the year of the boyband.
I grew up in the era of The Backstreet Boys, 98 degrees, and N’Sync. I was convinced Lance Bass was my soulmate (ha!), Nick Carter had the voice of angels, and Timberlake was a dancing god.
Since these groups formally disbanded and the members went their separate ways, the age of the boyband kind of died. There hasn’t been a legitimate one since the early 2000’s and many people are starting to think that the genre will never come back.
So imagine my surprise when over the last couple of months, two boybands from across the pond are quietly starting to dominate pop culture once again.
Enter The Wanted and One Direction
Complete with deliciously cheesy names that instantly bring me back *sigh*
The interesting thing about these two groups is that they are both entirely composed of boys from the UK. Cute boys with british accents? Cue the swooning. Now I’m just gonna give a little background on each group…
The Wanted formed in late 2009 after a couple of months of open auditions. It contains 5 guys, whose ages range from 18-23. The members include…
Max George: The kinda sorta lead singer ~ the heart throb ~ surprisingly hilarious ~ unfortunately engaged
Nathan Sykes: Best voice out of all of them ~ the cute one ~ Justin Bieberesque ~ single
Jay McGuiness: Singer/Songwriter tone ~ the clever one ~ slightly weird in an adorable way ~ single
Siva Kanaswaran: The harmony dude ~ used to be a model ~ endearingly stupid ~ long term girlfriend
Tom Parker: Rock voice ~ the bad boy ~ super inappropriate and cheeky ~ girlfriend
These guys experienced instant success when their debut singe “All Time Low” (video) went to number 1 in the UK. Their fan following is super passionate and helped launch their self-titled debut album into the top 5. Their second number 1 “Gold Forever” (video) was actually a charity single for Red Nose Day in the UK. Aw, cute and charitable
Their biggest single, however, came out in the middle of 2011 called “Glad You Came (video). It went to number 1, but it’s popularity was felt all the way over here. Because of this song, the band got to preform on The Ellen Degeneres Show and launch a mini-tour of the US (their first one). In fact, just this past week, the song entered the top 40 Billboard charts.
In my opinion, the thing that makes this band great is their connection with their fans. Everywhere they go they bring personal flip cameras to record all their experiences. Every Wednesday, they post a video in a segment called Wanted Wednesday as well as sending out a mailer written by Jay about what they’ve been up to. They are also super active on Twitter with each guy having his own as well as a collective band one. Here are the links: Nathan, Max, Siva, Jay, Tom, Band. They are currently being managed in the US by a man named Scooter Braun. Braun is most famous for discovering a singer you might have heard of… Justin Bieber. To have someone like Braun backing you is a huge deal for these guys and they are definitely poised for a breakthrough in the states.