Yesterday’s pop music phenomenon, Bieber Fever, is now a thing of the past. Today, the epidemic that’s sweeping the world is One Direction infection. The British five-member boy-band called One Direction has gained immense popularity in North America in recent months, following the March 13 release of their album “Up All Night.” With a combination of classic hair-swishing looks (a la Justin), expert use of social media platforms, and teenage-romance pop tracks, One Direction has acquired an American following that includes numerous Tam students.
“Their songs are incredibly catchy and you can’t get them out of your head,” said sophomore Grace Batmale, a self-proclaimed “Directioner” since last year. “They’re young, attractive men. Why wouldn’t they make it?”
Now-familiar tracks such as “What Makes You Beautiful” and “One Thing” surge from the radio with peppy vigor, featuring the young men brought together by British talent show “The X Factor”: Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Niall Horan and Louis Tomlinson. After losing individually and then as a group in the show, the newly formed One Direction scored a major record deal with Simon Cowell’s company, Syco Records, catapulting them to fame in the U.K. and ultimately in the U.S.
“[Their music] is really easy and fun to jump around and dance to,” said sophomore Cate Wilmoth, “either with your friends, or in your room – when you are supposed to be doing homework, but would rather procrastinate.”
“Justin Bieber is famous. And they’re like five Justin Biebers,” said Batmale of the band’s success.
One Direction has come under criticism for their cliché lyrics as well as the general quality and originality of their music. “I think it’s the epitome of dumb [...] pop music,” said freshman Jordan Blackburn.
Some students think that the members’ looks, rather than their less-than-perfect music, spur the One Direction craze. “I believe that the women at Tam only like them because of their physical features,” said sophomore Trevor Guyton. “Many times, I have heard people talk about them and all I hear is about their attractiveness. It’s kind of strange to me that boy-bands are coming back.”
Blackburn agreed. “Nobody really listens to the band for their excellent music. It’s all about the celebrities that make up the band. And it’s just kind of gross.”
As long as there is teenaged romance, there will be a place for boy bands in our culture. What they may lack in talent or originality, they make up for in sex appeal and classic pop sound. Love or hate the band, one thing is certain: One Direction Infection is spreading faster than mono at a high school dance.