By Melissa Kinsley
Niall. Zayn. Liam. Harry. Louis. If you are swooning right now, you are a tween girl.
Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson are One Direction. They, like every boy band before them, comprise of good looking young men who explode onto the pop music scene to throngs of screaming girls.
There is no doubt that One Direction is the latest singing sensation. Posters, t-shirts, teen magazines, Instagram names and posts all pay homage to the gorgeous boys from the UK. The throngs of young girls, tweens, and teens that support the band are called “Directioners.”
They launched their careers on the X-Factor. While they came in third, they have caused quite the stir internationally and successfully broke into the competitive US music market. MTV has showered them with awards. But, most notable is that their debut album, “Up All Night,” not only topped charts worldwide but debuted on the US Billboard 200 chart at the enviable #1 position. “. . .One Direction was inducted into the Guinness World Records, by debuting at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart, making One Direction the first British group in US chart history to debut at number one with their first album.”
As you’d expect, I did a ton of research for this blog. I sing along to their songs and know who Harry is but the rest of the boys sort of blend together for me. I was unsure of who the lead singer is and whether they play their own instruments. (Answers: 1) There is no lead singer but many articles talk about how Columbia tried to make Harry Styles the front man due to his confidence and devilish good looks. 2) They just sing but supposedly have the ability to play instruments–Niall Horan the guitar, Liam Payne guitar and piano, Harry Styles the kazoo, Zayn Malik the triangle, & Louis Tomlinson the piano. Note: the article did qualify their ability with “can play a little bit of. . .”)
What I did not expect to come across in my research was a comparison to the Beatles. (I am sure John Lennon is rolling in his grave.) I was curious if anyone had asked Paul McCartney what he thought of One Direction and whether or not they’re the “next Beatles.” I found the following Paul McCartney quote on PerezHitlton.com:
“(That’s the) kiss of death. So many bands, they all get called the next Beatles. It puts an awful lot of pressure on them to be the next Beatles. Oasis were the next Beatles once, if you remember. It’s pressure because suddenly you have got to live up to all the things that we did. It was a different time back then. So let’s just call them the next terrific band.”
There are similarities for sure—they are from the UK (Niall is from Ireland and the rest are from England), they are good looking and they sing. Also like the Beatles, the band is made up of boys with varying looks and personalities over whom any young girl can swoon. The debate over who the cutest One Directioner is as emotionally embroiled as which of the Beatles was cutest.
But, I agree with Paul McCartney. Let’s not get crazy. They are one “terrific band.” They are not the Beatles.
Paul, John, George and Ringo certainly made girls swoon back in the day. But, they will never be called a boy band. They are iconic and created a musical revolution –Beatlemania, The British Invasion. Their songs still play on radio stations. They are timeless. And, as Paul McCartney said, a lot to live up to. If we’re honest, it’s downright impossible.
One thing’s for sure. Thanks to two hits in a very short time (“What Makes You Beautiful” and “One Thing”), they are not going to get the dreaded moniker of “one hit wonders.” Their second album, “Take Me Home,” comes out November 13th. According to billboard.com, the first single, “Live While We’re Young,” debuted at #3.
What do you think—is One Direction the “next Beatles” or just “one terrific” boy band? What does your child think? Here are two videos to help you decide:
1) Beatles, “Here Comes the Sun:” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6tV11acSRk
2) One Direction, “What Makes You Beautiful:” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJO3ROT-A4E
My tween’s vote? She doesn’t think One Direction should be compared to the Beatles at all. To her, it is an outright insult as One Direction are better singers and are way better looking. As for the talent comment, boy, does she have a lot to learn.
* Info source: http://www.bbc.co.uk