I remember the exact moment One Direction exploded. I was 13 and scrolled through the iTunes home page of my gen-one iPad. I saw a photo of the future famous One Direction – fluffy hair, striped shirts, suspenders and all. At that point, I knew everyone would be talking about it at school the next day, so I picked a favorite (it was Harry Styles. Even little Mary Grace tasted good).
But I don’t think I told anyone at school about my new favorite boy band member. Boy bands weren’t âmy thingâ. In 8th grade, I had just discovered My Chemical Romance and I was wearing these double-layered Converse – you know, the ones where it looks like a slightly bigger shoe eats the one you’re wearing.
I wasn’t actively against the boy band craze like I was with Justin Bieber a year ago. Some of my best friends were obsessed, so I learned all the ins and outs of the â1Dâ fandom. But I couldn’t admit how much I really liked One Direction. Not until it’s too late.
They’ve all broken up now, so my deep love for absurdly catchy boy band pop isn’t going to get the satisfaction of a live show anytime soon. But that won’t stop me from talking about it. If you get me to talk about my favorite boy band, Big Time Rush, I absolutely won’t be able to stop.
Honestly, it’s just something that makes me happy. I know, it’s sweet, but what’s wrong with loving something just because it brings joy. Marie Kondo would be disappointed by all the boy-bands that cause shame. As one of our writers recently wrote, you shouldn’t feel guilty about so-called guilty pleasures.
I mean, One Direction was a cultural phenomenon that dominated the pop culture sphere for years. Her debut album even made The Phoenix’s Best Albums of the Decade list (OK, yes, I added it).
Big Time Rush even had their own hit Nickelodeon show called – you guessed it – “Big Time Rush”.
This show was an anomaly from the early 2010s, telling the fictional origin story of a real boy group. He gave false last names and exaggerated personalities to the real members. Still, the show was still self-aware – one episode acknowledging the British invasion with competing boy groups One Direction and The Wanted.
I watched the four seasons of âBig Time Rushâ last summer to distract myself from the heat of my no-air-conditioned apartment in Chicago and let me tell you, it was gorgeous. It was the perfect combination of nostalgia and upbeat teen romantic drama – the exact strength of boy groups.
Do I want to think about the fact that the majority of these boy band friendships are fabricated by big money making organizations? Absolutely not. Believing that the constructed narrative is half the fun.
But even if their stories aren’t completely authentic, the songs’ messages are. We all felt the longing for One Direction’s âMore Than Thisâ – the boy group just vocalized it so we didn’t have to. I always rave about the Big Time Rush title track when they sing, “Go on and take your luck with the life you choose / If you want it all, put it on the line.”
Whether you just recognize your love of boy bands at 22 or have loved them since Louis loved carrots, don’t be afraid to express that love. As Big Time Rush once sang, “It’s the only life you have so you have to live it big.”
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