The never ending story of boy bands

As the lights dim down, the surrounding voices shudder with excitement.

The smell of popcorn wafts through the air as groups of eager girls whisper loudly at each other, “Zayn is my favorite!” and “I can’t wait to see Harry!”

The previews are barely audible as the anticipation of the fans grows. When the main feature starts, screams and cheers break out from the crowd, as if they are at a concert venue instead of a movie theater.

That is just a tiny speck of the phenomena known as One Direction.

The 3-D concert movie, "One Direction: This is Us," raked in a worldwide gross of more than $51 million, according to Box Office Mojo website.

With a third album coming out this November and a fan base of millions, One Direction prove the power of boy band success.

“I feel like they're my first [favorite boy band],” says Santa Monica College student Kevin Quiroz.

However, One Direction is just one of many that emerged from a large group of preceding boy bands, ranging from the Jackson Five to the Jonas Brothers.

In 1996, the boy band known as *NSYNC came into the scene with songs like “Tearin’ Up My Heart” and “Bye Bye Bye.”

After their last album "Celebrity" in 2001, the group soon faded away into obscurity, but left room for Justin Timberlake to dominate the charts as a solo artist.

At this year's MTV Video Music Awards, *NSYNC made a surprising comeback appearance, performing short bits of some of their most popular songs.

That short VMA performance reignited and excited the group's old fans again.

“I really like their music because it’s catchy and *NSYNC is a classic,” says SMC student Farah Mynaf.

Many older boy bands have made comebacks in the last few years, bringing excitement to their older fans who were able to see their favorite bands perform again.

“Their fan base grows older, as do the boy bands,” says Mynaf.

Leyla Hezav, who went to see the One Direction movie, describes some of the charms boy bands possess.

"They have good songs, cute boys, and are really good entertainers overall,” she says.

Another boy band trend that seems to be inevitable is the eventual fading away from popularity and sold-out arenas.

While they may vanish from the charts, it is questionable if they vanish from the hearts of their fans as well.

“Even though they aren’t as relevant anymore, I still think they're great," says Mynaf. “I’ll always like [*NSYNC] unless they do something crazy."

Quiroz says that it is all strategic marketing that makes boy bands appealing.

“They’re very smart," he says. "They know what girls want and what drives them crazy."

As the magic of the One Direction movie fades away, the harsh fluorescent lights of the theater lobby shine into the eyes of the tear-streaked and emotionally exhausted fans as they remove their 3-D glasses and dump them into the nearest recycling bin.

But no matter how extreme the love of fans can be, times change and they move on from one boy band to the next.

“Fans grow up and move on with their lives,” Quiroz said. “Until the next boy group comes along and changes all the rules."

However, one thing remains certain; as long as there is music, there will always be boy bands.

CultureJeanette ZhukovComment