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The Boy Band Is Back

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Last week, British boy band One Direction debuted at the top of the U.S. album chart with their album “Up All Night” – a one-two punch for teen idols and British artists alike. Today, we’re joined by Village Voice music editor Maura Johnston and Slate and Rolling Stone music critic Jody Rosen to discuss the cyclical nature of boy bands… and to take an international look at the young heartthrobs singing and dancing their way into tween hearts worldwide.

Plus, we open the phones – what is (or was) your favorite boy band? What does that band mean to you?


Maura Johnston and Jody Rosen

Comments [21]

Becky from Saddle Brook, NJ

Let's not forget about syndicated boy band 2ge+her, the highly entertaining satire of the boy band phenomenon, first introduced in a made-for-TV movie on MTV (
The group was made up of five stereotype personalities that were essential to the make-up of a late-nineties boy band like *NSync or Backstreet Boys: The Heartthrob, The Cute One, The Shy One, The Bad Boy and The Older Brother.
With such singles as "U + Me = Us (Calculus)" and "Say It (Don't Spray It)", what's not to love?

Mar. 27 2012 10:55 PM
Paula from Rumson, NJ

Chiming in late--just got home--how about Hanson? They have a relatively recent release "Thinking 'bout somethin" Catchy tune and a cute,
energetic video.

Mar. 27 2012 10:43 PM
Robert Lasky from NY

While "The Monkees" were an early boy band from Britain that capitalized on Beetlemania, "The Sex Pistols," packaged by Malcolm McLaren, shouldn't be overlooked. They probably have more historic importance for helping to usher in the British punk movement, and add a layer of irony to the more common pop nature of boy bands considering the anti-establishment sentiment of the movement and fans.

Mar. 27 2012 05:23 PM
Jeannie from tenafly, nj

Thanks for introducing Shinee to the adult American audience. They are very popular not only in Asia, but in many parts of Europe as well. These boys auditioned as 10, 11 year-olds and trained for many years before debuting. They specialize in stage performance, dancing, singing, and acting.

Mar. 27 2012 04:48 PM
JFreely from NYC

Boy bands may be "back" but I'm glad the hitmakers with those catchy radio hits are largely gals at the moment! Though I always liked more alternative music I played along and just did a radio listening study (focus group) and my thumbs up went to Katy Perry, Kelly Clarkson, Lady GaGa. Yes, it's all over-produced commercial pop but still I'm glad to see the girl power!
Bieber seems just a cute face, inarticulate in interviews and I'm not overly impressed with his barely moderate talent.

Mar. 27 2012 03:00 PM
Sadie from Manhattan

The Jackson 5 clip and shout out may have redeemed the segment.

Mar. 27 2012 02:37 PM
Inquisigal from Brooklyn

Listening to this segment is like going into a bar after work and needing a stiff cocktail and seeing the bar populated by a bunch of helicopter parents and their children.

Mar. 27 2012 02:33 PM
Robin from West Village, NY

What the heck ever happened to Hanson?

Mar. 27 2012 02:31 PM
Jay F.

The Sex Pistols! Weren't they manufactured by Mc Claren?

Mar. 27 2012 02:31 PM
Erika from Brooklyn

There have been many boy bands over the years. Some more hilarious than others (LFO). But there is only one true boy band… The Monkeys! Davey Jones, we will miss you.

Mar. 27 2012 02:31 PM
Francis from New York City

Of course Bieber is a boy band. May be one singer but they layer his voice enough to give that group sound. Sounds like at least five Biebers whining to me.

Mar. 27 2012 02:25 PM
theyearrr2000 from Brooklyn

John, your have officially jumped the shark.

Mar. 27 2012 02:24 PM
Nicky from Manhattan

One word - Kazaky. Ukrainian boy band awesomeness.

Mar. 27 2012 02:23 PM
Amelia from jersey city

Boy bands make great TV. My favorite group growing up was the Monkees Nickelodeon. Now my baby son loves the crazy puppet band on Yo Gabba Gabba. It's all about entertainment.

Mar. 27 2012 02:23 PM
Sophie from Poughkeepsie, NY


I hear enough of this garbage coming from my daughter's room...why is Soundcheck being so pedestrian?

Mar. 27 2012 02:22 PM
Siouxie from Bronx

Ditto above comment. Don't you know who your audience is? Considering all the music that you never pay attention to, this segment is a slap in the face.

I just switched stations.

Mar. 27 2012 02:22 PM
Will from general NYC direction

Best boy-band ever?

-The Beatles. :D

Mar. 27 2012 02:22 PM
Martha from Manhattan

Please solve a decades long debate for my friends and I ... Is Blink 182 a boy band?

Mar. 27 2012 02:21 PM
rodjsr from Washington Heights


Mar. 27 2012 02:21 PM
Mark from Albuquerque

Bay City Rollers rock!!!!

Mar. 27 2012 02:20 PM
Inquisigal from Brooklyn

Sorry, Soundcheck. This segment is ABSURD for an adult NPR audience. I would much rather be introduced to a lesser-known, talented artist of any genre than listen to this.

Mar. 27 2012 02:19 PM

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