Abigail’s Corner: From J-Beibs to J-Bros


Story by Abigail O'Gorman, Co-Entertainment Editor

“From J-Biebs to J-Bros: Terrible Pop Music Throughout the Ages”

Most teenage girls have at some point in their early adolescence gone through an unfortunate phase in which they become frighteningly obsessed with effeminate chart-toppers who all have identical haircuts and, for reasons unknown, wear sparkly purple pants unironically. That’s right. I’m talking about the teen pop stars.

Before we set out on our mystical journey of bad music nostalgia, let me make something abundantly clear: if you’re over the age of 14 and you still think Justin Bieber or the Jonas Brothers or any of their skinny jeans-bedecked brethren are cute, you need to turn your TV off Disney Channel and take a long hard look and your life and your priorities. And for heaven’s sake, take down those ridiculous posters and stop talking about how Justin and Selena are “ment 2 b!”

Okay, now that the crazies are gone, let’s get down to the bizniss. In order to truly understand the teen pop phenomenon, we must journey back to the arcane ethers of its earliest beginnings: The Era of the Boy Bands.

This epoch commenced in the late nineties, when music executives first realized that 12-year-old girls are capable of buying CDs. They quickly threw together a few MC Hammer pants-wearing rainbow brigades of marginally talented dandies and, lo, the boy band was born.

To this day, it is still possible to instigate fistfights among college-age women by bringing up the old debate of whether *N-Sync is better than the Backstreet Boys. I refuse to involve myself in such trivial debates, but if you won’t admit that Nick Carter could trounce Justin Timberlake any day, I’ll fight you.

Though the first generation of teen pop stars have popped, locked, and dropped it into the sunset, their heavily autotuned spirit lives on in the boy bands of today. Who among even the most hard-hearted of us can say that watching Joe Jonas dance to “Single Ladies” did not coax a tear from their eye? Though the JoBros are, perhaps, nearing the tail end of their moment in the spotlight, they will be immortalized in the vaunted halls of treacly pop music history as The Cute One, The Weird One, and The Emo-Looking One.

Closely related to the Jonas Brothers is that oft-lambasted Canadian, the Right Honorable Justin Bieber. Though Biebs’ signature style is his boyish charm and Donald Trump-like (Trumpian?) hairdo rather than the JoBros’ purity rings and general smarminess, these two giants of the bubblegum pop genre pander to nearly identical markets: romantically suggestible preteen girls with somewhat lax musical standards.

Bieber has caught downright enormous amounts of flak for his girlish appearance and annoyingly sugary oeuvre, but nevertheless he sits upon his throne of millions of (Canadian) dollars and laughs at the bitter plebes who dare to post mean comments on his Youtube channel. J-Biebs may be an underdeveloped wannabe lothario, but he certainly knows how to play the market, the crafty scamp.

Even the present moment, the Lovecraftian entity that is The Boy Band is emerging in a new, terrifying form.

It comes, this time, from across the Atlantic Ocean. After a group of teenage British boys caught the hawkish eyes of record company executives when performing on X-Factor, these starry-eyed musical neophytes were molded into a lean, mean, money-making machine: they became a deplorably wholesome multiracial boy band. They were named “One Direction” by some unknown marketing exec, a moniker which sounds more fitting as a name for one of those angsty Christian groups than a band whose members all look like twinks who only go to the posh clubs.

As someone whose sister is obsessed with One Direction to the point of writing fanfiction about them, I am privy to more information about these plastic-y Englanders than anyone could ever possibly desire to know. As a result, I really, really hate One Direction.

I would buy cardboard cutouts of all the members just to punch holes through their faces while screaming, “Who lights up your world like nobody else now? MY FIST!” I normally regard passing fads with a sort of amused condescension, but if you ask me, the sooner One Direction breaks up in a Lance Bass-esque fashion, the better. Boy bands have gone to the dogs.

Man, I really miss Nick Carter.