Why We’re All Still Boy Band Obsessed

For me, it all started with the Backstreet Boys. One chorus of “I Want it That Way” was all it took- I was hooked. At only five-years-old, I was completely obsessed with their look and sound. Time might have passed, but my love still rings true. Which leaves me wondering: why am I still in a boy band phase at the age of 21? And why are so many college women in the same boat?

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This boy band phenomenon is nothing new. When Beatlemania washed over America in the ’60s, women were in hysterics over this new type of music and the handsome faces that came with it. The message here is clear: as long as there are boy bands, there will be girls around to adore them.

After Backstreet Boys and NSYNC shrank into obscurity, the Jonas Brothers took over the limelight. The well-groomed Disney trio came onto the Billboard Charts (and into hearts of girls worldwide) with a bang. Concert ticket prices were skyrocketing at an astronomical rate. I remember being 13 and so angry with my mother for not letting me camp outside in Central Park for the chance to see the JoBros live.

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While each of the Jonas Brothers have since moved on, either as solo projects in the industry or with their personal lives, we were ready to welcome new boy bands to the scene and grew eager to fill the void left behind.

Enter One Direction. From England and Ireland, One Direction provided an exotic twist to the boyband narrative. Sure, they were handsome and had some catchy pop tunes, but they also have accents and they were formulated on a reality show by music tycoon Simon Cowell. Because they were formed on The X-Factor, they came onto the music scene with something to prove. One Direction fans were spread across the world unparalleled to anything before, even Beatlemania was not as quickly spread. Fans lined the streets just for a glimpse of the handsome heartthrobs. (And yes, I slept outside in Central Park and got to see them.)

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What is it that these men all have in common and why are so many women drawn to them? The answer is simple: Boy bands provide an almost unconditional love to their listeners. Their music radiates positivity, self-love, and provides comfort to numerous insecurities.

For example, One Direction’s “Little Things” croons, “I know you’ve never loved the sound of your voice on tape, you never want to know how much you weigh. You still have to squeeze into your jeans, but you’re perfect to me.” Who doesn’t love this kind of confidence boost from gorgeous pop stars?

Obviously it helps that these guys are easy on the eyes, but when it comes down to it, it’s the music that speaks to us.

Aside from the music, there is  a community of women who love these bands. I have met many friends — including my best friend — through of a shared love for a song or for a band member. There is a sense of camaraderie amongst boy band fans — we’ll brave the unknown just for a chance at scoring concert tickets.

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Boy bands aren’t going anywhere, either. With the rise of 5 Seconds of Summer, who puts an Australian, rock and roll spin on the phenomenon, there’s only more boy bands to come. And I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty excited to see who comes next.

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