It was a part of the musical world that we thought might have died off. During the 1990s, we had the golden age of the boy band, when not only were their more than you could count on your hands, but they were also the biggest force in the charts.
Be them home-grown or American imports, it was these male collectives that were the driving force in pop music.
Then, it all changed. Solo singers and girl groups took over and the boy band was seemingly extinct. Over the last few years though, this relic from pop past has been brought back from the dead and begin, once again to have a say in the musical world.
While there are others around, it really is One Direction who are taking the lead on this front.
Ever since they were pasted together on the 2010 edition of X Factor, the band have been on the course to become one of the biggest pop artists in the world.
Their first single was enough to make them a global hit, an insanely catchy tune that is still, to this day, the group’s highest selling song. Over the past two years, the boys have become the apple of millions of fan’s collective eyes, selling out tours in minutes.
They also easily managed to jump the hurdle that so many UK artists fall over, breaking America straight away and netting a number one album with their very first attempt. Bizarrely this was a feat they couldn’t recreate in their homeland, but that was soon resolved when it came to their sophomore collection.
Their latest album was an absolute monster in the charts, going number one in eighteen different countries and making it one of the biggest albums of 2012, even if our Take Me Home review may not have been the kindest.
With a scarily rabid fanbase in the form of the 'Directioners' that will attack seemingly at will anyone who might dare sully the name of their darling boys (no matter how good a job they’re doing that by themselves), One Direction have quickly become the closest modern day equivalent to Take That or Boyzone in their prime.
One Direction aren’t the only ones leading the charge though. JLS were actually the first to blaze the new path, proving that given the right ammunition and appeal, that the boy band was still a viable prospect. This quartet of vanguards absolutely bludgeoned the charts when they dropped their debut album, with it going quadruple platinum and entering the charts at number one.
In the years following, all of their four albums have come into the charts in the top three and they’ve clocked up five UK number one singles in the process. Impressive by anyone’s standards.
The Wanted have also proved the desire of the boy band, with their second album going platinum and their single Glad You Came going triple platinum in the US. But while their figures are impressive and their (terribly named) ‘TWFanmily’ has just kept growing, even they are powerless against the goliath that is One Direction.
While One Direction may have achieved the same levels of fame and sales that the best bands of the 1990s achieved, they have proved much more divisive than those bands of yesteryear ever were musically. Take That were universally respected and liked, as were Louis Walsh’s Irish imports to a lesser level.
While they may not have been as cool as the Britpop bands coming through, they were at least tolerated by those not in their fan groups. The same cannot be said though for One Direction, as the band has an almost polarising effect. Their teenage audience claim them as messiahs, those on the outside mock and deride them.
There’s also a venom that’s emerging these days that simply was not around back then. Sure, there was competition, but it was usually friendly and the different fan groups would usually unify in their love of the genre, as opposed to get into flame wars about who’s the best band.
Let’s get this straight, we’re nowhere near close to the days of the 1990s when you couldn’t swing a mic stand around a studio without hitting a boy band. But the start of boy bands emerging out of the woodwork like District 3, Union J and ReConnected might prove that the boy band can once again be top of the pile.