Simmy Richman: Hey! Older lady! Leave them boys alone

Share
Related Topics

Has there ever been a better time for girls who like to scream during pop concerts? Examine the evidence. Take That's "comeback" album, Progress, has just become the "fastest-selling album of the century", shifting 235,000 units in two days. Last week, there were new albums from Westlife and JLS. Simon Cowell's One Direction, meanwhile, appear to be building up an unstoppable head of scream with every passing week on The X Factor, while New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys, the two biggest boy bands of all time, are currently in talks for a comeback tour together. This is a golden age for boy bands in all their finite and formulaic forms.

Screaming girls, all-singing, all-dancing young men.... What's not to love? Only – and I know this seems to be stating the obvious, but bear with me – the music. "The fastest-selling album of the century" is, in fact, a cunning marketing term, meaning the fastest-selling album of the past 10 years. Westlife are all now men in their thirties who really ought to consider changing their name to Shelflife. JLS had one good song (their first, "Beat Again") and have since lent their name to condoms, a product as disposable as they are starting to look. And One Dimension, sorry Direction, have the dubious honour of being the first boy band in history to have been manufactured in front of our very eyes.

Though the tweenie population is entitled to the same explosion of choice as the rest of us, surely there isn't enough space on their bedroom walls for more than one or two prospective husbands?

So what the hell is going on here? And further, what became of that promise of girl power, when young females were as happy to attach their allegiance to girl bands (an altogether different proposition, as these have never been aimed at teen and pre-teen boys)? Didn't our nation's youth once seem to have collectively outgrown this kind of drivel? Isn't the 21st century the time to put the whole boy-band phenomenon to bed?

A female colleague tells me that such girl pop-star crushes are, in the words of the Jackie magazine of her day, an important part of the growing process for young women. They are, she was assured, "a chance to explore all those feelings that you will have in a grown-up relationship without the risk of getting hurt".

Which makes a sort of sense, but if that's why boy bands exist, why do we bother pretending that it's about anything else? Why do the serious newspapers and magazines bother reviewing these albums as if their readers are remotely interested? As a music fanatic, do I really need, say, one of our broadsheet competitors to take up its precious CD reviews space to tell me that the new JLS album "takes few risks" and is "lyrically on familiar ground as hands are thrown in the air, DJs are keeping people dancing and love grows stronger every day".

I do not. But while I can't have any control over what the youth of today is into and certainly wouldn't expect anyone under 30 to share my love of folk/blues/country-based soft rock, I do make an appeal to the older lady who should know better.

If you really want to relive your youth by going to see acts that were terrible the first time round, with your tongue in your cheek and your head high on Chardonnay, for goodness' sake don't do that screaming thing. It will only encourage them, and we really need to shed a few.

React Now

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, Accreditation, ITIL)

£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...

C# Developer (HTML5, JavaScript, ASP.NET, Mathematics, Entity)

£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

C# Integration Developer (.NET, Tibco EMS, SQL 2008/2012, XML)

£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...

Biztalk - outstanding opportunity

£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A new election forecast indicates Nick Clegg's Liberal Democrats may hold the power in deciding who forms the next government  

General election latest: computer model predicts the Lib Dems might have even more of an influence than they do now

John Rentoul
Mrs Brown's Boy: D'Movie has been a huge commercial success  

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

DJ Taylor
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?