A. The Happy Early Days
Listening to boybands is a guilty pleasure. Some might say it is a pleasure, others might find it guilty, and the rest would say it is both. But whether we like it or not, the boyband has become a part of the music growth. While literally the term means some boys who are committed in a band, nowadays it refers to a clean-cut vocal group of boys singing pop or R&B and targeted mostly to younger audience. It is in fact not a band for they do not really play instruments.
The form has actually existed quite some time ago; if you remember Bee Gees or Jackson Five. New Kids on the Block which was found in 1984 nevertheless was the first major group which really belonged to this category. In fact, although the term itself was made popular far after this group split, the latter boybands adapted the form from them with their typical easy listening songs and choreography which can make the audience ever so often ignorant about the quality of their live singing.
I am certain we all know about the fact I have just mentioned. However, let us see this matter from different point of view. In any case, New Kids was absolutely harmless compared to the successors, such as Backstreet Boys, *NSync, or Blue. Unlike those which fairly seem to expose more sexuality, New Kids were more consistent about their choice in targeting adolescents. Their songs, which were written by themselves, were mostly quite clean. You could hardly find even a kiss on their videos. In worse case, no other boyband could top the Forbes magazine's richest entertainers list. These kids from Boston did take the place from comedian Bill Cosby back in 1991.
Following the success, in early nineties, a counterpart was born in the UK. And that was when boybands changed their appearance in the name of Take That. These boys, including major song writer Gary Barlow and the infamous Robbie Williams, pictured boyband in a more mature way, whether it was in the musical sense or their performance. They still had the classic boyish look, but they covered it with more sensual choreographies. Gary Barlow did write several brilliant tracks though, including "Pray" and "Back for Good". I don't know if they were known in the US, but they surely were in Europe and Asia.
And so, the boyband era was begun. They emerged not only from the US and UK, but all over the world; from big names such as Boyzone, Backstreet Boys, *NSync, 98 Degrees, Blue and Westlife to Human Nature, Caught In The Act, 5ive, Worlds Apart, O-Town, Plus One. To put it into addition, there has been F4 fever all across Asia within the last two year.