“We could live in a world where only Michelin star quality food was available but that would leave most people starving. You need you basic food too for a healthy diet. Entertainment is the same. You need a full and rich tapestry of music from Handel to Kajagoogoo.”
To compare corporate-designed groups of entertainers to basic and simple nutrition is reaching. No one is saying that all music needs to be intelligent, unique and/or challenging. Do boy bands have a place in the entertainment industry? Of course they do, I guess. And because you have put yourself out there, we as consumers have every right to provide commentary just as they have every right to do what they want to do, which brings me to my next point…
“What I find insufferable are comments that all Boybands have no talent, that people should have better taste. This is snobbery of the most basic and barren sort. And at a fundamental level, what else are people supposed to be listening to but other acts just as manufactured and commercial and run by exactly the same music executives.”
They don’t, though! You can replace any member of Union J with any random cute boy with a decent voice (that will be corrected and polished in autotune anyway) and you would not know the difference. This is my whole point with their music (and the music of most boy bands) severely lacking in uniqueness and/or emotional content. You are around my age or so I am guessing, so you’re obviously aware of the 80’s and to some extent I am hoping, music from the 60’s that catered to kids. You can take any two similar bands from either of those periods, stand them side-by-side, and hear differences. They were not all churned out from the same, gross, corporate machines. And even if they were, you could hear the differences in voicing and phrasing. It is not like that today, mainly because the music industry isn’t the same as it was, hell, even ten years ago.
I’m not sure what you mean by “what else are people supposed to listen to…” Oh, I don’t know, how about thinking for oneself instead of having hype-machines and businessmen dictate one’s listening habits? There is sooo much out there it is staggering. And you wouldn’t know it because of sub-par music journalism, but there is so much gay-themed music, or music made by bands with at least one gay member out there that why we keep coming back to this kiddie-nonsense is completely baffling to me.
“Every form of commercial music is as calculated as a boyband and the credible and quality veneer is as much part of the marketing as a boybander’s sixpack. Basically, if you are paying any commercial record label for your music then you are part of the commercial meat market and no better or worse than anyone else.”
Which is why I have a big problem with commercial music. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t state that not every form of commercial music is as calculated as a boy band’s. At one point, it has to be calculated enough to cater to everyone’s tastes, so I agree with that; on the other hand, the machinations of group like Union J and a band like Arcade Fire (who I’m not even a huge fan of, just trying to think of a different form of mainstream music) could not be any more different. To not see or appreciate that difference is wrong and to lump all commercial music together isn’t looking at the big picture.
“As for whether being out and gay matters, I think it does. To have a boyband marketed at teen girls from day one with an openly gay member matters in the battle to normalise gay relationship in public life and the media. Especially when it comes to influencing future generations who will be voting in a few years.”
I shudder to think that a boy band with an openly gay member matters to my assimilation into normal society. Ick on “assimilation” and “normal society!” Snarkiness aside, kids aren’t stupid. It is the younger generation that is currently making the strides for *gulp* normalization, or to a stronger point: civil rights. Pointing out that Cryztal Clear or whoever the next hot boy band is has one gay member is inconsequential.
Come on, live a little! Go out to music/record store and take a chance on something. Dig around, which is so much easier to do now that we don’t need to leave our houses. I’ll help! Check out British symphonic-soul singer Laura Mvula. If you like the strong, soulful voices of someone like Amy Winehouse, Nina Simone or Adele, then I am DEFINITELY sure you will find something to love in Mvula’s rich tapestry of story and song. It’s different than what you would normally hear by today’s mainstream soul standards, but give it a chance. It’s so fucking good. I am unsure if she is part of the community, but her messages about self-reliance, self-esteem and carving your own path should speak to everyone. Hell, JLo is as queer as Homer Simpson, but she is constantly in my face. This is what QUEERTY should be writing about and not some kiddie-band. You can hear it streaming at the link: