Before the spring of 1998, not many people had heard of the amazing new boy band called Nsync. However, within a few months, Lance, Joey, J.C., Justin, and Chris became one of the most well known bands in the world. In just one week alone, Nsync sold over 250,000 copies of their very first album, and every single one of their worldwide concerts sold out in the blink of an eye. Nsync, without a doubt, was one of the best pop sensations of the 90’s, but how did they do it?
Nsync is an example of an artifact from the music medium. The band consisted of 5 incredibly talented young men doing what they loved and sharing it with the four corners of the globe. They combined a stylistic mix of a capella and idiosyncratic rhythms with creative dance routines that gave a real meaning to the term “pop.” These 2 features tended to be typical to other boy bands of that time period, such as Backstreet Boys and New Kids On the Block. An atypical aspect of this band, however, was that the group was formed by the band members themselves and not produced by a higher-up management team. What is also atypical, at least by today’s standards, was that they were perfectly straight males singing pop music, which nowadays tends to be a female dominated music genre, which I will further explain later.
Ever since the band New Kids on the Block arrived during the mid 80’s, America, had been swooning over male pop bands. The young, mainly female, fans shared the same values, which were the fact that they loved suave, handsome heartthrobs singing to them. Occasionally during Nsync’s concerts, the band would select a random female from the audience to come on stage and have them sing to her. The majority of their lyrics consisted of flattering words that made women love themselves and not be afraid of their insecurities. In other words, the boys made them feel beautiful. Fans fantasized about having one of the band members be their perfect boyfriend who would, as their hit song Girlfriend says, forever be their “shining star.” This was another reason their albums sold so quickly.
Back when Nsync originated in the 90’s, the prime technological developments required to admire this band were CD’s, cassette tapes, radio stations, and television. Other less technological ways to listen to them were to actually attend their concerts. Nowadays if an individual wants to listen to this band, or any band for that matter, they only have to type it into Youtube to find clear audio or video footage of the group’s concerts. Because of today’s technological advances, it is much easier to distribute different forms of entertainment and effortlessly share them amongst others.
In the late 80’s through 90’s, it was common to see males singing sugary pop tunes to their teen fans without fear of mockery. Nowadays, as I stated before, the pop music industry is mainly female dominated, to the point where if any male or boy band decides to deviate from this norm on his own, he is sadly perceived in the social world as a flashy homosexual. A good example of these subjective views is the ongoing network of prejudice towards Justin Bieber and his rise to fame. On many social media sites such as Tumblr, Facebook, and Youtube, Bieber tends to be the butt of everyone’s jokes. What is peculiar about this collective loathing is that Bieber is just a duplicate of the earlier pop sensation, and teenage heartthrob, Aaron Carter who made his successful debut in the late 90’s. Another example of the shift in musical taste is the appearance of the band One Direction, which is just a mere shadow of the Backstreet Boys whom also appeared in the 90’s. The unfortunate boys of this band are also mocked online, often being called derogatory sexual phrases. If Justin Bieber and One Direction were to make their first appearances during an earlier decade, where it was more acceptable to see males popping and locking on stage, then there may have been a bit less ridicule. Current trends are one of the main factors that determine the success of a music group.
When Nsync made its revolutionary debut, they forever opened the floodgates to a new world of music that one did not need any prior knowledge to enjoy. Their fantastic voices, brilliant dancing, and unmatchable personalities had all of their fans screaming for more. Although this band is not together anymore, they have forever left their footprint on the music industry, so they never will have to say “Bye Bye Bye” to their fans.
Image source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/*NSYNC_%28album%29
Bierenfeld, Sarah. “Women in Music Videos.” The Good Life: The Effects of Women in Music Videos. N.p., 2 2011. Web. 23 Nov 2012. <http://womeninmusicvideos.angelfire.com/index.html>.
CONSIDINE, J.D. “‘N Sync smashes sales record.” Baltimore Sun. 30 2000: n. page. Web. 28 Nov. 2012. <http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2000-03-30/features/0003300267_1_boys-millennium-backstreet-boys-album-millennium>.