By John Chang
Traditionally the silly season is described as a lull period between events of more significance when life seems to be in a vacuum. It is a time when we take a deep breath of recovery after the exertions of the previous term before the chaos and calamity of the next cycle. It is a time where we seek out the silly and the inane simply for the sake of whiling away time until the next wave of more momentous occasions come crashing down on us.
In the meantime we revel in saccharine sweet and light weight candy floss, delighting in the indulgence of frivolity and superficiality.
That time seems to be upon us again with the advent of the next wave of ‘boy bands’ – that seemingly innocuous invention of music moguls who are hell bent on dealing fans with large doses of vapid, wan and pallid servings of what they call ‘talent’.
The hey-days of the boy-bands were the 80s-90s where you could pull one out of a hat as easily as you could say “ABC”. Get 4-5 reasonably good looking dudes, have them or at least 1 of them warble a bit, teach them some slick dance moves and voila you have a boy band ready for the market. Behind them of course you have a whole production team (or I would rather term it as assembly lines) of stylists, songwriters, producers, publicists, promoters, agents, managers and other assortment of assistants to mould and package the latest musical product. Thankfully as with all perishables these mass marketed consumer goods had their shelf lives and I heaved a sigh of relief when the blessed end eventually came. At long last we could get back to some modicum of good sense and taste and leave the musical landscapes to more discerning adults.
Alas that honeymoon didn’t last and now we are faced with possibly another decade of shallowness and huge dollops of caramel (which I can’t stand). The latest incarnation of the aforementioned dreaded brigade comes in the form of ‘One Direction’. A manufactured ‘band’ straight out of Simon Cowell’s Syco Productions (somehow I can’t help but think that the name is so appropriate for such shenanigans).
Simon Cowell as you all should know is the cranky Brit who reigned over all at American Idol cutting down contestants and Idol wannabes with his withering remarks. David was no stranger to such treatment and got his fair share. Simon railed against any whom he thought was contrived and artificial which, in the face of his latest delivery of ‘talent’, makes him the biggest hypocrite.
But I suppose being a promoter and hound dog more than a serious musician he has the acumen to sniff out the money makers which is good news for the music business. I think he has the fingers on the real pulse of the music world; who are the buyers of such shallow fare? None other than teenage females who with surging hormones will gladly part with their money for CDs, magazines, concert tickets and other merchandise of their favourite boy bands. Parents beware for your teenage daughter is about to lose her senses, buckets of tears, chunks of hair and other assortment of undergarments as she swears her undying love for Niall, Zane, Liam and Harry.
But is your average teenage female really such a shallow and silly creature? Does she not have a discerning bone in her body? Does she not have any inkling of the difference between a gourmet meal and the value package at McDonalds? What are they teaching these girls at school?
Whatever it is we must gird our loins and grit our teeth for another invasion of the senses that may last a good long while. The music business is hungry for success and like a junkie shaking and shivering with the need for a quick fix, it’s cravings will be amply satisfied by ‘drug’ barons like Simon Cowell who are only too pleased to supply the infusions. You can expect a plethora of manufactured groups to come crawling out of the woodwork for the foreseeable future.
Maybe David should start a boy band of his own when he returns in 2 years time? God help us all!