One Direction are popular. So why is it popular to hate them?
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On Sunday 4th October I went to see One Direction live at Manchester Arena and I have to admit they were fantastic. However, every time I told someone I had bought tickets to see them I was greeted with the response "really?" and "why would you want to?". But why not? 1D have been described as ‘bigger than The Beatles’ and are notably one of the most successful boy bands the industry has ever seen. So why is it so popular to hate them? When thinking of ‘One Direction’ it is normal to think of cheesy pop songs and the stereotypical boy band. But other boy bands such as Take That, JLS, Union J and many more all fall into this category of the all singing, all dancing boy band yet there is less stigma surrounding the popularity of these bands. Over five years the band have had 12 top 10 UK singles, sold out stadium tours globally and have upheld a crazed, yet very dedicated fan base, which they could not have achieved without substantial talent. But the usual criticism to this is that they do not write their own music or play instruments so they cannot be talented and are not real musicians. Sure, their songs are created for pure entertainment being simple and catchy. The notion of finding their songs deep and meaningful seems slightly absurd. Nevertheless, they create and produce quality tunes that are actually less conventional in the pop genre. With their first couple of albums the polished poppy boy band sound was definitely present but their more recent releases have defied the predictable pop genre and taken them into a more pop/rock direction. The tracks still have a certain pop feel but they could now be viewed as an unconventional boy band. When seeing One Direction live the production is minimal and the choreographed dance routines non-existent. They do not wear matching outfits and rely predominantly on just the four of them standing on stage and singing. It is notable that they have also written a substantial amount of their own material more recently and some of them do play instruments whilst live on stage. Yet as a culture we still cannot seem to get away from the concept that they are not real musicians, that they are manufactured pop. Take Beyonce as a comparison. She is evidently vocally talented however she only co-wrote some of the tracks from her latest album and she too is marketed as a typical manufactured pop act. Yet more than often she is idolised and is portrayed as some sort of musical genius. Of course women in the music industry are often sexualised and receive criticism surrounding their femininity. Nevertheless why is it that when you mention One Direction the retort is often "they're crap, they don't even write their own music" but when Beyonce's name pops up all you hear is "she has the voice of an angel, she is so amazing"?
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