Porcelain skin, slick haircuts, and unapologetically cheesy rhymes to romanticise like sonnets; we’re taking a trip down memory lane and reliving every teenage obsession: boy bands.
Nothing beats the comfort of handsome young men serenading you through the boombox, telling you what makes you beautiful. Boy band culture is admiring pretty boys singing romantic lyrics generic enough for you to daydream and pretend they’re about you. They were the pretty ornaments decorating our walls (or more relevant, phone screens). Boy band tunes are loved for getting you up and on the dance floor with youthful sound and spirit that allows us to feel forever young — and loved. Strip them away from the auto tune and catchy repetition, the authentic song writings too deserve to be recognised as works of poetry!
This week, we remind you of the best musical outfits that give you the boyband culture a loveable name. Don’t forget to listen on Spotify.
The Jackson 5
Possibly the most recognisable family in musical history, The Jackson 5 (later called The Jacksons after Michael’s solo pursuit) is a household name beyond the glittery boyband treasure box. The group married timeless songwriting, remarkable vocals, and brilliant musicianship (at such young ages, mind you), that made them pop behemoths in the late 60s and 70s. The band shot to fame with their first four singles I Want You Back, ABC, The Love You Save and I’ll Be There, leaving a musical legacy that has shown no hints of diminishing until present day.
Favourite song: Their biggest single, I’ll Be There.
Armed with a legion of loyal fans, twelve number-one hits, and a reputation for spectacular live shows, Take That are often imitated but never beaten since the start of 1990. With records after records of beautifully constructed pop melodies and impressive songwriting, the British group deserves the title of the finest boy band of their generation.
Favourite song: Their classic heartbreak anthem, Back For Good.
With glorious ballads and bold fashion statements, the all-time best-selling boy band became extremely relevant and highly unavoidable in the mid 90s. Though their musical efforts post- comeback weren’t greeted with the same success, they had established a sacred spot in the pop zeitgeist, thunderous enough to ring through no matter the era.
Favourite song: Their timeless ballad, I Want It That Way.
Disney’s Mickey Mouse Club played an instrumental role in the formation of this boy band by birthing then rising star Justin Timberlake who became the star member of the band and biggest act of their generation. Their most successful album sold over a million copies on the day of its release in 2000, remaining a record for nearly two decades. Their pivotal contribution to pop culture in the 90s and early 00s was recognised with a star on the Hollywood walk of fame.
Favourite song: Their catchiest dance number, Bye Bye Bye.
Westlife tasted sweet success from the late 90s all the way until their hiatus in 2012. They hit number one with 14 different singles in the UK and racked up 50 million record sales worldwide. The Irish dreamboats achieved monumental success that shaped the golden age of boy bands in their time. They were also the father of the barstool-stand-up-keychange manoeuvre — their signature live move and a much-copied boy band trait.
Favourite song: Their refreshingly upbeat jazzy track, World of Our Own.
Boyz II Men
From the halls of Philadelphia’s High School for the Creative and Performing Arts to the Grammy stage, Boyz II Men perfectly gave the old-school doo-wop a fresh twist with their ‘Motownphilly’ sound. Their out-of-this-world vocal ranges and harmonies undoubtedly set a high standard among boy bands.
Favourite song: Their intimately expressive R&B ballad, I’ll Make Love To You.
1D skyrocketed after its formation by Simon Cowell on The X Factor — and twas nothing but a constant uphill from there. After conquering the UK, US, and ultimately the world, the boys eventually outgrew the teen act and launched promising solo careers that garnered even stronger fan bases.
Favourite song: Their lively love song, Kiss You.
Honourable mention: BTS
The South Korean septet Beyond the Scene or casually known as BTS waltzed their way into the international spectacle, completely stirring the boy band scene as we knew it. The managed to pin down K-Pop on the world map; and it’s only going to grow bigger in pop culture.
Favourite song: Their most hyped up, Boy With Luv (ft. Halsey).
Listen to the full Playlist of Boy Band wonder on Spotify: