I have always been enthralled with teen pop culture for some reason. It started when I was a little girl and collected every teen magazine under the sun and oddly enough, everything I read in those magazines was information I already knew. I always tell people that I know more about these celebrities that they know about themselves. While pop culture is a hobby for some, it's become a passion for me. I tend to find the lives of these superficial people more interesting than the "normal" people around me. Sickening to say the least, but it gives me something to write about right?
I came across this idea a few days ago after hearing Austin Mahone's new single "Banga Banga". I couldn't even tell you where I even came across the seventeen year old, but I was interested because of course, he was making good pop music. Starting as a YouTube star, like the ever so famous Justin Bieber, I saw something a little more humble about Austin. I know I should probably take into consideration that Austin is two years Justin's junior, but I have grown more of a liking towards him. Don't get me wrong, I loved Justin Bieber for some time. He was cranking out solid pop music, learning how to dance, and stealing the hearts of girls all over the world. It's been in these recent months where he's gotten on my nerves so much that I try to avoid reading anything about him in the tabloids. As much as Bieber pisses me off, I do think he's talented. Austin is pretty dang talented too and there's one thing that the entertainment world needs every so often - someone new, fresh, and exciting.
So why am I comparing the two? I think it's because Austin is bringing something new to the table. He's not irritating, he's got some cool fans called "Mahomies" and he's making good music. Plus he's cute which reminds me not to say that again until next April (he'll be 18 and I'll feel like less of a creep). He's got a lot going for him which makes me happy since I am witnessing a new star in the making.
The stem of all my hatred towards Bieber starts right here. Why can't the kid smile and WHY DOES HE SQUINT ALL THE TIME? I won't even let you give him the benefit of the doubt with the sun being in his face in the above picture. He does it all the time, in every single picture. I guess it's sexy for a sixteen year old, but look at Austin on the right. The kid looks so cute and he's actually smiling for the camera, showing off the nice dental work he had done. If you had braces, flaunt it right? Smiles keep people guessing anyway and there should be absolutely no shame in a gorgeous/dreamy smile.
Yes, I know, boys will be boys with baggy pants, but no one ever said boys had to wear diaper pants. When these pictures of Justin wearing the overly baggy crotch pants first emerged, all I could do was shake my head. I don't know who was styling him or how they even thought it looked good. In that left picture of Justin, he had on a pair of spikey red loafers dawned with knee high socks as well which were twice as bad as the diaper pants. It was nice to see Austin Mahone at both the 2013 VMA's and 2013 AMA's looking extremely professional in a suit. Maybe Austin should lend Bieber his stylist for the next event he attends.
As much as I love the entertainment industry, there's one thing as a bystander that I don't seem to sympathize with and it's paparazzi. This argument could go two ways, but I don't feel bad for celebrities when they're being hounded by paparazzi. I feel like this is something that comes with becoming famous and being in the limelight, it really can't be avoided. I know there are laws in place with paparazzi now and yes, there's the other argument that celebrities are normal people like you and I, but they have an image to uphold. It doesn't help that Justin Bieber has to argue about everything, from pictures that people post or things people say about him on Twitter. He also has to argue and attack paparazzi too. He is always starting some sort of beef with someone about what he's doing and how he wasn't "actually" doing it. Maybe it comes with Austin's situation where he isn't as big as Justin and people don't care about what he's doing right now, but he's looking pretty happy go lucky up in that picture. Yes, paparazzi need to be respectful but as do the celebrities. Too many people are watching, especially younger children when it comes to these teen stars. Bieber is growing up, as are his fans, but he's finding younger ones along the way too. Austin is starting off right, setting a great example for everyone around him.
Since Austin is still fairly new, I guess he has yet to face the hardship that Bieber has been facing these past few years after being the hot one in the spotlight. I've had encounters with both celebrities and in the end, I have to say Austin was the one I found much more humble and down to earth. I've seen Bieber in concert 3 or 4 times (I lost count) and met him at his perfume release. I suppose it was the circumstances he was under that made him not so pleasant that day, but getting a wink, smile, AND wave from Austin Mahone at the VMA's after I called his name and waved to him, it seemed to me that he felt grateful that someone over the age of 12 was acknowledging him. Hey, I may have even squealed a bit. I am ready for Justin Bieber to take a rest and let Austin Mahone take the spotlight, he's just getting started and I want to see what else he'll have in store for us. If you don't have any idea who Austin Mahone is, check out his music video below.
me with big time rush and loving every minute of it
There has always be one thing that's bothered me and it seems to be prevalent more so now than ever before. I can't STAND the judgement I receive from liking "boy bands". Ever since I was eight years old, I have invited boy bands into my life with open arms. I have made myself comfortable in the fandoms, from the Backstreet Boys to the Jonas Brothers (if you know me, you will understand that obsession very well). At twenty three years old, I have found my musical taste forever changing, but there has always been a place in my heart for hot guys singing pop music.
Boy bands are iconic in the sense that they usually contain 4-5 members who are typically good looking. They don't have to have phenomenal voices because their looks take reign over the real talent. Sometimes they can be horrible at dancing, but have amazing personalities. All that aside, there is someone for everyone in a boy band. But what I want to know is who made the rule that you have to stop liking them at a certain age?
Within the past 2-3 years, I have found myself in love with the boy band Big Time Rush. Sadly, their musical fame away from television has been odd so the majority of people who do know about them are younger thanks to Nickelodeon. My "obsession" per se has died down significantly after their flop of a summer tour (which could be a post all in it's own), but I bring this up for one reason and one reason only. I am mocked, teased, and constantly smothered with remarks that I am too immature or old to like boy bands. Is it not okay to like feel good music? Music you can sing along to? Boy bands are artists that put on a show. I have never been one to sit in the lawn and listen to someone play guitar. I like the pyrotechnics, I like the choreography, guess what? I even like the confetti. Boy bands make me feel good.
I do understand that boy bands are marketed to the younger set because it's easier for kids to buy into them. I have bought into it too, spending over $600+ to not only meet my idols, but to sit front row several times. I am grateful for the fact that I have met fans around my age who would probably attest to the truth in this post completely. I could go on for hours trying to defend myself on why it's okay for me to like boy bands, but it always comes down to my happiness.
The ones that mock me are missing the real point though. If we look at Big Time Rush for example, every single young man in that boy band happens to be over the age of 21. They are my age and they're people I can relate to. While they live fabulous lives with lavish cars and tons of money, they still have something in common with myself. They can drink if they want to, just like I can. They can go to college, just like I did. Boy band needs to become a loose term because not all bands are made up of boys and their fans aren't always little girls.
I have never been ashamed to admit that I like boy bands. I enjoy One Direction, Big Time Rush, and I will probably love the boy bands that take over the ropes from the previous two. If you are obsessed with Star Wars and you collect tons of memorabilia, you aren't a nerd because you're embracing what you love. If you've seen Taylor Swift a zillion times and you're thirty five, you're witnessing live music that brings you happiness. But in other people's eyes, I am "too old" to like boy bands. What our society is missing is the simple task of understanding. People do the things they do and love the things they love for pleasure, happiness, and enjoyment. I don't see being passionate about the things I love as wrong. It makes me just like everyone else, my outlet just happens to be different.
I am pretty shocked that the internet didn't explode this past Sunday. When I heard about One Direction's album "accidentally" leaking on iTunes, I was pretty sure the fandom would be in an uproar. Sadly I don't follow the 1D fandom enough and everything I do know is from my 11 year old niece, which is fine with me. I've heard horror stories of fandoms from being a BTR fan so I try to avoid going into them in the first place. They're a weird place, like a bar at last call. The lights come on and everything you didn't want to know finally shows. All in all, I stay out but that didn't stop me from being curious about Midnight Memories.
I have nothing against One Direction, honestly. I thoroughly enjoy their music and I do think they're a talented and handsome group of guys. I always go back and forth on who is the most talented and most attractive in the group and I can never pin point it. Their vocals are all strong and their personalities are compatible, but unique nonetheless.
The only qualms I have with the boy band is that there is a severe lack in songwriting and simply put - Louis. Hearing the progression from Up All Night to Midnight Memories, their maturity has excelled in sound, but Louis' voice still gets me. It's pretty hilarious because in my opinion, I am most attracted to him, but he definitely ranks last in vocals. Sometimes I wonder if he was kept in X Factor for the fact that he was good looking (except for that god awful Bieber bowl cut). My biggest guess is they nearly slaughtered him with a butt load of vocal lessons to put him on the same level as the rest of the guys or simply, cut his lines in their songs down to one or two segments. Whatever works though.
Moving on to songwriting, I am always impressed when I know that not only are artists using their own voices, but they're singing the words they concocted too. I always open up CD booklets when purchasing an album out of curiosity of the photos and most importantly, lyrics. I am slightly disappointed in the lack of power One Direction has in writing their own lyrics. I think when you follow an artist you love so much, there's a sense of honor and admiration knowing they worked as hard as they did on the writing aspect. Not to say 1D doesn't work their asses off because I know they do, but it'd be nice to see what they have to say musically more often.
After listening to Midnight Memories through and through for the past few days (yes I didn't wait, I told you I was curious!), I can finally conclude that I have mixed feelings. A lot of the songs were too slow for my liking, especially coming from Take Me Home. I felt like their prior album was more "single ready", meaning most of the songs could end up on top 40 radio in a heartbeat. This album dragged for me, especially since I listened to the deluxe edition so it was twice as long. There are two songs I have been jamming to back to back since they seem to be the most up beat and to my taste. If you're not sure on whether you want to listen or not, I would recommend starting with the more energetic of the tracks such as Does He Know? and Alive.
1D stuck to their typical sound which I praise, I am always iffy when artists swap around their sound. When BTR released 24/seven, I listened more than ten times until I found songs I enjoyed. Let's be real though, every artist will have a killer album and one (or more) that sucks. I am impressed that these British (and Irish) guys are doing so well, though. I always see an influx of boy bands every four years and they don't seem to last forever; under the exception of The Backstreet Boys, NKOTB, and Boyz II Men. Don't you think it's time to give it a rest?
All that aside, I can see myself turning into a "Directioner". I am being swayed because of their popular demand (I am enthralled with trends, a follower of sorts), but you won't see me buying that Harry Styles life size stand up from FYE anytime soon... or I could be lying. ☺
Must listen: Little White Lies, Better Than Words, Don't Forget Where You Belong