One Direction Hit Seriously Strong Notes on SNL

Let's get one thing clear, adults: Your newfound Directioner tendencies are TOTALLY OKAY. The One Direction guys can actually sing, and no, it doesn't make you a cheesy pop fan in dire need of public shaming to acknowledge it. They're not kids anymore, they're not going anywhere, and each record they release proves to be more likable than the last. They're doing the legwork to ensure that their voices will be heard long after they've aged out of the boyhood that keeps them employed. They're writing more, picking up an instrument from time to time (hi, Niall!) and grabbing at the reins as they continue to tour relentlessly and drop one hit after another.

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One Direction - Izod Center - 7/2/13

Categories: OneDirection

Cal Aurand
Better Than: My live tweets could have ever explained.

The screaming started early. The Coach bus from Manhattan to the Izod Center was filled with teens sticking on temporary tattoos, covering their arms in body paint with phrases like "I <3 Harry" and Instagramming photos to look back on tomorrow. Excitement bubbled by the entrance as young girls dragged their parents to the door. The actual arena was deafening. At this point, a feverish reaction to One Direction is to be expected. Tickets for this particular tour went on sale and sold out a year ago, so the fans had been stewing in their excitement for quite some time. But experiencing and experiencing are two different things indeed, and the reaction One Direction fans have to One Directions serves as a simple reminder of what music can make us feel, why that's so important, and how fun it is to love something so much when you're too young to understand exactly what that love means.

See also: NKOTB, 98 Degrees, Boyz II Men - Izod Center - 6/13/13

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Your Guide to British and Irish Boy Bands of the '90s and Their Sappy Ballads

Categories: OneDirection


It may seem hard to believe, what with our clan of Kardashians and Byneses, but the UK and Ireland have always had a more intense love affair with celebrity than America . In the '90s in particular, when Top of the Pops was at its most influential height, and rag publications like Hello! and The Sun were delivered daily to households of a loyal, willing mass of consumers ready to suck up whatever bits of pop funneled through the channel. And in the years before the Y2K scare and GIFs, boy bands originating from the isle rode their blissfully innocent demeanors and unforgivable snakeskin suits to become the dominating force of celebrity obsession in the UK. You could hardly pass an antiquated newsstand or explore BBC's limited television platforms in the '90s without seeing puppy-eyed, crooning faces staring right back at you.

See also: New Kids, Old Media: How NKOTB Achieved Ubiquity in an Era Without Internet

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No One Trusts the Tastes of Teenage Girls, But Should: Why Justin Bieber Is the Next Beatles

At what point did teen girls suddenly just become wrong? "Serious" music fans seem to have universally accepted a critique of quality that befalls any artist who willingly sells to the rabid teen girl market and stigmatized the fans who dare to sometimes be male or at least above the age of 18. It's why we only divulge our love for Justin Bieber with a laugh and overdose of self-awareness that lets the world know we don't feel he or the boys in One Direction are legitimate artists.

See also: Beliebers on One Direction: "They're Nothing"

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100 & Single: Three Rules To Define The Term "One-Hit Wonder" In 2012

You could hear the sigh of relief among pop fans a couple of weeks ago, when Carly Rae Jepsen's single with Owl City, "Good Time," broke into the Top 10 on Billboard's Hot 100.

In his weekly chart roundup, veteran columnist Paul Grein remarked, "'Good Time' is an appropriately positive title for a song that guarantees that neither act can (fairly) be referred to as a one-hit wonder." (Emphasis mine.)

Hang on a sec: The week before it leapt to No. 9 on the big chart, "Good Time" was sitting at No. 13. What if it had gone no higher than that? Would it have been fair to call Jepsen, famed for the 2012 Song Of The Summer "Call Me Maybe," or Adam "Owl City" Young, owner of the 2009 bedroom-pop megahit "Fireflies," one-hit wonders? Didn't the rise of "Good Time" into the Top 20 already preclude that ignominy for both of them? Heck, didn't the one-hit wonder tag go away the minute the song appeared on the Hot 100 two months ago?

I know what some of you are thinking, though: C'mon... of course she's a one-hit wonder. She's always gonna be Ms. "Call Me Maybe."

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Live-Blogging The 2012 Video Music Awards: We Are Never Ever Ever Gonna Use Tonight As A Bellwether

How much Swiftian shock will we see tonight?
Has the live-blog been obliterated by Twitter? Let's find out on MTV's biggest night of the year, the Video Music Awards, which this year will feature Taylor Swift (in business casual on the double-decker red carpet right now), Frank Ocean, Rihanna, and Green Day, among others, as well as honors to various clips designed to big-up the biggest pop tracks of the year.

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Six '90s Hits One Direction Should Cover Next

Nate "Igor" Smith
They're all the cute one, don't you know.
Saturday afternoon I spent some time at the Beacon Theater for a matinee performance by the British boy band One Direction, who played three shows (two at the Beacon, one at the Izod Center) in the area over the course of the long weekend. It was an extended version of the opening set they played at Radio City Music Hall earlier this year—the 75-ish-minute set was padded out with a bunch of seasonally themed videos that looked like chillwave-inspired ads for a super-preppy clothing line (the room went absolutely silent when any romantically interesting women appeared on the screens showing these clips, in a stark reminder that boy bands' fantasy-object status is paramount at all ages). (Well, the bras and underwear—multiple on both!—that were thrown were probably stark reminders too. But I digress.)

Also padding out the set, since the boys only have one album under their belt: Cover songs. The still-curiously-mature "Use Somebody" cover that united mothers and daughters back at Radio City got a prime spot in the backend of the set; there was also a medley of hits earlier in the show that included "I Gotta Feeling," "Stereo Hearts," and—in another sap to the parents—"Torn," the Ednaswap song made inescapable by Aussie soap star Natalie Imbruglia in the late '90s. The breezy guitar and sad-confused lyrics fit in perfectly with One Direction's scrubbed-schoolboy-who-can-still-be-bad aesthetic, and perhaps most surprisingly, every member of the audience, even those who weren't even eggs when the song hit big in 1997, knew every word. Which got me thinking: What other songs from that halcyon era could One Direction, whose sound borrows much more from the alt-leaning radio pop songs that would later become adult-contemporary staples than it does the likes of 'NSync and the Backstreet Boys, remake into their own, cherub-cheeked image? Six suggestions below.

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Six Things To Know About One Direction, The Quintet Taking Over The Metropolitan Area For The Next Few Days

Beginning tonight and spooling out over the weekend, a pack of five British youths will blitz the tri-state area with performances and signings and, eventually, a Rockefeller Center-stuffing appearance on NBC's Today. The five young men make up the vocal group One Direction—a five-member boyband of floppy-haired dudes from the UK and Ireland, hatched in part by the ever-smirking real talker Simon Cowell—and they've so far had quite a bit of success on the other side of the Atlantic. If this whole thing works out and even more foreigners usurp this country's teen-idol gigs, you'll probably be seeing a lot more of them. (Even in those corners of the Internet that claim to dislike them, because what would those outlets be without talismans of Bad Music to rail against? Right.) In advance of their debut appearance in New York, which happens tonight at Radio City, here are six things to know about the group.

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