As I was updating my g-calendar last night, my almost six year old was “updating her calendar.”
Me to husband: “Wow. We’ve got a busy week. I mean, look at all this… ::: gestures towards calendar :::”
M: “Yeah, me too! Look! Meet with kitties. Play with legos. Appointment with Harry Styles…”
Harry Styles? What the hell?! I thought we had a couple more years before we were subjected to boy bands. At least, I was pretty sure Harry Styles was associated with a boy band. So I googled him.
This was a mistake because Evil Internet Overlord, Google, *knows* I googled One Direction so now the entirety of my online life is being stalked by marketing materials about One Direction. At this point, I’m aware of things like, “Harry is the pretty one with the hair” and “Niall is the blond, sensitive one.” I could have lived my entire life without knowing that and been okay.
Even though I’ve seen, like, fifty pictures of these five dudes, I *still* have difficulty telling them apart, because they’re all essentially young dudes who sing generic feelings at you while wearing those red trousers that you’re apparently legally required to wear at regular intervals if you’re douchey and British.
Boy bands. GAH.
Then it occurred to me that I’ve actually heard some One Direction songs and, while I don’t find them squeal-inducing or even, you know, good, I wouldn’t waste a Pandora skip on them either. The songs are kind of all blandly similar and earworm-y rather than actively bad or “Nickleback-esk.”
This is totally the kind of song that is prominently featured on NBC sitcoms and elevators at H&M.
I think my initial reaction to boy bands is negative because they’re basically created by and for some giant record label looking to wring money out of tweens and teens. I’m grossed out by how they’re packaged and marketed rather than by their music per se.
Have you ever heard a song and thought, “Wow! That’s kind of GREAT!” but then found out who the artist was and felt embarrassed? During the credits of the first “Hunger Games” movie there’s this song called “Safe and Sound.” In the theater I was like, “YAY! I love this!” Then I found out that song is by The Civil Wars and… Taylor Swift. Enthusiasm, dampened.
I’m disappointed by the degree to which I’m impacted by the marketing of music. It’s a shame, too, because in a sense my response is just as Pavlovian as elementary schoolers’ reactions to the Harry Styles of the world.
It’s like Bob from Marketing at Giant International Music Conglomerate has dictated my musical snobbery. Now the question becomes: what am I going to do with this minor revelation? Because if knowledge of Harry Styles can start as early as kindergarten, then *decades* of blatant musical marketing are in my future.