Giving truth to Memphis youth
By Sudeshna Barman
White Station High School
Justin Bieber released his debut single ‘One Time’ in May 2009; his debut album My World was released in November of that year. The rest, of course, is history. The former YouTube sensation turned into a pop idol in the space of a few months, surrounded by millions of adoring fans and earning millions to boot.
Two years later, Justin Bieber has become one of the most reviled figures in the entertainment industry.
In the last few years, it seems like a radio talk show can’t go by without making fun of Miley Cyrus, Kim Kardashian, or Justin Bieber. Bieber has received bad press in the last few months for fairly minor infringements ranging from driving too fast to making obscene gestures at photographers to arriving late at his own concerts.
So why hasn’t this happened to One Direction?
It’s approaching the two-year mark for the British boy band One Direction, who released their hit single ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ in September 2010. It’s even longer if you consider their X-Factor debut in July of 2010.
Yet the general opinion has not yet turned against the band. Few commentators disparage One Direction in the same way they do Bieber. Rather, the band is regarded as harmless, “clean” entertainment for teens and pre-teens – laughed off, perhaps, but rarely made fun of.
In fact, One Direction is doing better than ever. Their new single ‘Best Song Ever’ won the “Song of the Summer” award at the VMAs and peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100. Their highly anticipated third album Midnight Memories will release on November 25. Their movie One Direction: This is Us came out on August 21 to a $17 million opening.
But why? Why hasn’t the golden glow faded yet?
“It’s because they’re British,” White Station senior Katyana Dandridge explained knowingly.
“They’re so pretty,” said White Station senior Luca Tanaka. “I like Niall’s Irish accent. Harry is such a fun boy. And I love Louis’s sense of humor.”
“They’re my boyfriends,” said Shree Vaghela, senior.
One Direction fans range from beginners, who might appreciate their music or think the boys are cute, to die-hard fan-girls. These staunch supporters go the extra mile, writing fan-fiction, drawing fan-art and filming fan videos. They devoutly listen to every interview, giggle at each picture and blog every scrap of “news” thrown their way.
Jimmy Donlon is an eighth grader at White Station Middle School. He thinks the influence of One Direction at his school is “very annoying.”
“It’s huge. It’s like a cult here,” he said.
Senior Kirk Presley went to see the One Direction movie at the behest of a friend.
“I’d heard their songs on the radio, of course, but I didn’t know their names or their stories…I thought they were pretty good. [The movie] shed some light on their lives. It was cool to follow them around the world,” he said.
“The attachment a lot of girls have [to One Direction] is over the top. It’s like any other fad,” Presley said. “But I think it’s well-deserved. They’re a lot better than you’d think. It’s not destructive, unlike a lot of things people get attached to.”