Friday, 14 May 2010

From boys to men

Boybands are a dying breed. Sure, JLS have had considerable (some might say disproportionate) success with their neutered RnB stylings, but they're practically the Omega Men of pop. Where once the musical landscape was abundantly blessed with close harmonies, baggy jeans and random piercings, it's now more of a post-apocalyptic wasteland.

Take That might still be big news, but the term boyband hardly seems appropriate - their next tour bus may well be a Saga coach. Boyzone have also enjoyed a pretty successful resurgence of popularity, although given the amount of time they spend talking about Stephen Gately it's more of an extended wake than a comeback.

And then there's Westlife - the ones who never went away. They've been consistently churning out albums, year after year, for over a decade now and show no signs of stopping. Their songs might all be about passions of the heart, but the albums are clinical, cynical affairs, delivered with all the excitement of a trip to the chiropodist.

As it happens, the boys themselves are more than aware of their own shortcomings, admitting in an interview this week that "We've certainly made a lot of mistakes. We've recorded songs that we should never have recorded. We look back on some of them and think, 'Oh God, that was terrible'." They're not alone in their assessment.

Believing that they've "become men over the last few years", the guys are putting their foot down and making more decisions about what goes on their next album. Better lock up your daughters, 'cos it's getting hot in here.

Inspired by the filthy signage being waved by their rapidly aging fanbase, the 'Lifers hope that their next CD will be "one for the bedroom with lots of juicy and sensual tracks". As Nicky told the Daily Star, "the banners have become raunchier and most don’t leave anything to the imagination." That thudding, tumbling sound you can hear is Barry White spinning.

So far, it sounds about as sexy as a bed bath in a rest-home, but Mark Feehily claims "You can listen to it while you're conceiving." Well, if that doesn't make you horny you must be dead from the waist down.

As much as the boys might want to talk up their hot new angle, there's a danger in being too honest about who they were in the past. Their fans aren't stupid, and they know what they like.

Selling substandard products is one thing, but admitting it is something else entirely. Just ask Gerald Ratner.

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