2011 was a good year for “the Boyband”, or Pop music in general. It saw big number one hits from The Wanted, JLS and One Direction, and they went on to have great album success too. However, their new singles haven’t fared so well in 2012, with The Wanted’s Warzone reaching the heady heights at 21, JLS faring a little better with Do You Feel What I Feel? at 16, and One Direction’s new release One Thing joining the Top 40 at no.22 (although the physical release of their single is yet to come – Feb 13th in case you are interested).
Normally, boybands tend to do well in terms of chart positions and sales due to their enormous fanbases, so why the lowly chart positions? It could be the timing; January is renowned for lowly sales numbers although that doesn’t explain the low chart positions. Some highlight the lack of publicity, although their singles were still publicised on TV and radio, and very prominent on social networking sites such as Twitter, so it can’t be wholly attributed to this. It could just be a blip, although more cynical people have suggested that there is a growing backlash against pop and X-Factorism. All of these acts are linked to Simon Cowell’s company, and the public is starting to realise that Cowell doesn’t control music. This is reflected in the growing variety of genres we see in current charts – from dubstep (Nero), to rap (Professor Green) to singer-songwriters (Adele), another thing that 2011 can be noted for.
Look at the past few years – Simon Cowell’s acts dominated the music scene – Leona Lewis, Will Young, Shayne Ward (…) But at the end of last year, Little Mix, 2011 X Factor winners, were denied the Christmas No.1 slot by the Military Wives Choir. Does this mean that Pop is losing its popularity? Maybe not – the strong fanbases should be enough to keep these acts going, but it can only last for so long, and perhaps these pop acts should focus on the material that they are releasing. I am a huge fan of JLS, but their latest album, Jukebox, felt like the weakest effort so far. I am sad to say that a lot of their songs are too similar to each other, too dancey and the lyrics leave a lot to be desired. Their song 3D has the lyrics “I’m gonna turn you on just like a TV”…Some of the songs have been amazing – Beat Again was a sleek, smart, exciting slice of RnB/Pop and the lyrics of their slower songs Love You More and Take a Chance On Me are great. Their release for Sport Relief, Proud, is amazing and I would like to hear more of that kind of music on their next album – something heartfelt and which shows off their vocal range, as they are talented singers.
Pop music as we know it can survive, but I think it has to change the way it does things. It needs to adapt to the ever-changing market to avoid losing out to other styles of music which are becoming more prominent in today’s music scene.