Today, in honor of the release of the new One Direction documentary, This Is Us (directed by Morgan Spurlock of Super Size Me—weird, right?), I was inspired to think about boy bands of yore. I fear I’m going to be beset by an army of terrifying tweens once this is published, but here goes: As far as boy bands go, One Direction is pretty lacking. Sure, they’re cute and British and tattooed—which is sort of, like, edgy?—but they can’t hold a candle to the groups of my glorious youth (a.k.a. the ’90s, which was obviously the zenith of boy-band amazingness). To convince you of this (although if you’re a true Gen Y babe, you should need no convincing because BACKSTREET BOYS), I’ve compiled a list of reasons why One Direction is inferior to the singing idols of my pre-teen dreams.
THEY DO NOT DANCE.
I am sorry, but you cannot be a true boy band if you do not dance. Just re-watch the video for ’N Sync’s “Bye Bye Bye” and you will realize what a tragedy this is.
BACKSTREET DID COSTUMES BETTER.
In their recent video, One Direction puts on makeup and costumes and acts as though they are other people. It’s interesting, and I like the video, but hello—the Backstreet Boys did that in 1997 in what I consider to be their magnum opus, the “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)” video. Sorry, 1D, but BSB beat you to it and did it better.
THEY DO NOT HAVE DISTINCT PERSONALITIES.
Maybe this is because I don’t pay enough attention, but I have trouble deciding which 1D boy is the “bad boy” and which is the “adorable younger brother” type. I don’t even know who the “leading man you’re supposed to have a crush on” is! If you were a girl in the ’90s, these distinctions were obvious to you: Justin and JC were the stars of ’N Sync, Brian was the heartthrob of BSB (while Nick was the alternative, younger and blonder heartthrob), and Nick Lachey was your favorite from 98 Degrees.
THEIR HAIR IS NOT FUNKY ENOUGH.
Okay, truthfully, the ’90s had some dubious fashions going on, but boy-band hair was all over the place in the best way possible. Chris Kirkpatrick had a weird multi-braid ponytail, Howie had shoulder-length hair, and everyone rocked frosted tips. (Speaking of which, why was that popular?) The hair may have been nuts, but it added to the fun that was boy bands.
THEY DO NOT SING IN SPANISH.
My first concert was BSB, and what I most vividly remember is when they sang one song in Spanish. I’m from Miami, so obviously the crowd went wild (as if they hadn’t been crazed all night), but it wasn’t the crowd’s reaction that amazed me. I was astounded that the boys cared enough about their fans to try to appeal to everyone. MULTICULTURAL SENSITIVITY, Y’ALL. That’s what real men are all about.