Boy Band Breakdown
“I don’t know, what he does to make you cry, but I’ll be there to make you smile. I don’t have a fancy car, to get to you I’d walk a thousand miles!!!”
I remembered listening to this song over the radio in the late 1990s, and thinking about how catchy and cool it was. How many of you know this song? And knows who sings it?
Well, the name of this song is called All I Have to Give, and the group that sings it is called the Backstreet Boys. For those of you who don’t know who they are, the Backstreet Boys are a group of 5 strikingly good-looking male singers that mainly sing pop songs about love that make teenage girls swoon. Think of them as the original One Direction.
At that time, I was in high school, and like many high schoolers, I really wanted to belong to a cool clique. So I saw these five cool, good-looking guys singing, and they were always the target of pure adoration from girls all over the world. I thought to myself, how cool would it be to be a Backstreet Boy! From then on, I was hooked, listening to their songs, and singing it in the shower with no shame nor regret.
I’m aware that the Backstreet Boys have their fair share of critics. Oh, they’re not real music. Oh, they’re just girly men. Well say what you want about them, but if you can get thousands of girls at a concert screaming, hands outstretched, fainting at the mere sight of you, then I’d say that it’s good to be a “girly” man.
I am a fan of the Backstreet Boys and I say it with pride. But since then, countless boy bands have popped up trying to imitate. As more popped up, I began to realize a striking pattern. First off, there were always five members in a boy band, no more no less - whether it be Backstreet Boys, ‘N Sync, or One Direction. And each member in the band always had a certain type of personality trait that stood out.
So if you ever want to get into the music management business, and want to create your own line of boy band, here is what I would like to share with you, regarding the five main personality types that are needed to compile a successful boy band:
The first “type” would be what I’d like to call “the heartthrob”. He doesn’t have to be the best singer of the bunch, but is still usually the one that takes up the lead role when performing. Whatever faults he may have in musical talent, he makes up for it in what you would call “utter hotness”. He would be the one, whom fathers would have to interview at least once, before allowing their daughters to go out with them on a second-date. In the Backstreet Boys, this role is operated by Nick Carter. Other dignitaries that fall into the “heartthrob” category include Justin Timberlake of ‘N Sync and Nick Lachey of 98 Degrees.
The second “type” would be the “cutie pie”. These guys are generally the second-most good-looking guys in the group. In terms of good looks, you can say he would be the Robin to the heartthrob’s Batman. The Scottie Pippen to Michael Jordan. The Vice President, to the President. They are cute, but not threateningly handsome. Someone that girls would feel comfortable taking home to their parents for a nice interview-free family meal. More often than not, the “cutie pie” of the boy band actually has the best voice. Because I guess if the “heartthrob” ever calls in sick one day, the “cutie pie” would then have to step up to the plate and take his spot as the lead singer.
The third “type” would be the “shy guy”. He is the one who is also considered “cute” by female fans, only in a wounded puppy kind of way. He is the one that when girls look at, they go “awwwwwwwwwww he’s adorable”. He does sing, and mostly sticks to background vocals. Occasionally, he does have small 30-second lead parts in a song to make the audience remember that he is actually still a part of the band. But besides that, he is mainly an under-the-radar type of guy. Ironically enough, if I were ever a part of boy band, I could see myself filling this role perfectly, so if there are any music managers out there right now, “call me”.
The fourth “type” would be the “bad boy”. This boy band member is to put it quite frankly, not usually the best looking of the bunch – so as not to draw the spotlight away from the “heartthrob” and the “cutie pie” – since it’s never good to have too many good looking chefs in the kitchen. But whatever he lacks in looks, he makes up for in eye piercings, nail polish, and tattoos on 90% of his body. This in itself brings the bad boy his own unique share of female fans as well. Also, after the “heartthrob” and the “cutie pie”, the “bad boy” does have the capability to sing in a lead capacity.
The fifth and final “type” of boy band member, would be the “veteran presence”. He is generally the oldest of the bunch, and the leader of the locker room so to speak. He is the one who keeps a level head and keeps the group glued together. On stage, he is mainly back-up vocals and usually likes to sing in a low manly voice with a lot of base – to make everyone remember that yes he is indeed the first of the five to have hit puberty.
So, the five key types of members for you to look for when composing a successful boy band are “the heartthrob”, the “cutie pie”, the “shy guy”, the “bad boy”, and the “veteran presence”. Each personality has their own benefits and drawbacks. But when you put them together, you create an unstoppable boy-bopping, girl-fawning, music machine.
The Backstreet Boys followed this format. N Sync followed this format. And if you were to ever create a boy band, you should follow this format too.
Oh yeah, and on occasion please remember to make sure that they know how to sing as well.