Off the Record: Teen idols top the charts
Published: Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, May 8, 2012 01:05
We all know them. Some of us have been completely enamored with them at certain points in our lives. Many loathe them with an undying passion. Then there are a few of us who simply do not care. Whatever our opinions are, teen idols have invaded the music business since the glory days of Elvis Presley, and they show no signs of stopping. From household names like Selena Gomez and Taylor Swift to Nickelodeon tween stars like Miranda Cosgrove of “iCarly,” teen idols have no trouble churning out chart-topping hits.
Thanks to their captivating single, “Bye Bye Bye,” I can shamelessly admit that I purchased a copy of *NSYNC’s album “No Strings Attached” during the summer of 2000. Do you want proof? Ask me for my flawless impression of the chorus to “Space Cowboy (Yippie-Yi-Yay).” At the turn of the century, boy bands ruled the world. Backstreet Boys, 98 Degrees and O-Town were just a few of the groups that dominated both the music industry and young people’s stereos across the nation. *NSYNC was also led by a future media mogul who, although many people refuse to admit it, has made his mark on the entertainment industry.
Think about it—what has Justin Timberlake ever done to deserve hatred? Despite the schmaltzy teen aura, he produced the majority of “No Strings Attached” before he was able to legally drink. He has shown his individual talent by receiving stacks of Grammy Awards for his solo albums, collaborating with well-known comedy troupe The Lonely Island and playing the role of Napster founder Sean Parker in the critically acclaimed film “The Social Network.” To top it all off, he is an active philanthropist for children’s hospitals and wildlife foundations. The guy even has his own brand of tequila. No wonder he’s been linked to Jessica Biel and Scarlett Johansson—girls want to marry him and guys want to hang out with him.
The main reason why high school kids and young adults love J.T. is because he took the world by storm in an era when the teen-pop genre was popular, and then continued to grow with the generation as he became more successful. Now let’s move on to the lesser of the Justins—the one who created “Bieber Fever.” Justin Bieber grew up in Ontario, singing his favorite R&B hits and garnering a cult following on YouTube. Though he performs an utterly different genre from other teen idols, he still has been incredibly successful. However, he has only captured the market niche of teen girls and very few fans of other ages. He has collaborated with a multitude of major artists, like Ludacris and Sean Kingston, and advocated for causes like suicide prevention within the LGBT community.
So what is it exactly that sets these two apart? Both of them seem pretty similar, at least when Timberlake was Bieber’s age. Well, here’s one piece of evidence that sums up Bieber in a nutshell—he released a film about himself three years after he recorded his first record, pretentiously titled “Never Say Never,” documenting his rise to stardom. Additionally, the kid was born after Clinton was elected president of the United States. My opinion is that he might seem ostentatious now, but he is still 18 years old. Sometimes he is obnoxiously outspoken about his views on abstinence and abortion, but he must be doing something right to be more popular than the Dalai Lama, according to social media analytics. Allow him time to mature. Maybe he has a little Timberlake in him.
On a more personal note—since I will be graduating this month, I just wanted to thank The Review, especially Ted Simmons, for the opportunity to write this column. Thanks to Scott Scheinberg for taking pictures of my articles and sending them to me, proving that he read my columns, to my brother Jeremy for continuing the Barr legacy at the university, to Waldo for the ice skates in the back of his car and to Alpha Epsilon Pi for helping shape my college experience in the most positive way possible. Adiós, amigos.