Boyz 2 Men

Senior+Briana+Lopez+displays+her+One+Direction+themed+poster+and+Harry+Style%27s+vinyl+covers+that+adorn+her+bedroom+wall.+

Andrea Izaguirre

Senior Briana Lopez displays her One Direction themed poster and Harry Style’s vinyl covers that adorn her bedroom wall.

By Andrea Izaguirre, Hagerty High School

The evolution of the boy band is a tale as old as The Beatles. For some, the attachments to certain musically talented heart-throbs formed in early childhood or adolescence never quite fade over time. Today, many high school students still find themselves head-over-heels for groups and ex-members that they’ve cried over, pulled all-nighters for and devoted countless hours of streaming toward since elementary school.

Arguably some of the most popular boy bands of the modern era, groups like One Direction, Big Time Rush, The Jonas Brothers and 5 Seconds of Summer, defied all the laws of pop music and revolutionized the way young listeners in the 2010s viewed the industry.

“It’s kind of crazy watching them grow up. I mean, we literally watched them from when they were children to now being adults,” senior Madison Chandler said. “I was kind of a secret One Direction fan when I was in elementary school- I didn’t want to be like everyone else so I kept it low-key. But now I’m a proud One Direction fan. I don’t care anymore.”

Senior Claudia Allocca has liked her boy band of choice, 5SOS, since 2014.

“It’s been amazing to see how much their sound and style of music has progressively changed over time,” Allocca said. “I’ve seen them four times in concert… I feel like a proud mom every time I see them advancing more in the music industry.”

Despite only recently being proud of her 1D fan status, Chandler also continues to support the members’ solo careers – just as much as she did years ago. Chandler has maintained the same level of interest in the group’s music, drama and personality since the early 2010s.

“When One Direction first split up I was devastated, but when they started making solo music I realized how much… more mature it was,” Chandler said.

 Die-hard “One-Directioners” are not uncommon to find despite the group having gone on a permanent hiatus in January of 2016. The group’s unique structure, which consisted of five separate members who each pursued a career in the entertainment business, allowed for fans to continue supporting their favorite boy well past the groups expiration date. 

“All of the [ex]-members of One direction have moved onto better things and are killing it in their own ways,” Senior Briana Lopez said. “Zayn, Louis, Niall and Harry have made some really great solo stuff… and they seem so much happier to be making what they want to make rather than what they [would’ve] been making as a boy band.” 

With groups like 1D, TJB and 5SOS, keeping up with boys has proved to be relatively simple. For junior Evan Siegel, “Instagram and Twitter” are the main platforms to use when secretly cyber-stalking an ex-member. Lopez, Allocca and Chandler all agree that using social media is the most prominent way to keep up with the boys and their current projects.

“I followed The Jonas Brothers the second I realized they were on TikTok,” Allocca said. While TikTok has proved to be a more casual way to stay in touch with all of her favorite boys, Allocca’s preferred platform for staying updated is Twitter, much like Lopez and Chandler.

“I personally  follow a lot of hardcore Harry stan accounts on Twitter so I frequently hear about what’s going on with him from there,” Lopez said. “I’m supposed to see Harry Styles in concert next October for his postponed Love on Tour, hopefully that happens. I’m keeping up with any developments via his management’s Twitter.”

While following the boys on social media and staying up to date with their general projects isn’t inherently enough to be considered a “crazy fan girl,” going the extra step to publicly show support for the boys today is still viewed as slightly obsessive for some. 

“ I know I do some things that people think are a little much like posting certain things or hanging certain things up on my wall,” Chandler said. “That’s why you have to find people that have the same obsession as you so you don’t seem as crazy.”

For Lopez, she believes any push-back she has received from showing her admiration for the group both online and in real life stems from society’s “culture of hating teenage girls”.

 “I don’t take any of the hate to heart because it’s always been there, surrounding boy bands. When the Beatles first got popular their fans were mainly female, but as time moved on it [changed from] being considered silly music for girls to being extremely influential… and some of the most beloved music of all time. Again, people just love to hate popular things in the moment so it’s not surprising,” Lopez said.

Moving into young adulthood, Allocca speaks for many students when she says that age will not play a role in redefining her appreciation for the groups that helped shape her childhood.

“[5SOS is] still my favorite band to this date, I hope to see them in concert for a fifth time if possible.” Allocca said. “Yes, everyone already knows I’m obsessed and I have no intention of stopping anytime soon.”

This story was originally published on Hagerty Journalism Today on January 4, 2021.