Down With “Girl Bands”

Damn them! Damn them all straight to heck! Er…the term, that is. Notice the quotation marks?

Actual girl bands are the coolest thing in the world. A group of girls, or a group with a predominant girl, who like to get together and jam? I’m all about that. Without them, we wouldn’t have Sonic Youth, or the Spice Girls, or the Fugees, or Destiny’s Child, or…you get the picture. But the term “girl band”? Therein lies the problem. Out damn spot.

While we’ve had our fair share of “boy bands” with the likes of NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys, we’ve also had our fill of “girl groups”, such as the ones mentioned above. On the surface, it doesn’t seem like there’s a problem. But breaking down the terms a bit sheds some light on it: when we hear the term “boy band”, we get a specific image. Frosted tips, over-gelled hair, sequined jumpsuits, disgustingly catchy pop songs. And their era is basically over, save for maybe One Direction. Albeit they’re a different brand of boy band. But I’m getting off topic- let’s picture a “girl band”. Why, any number of groups can come to mind. Each of them shares one thing in common: they have at least one predominant member who’s female.

So why is that a problem?

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Born out of rage and a shared love of Riot Grrrl music, Sleater-Kinney emerged as one of the most iconic “girl bands” of their time. Breaking back into the mainstream with No Cities To Love just this year after an eight year hiatus, the world was reintroduced to their feisty, guttural sound and equally so personalities. After getting to know guitarist Carrie Brownstein via her very funny spot on Portlandiait’s no surprise that she’s packed full of fury. In an interview with the cast members of the raunchy, refreshingly female comedy Broad CityBrownstein relayed what exactly is the issue with the term “girl band”:

“No one’s ever asked the question, ‘Why did you decide to be in a band with all men?’”

With the Riot Grrrl movement being the embodiment of this very sentiment, Sleater-Kinney make for the perfect poster child (children?) for speaking out against “girl bands”. And this isn’t the first instance of the Washington based trio showing off their angst- they use their music as a vehicle for political and social messages similar to this.

In a track titled “New Wave” off their latest album, paying close attention to the explosive lyrics, it’s evident the song is an homage to the most recent incarnation of the feminist movement, New Wave. (Or Third Wave, as it’s also referred to as.) It’s a song battling against the very label they’re best known for. (It also has a cute Bob’s Burgers video to accompany it.)

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And they’re not the only ones who are frustrated. Sister trio HAIM have also taken it upon themselves to reject the term “girl band”. In an interview with Telegraph, youngest sister Alana had this to say on constantly being referred to as such:

I would always look up to Stevie Nicks and Blondie – they are dope female musicians. So I just see us as a band. When people call us a girl band, I take it as an insult – being a girl in a band shouldn’t be a thing. It seems so medieval.

Alana Haim put so eloquently what Carrie Brownstein angrily propels into her music. She also highlights something important- that her idols growing up were highly talented female musicians.

While no one necessarily recognizes Fleetwood Mac for being an iconic girl group, they certainly know Stevie Nicks and Christie McVie for the fantastic female talent they bring. Fleetwood Mac is simply known as a great group, sans the unnecessary gender assignment to their title as a band, and with proper emphasis on individual members. I take no issue with properly recognizing female musicians for what they bring to the musical table, it’s that we continue to alienate groups solely based on their gender composition that’s problematic. A group like HAIM or Sleater-Kinney shouldn’t be impressive because they’re all girls who are good at making music. They’re impressive because they’re good, regardless of gender.

 

It’s All Or Nothing! O-Town is coming back

On Ryan Seacrest’s website today, as well as Justin Timberlake’s management facebook page, there was on announcement stating the following “NSYNC announce reunion: 2 new songs, tour coming in 2015.”

*NSYNC are saying “Bye Bye Bye” to their 12-year hiatus. On Tuesday, the mega popular boy band — who came together for an epic medley performance at the MTV Video Music Awards last August — announced that they will be reuniting once again, but this time for a world tour and new music. “Do you want us back??? Get ready for more of that dirty pop in 2015!!!!!” tweeted @NSYNC, which is run by Justin Timberlake, JC Chasez, Joey Fatone, Lance Bass, and Chris Kirkpatrick. As for the group’s fourth album, it will reportedly be a greatest hits collection plus two new tracks, one of which will be a collaboration with Miley Cyrus. There have also been rumors that the “Wrecking Ball” singer will also serve as *NSYNC’s opening act when they launch their There Are Still No Strings Attached world tour next year. *NSYNC split in 2002 after seven years together. Their three albums produced scores of Top 20 hit singles, including “It’s Gonna Be Me,” “Bye Bye Bye,” and “Girlfriend.”

I got  excited, I gasped and told my roommate to what he responded by saying “It’s probably an April Fools joke.” And Yes, it was.. They had put out the article but also said *April Fools! The above story is just a fun fabrication … hope you had a good laugh with us. –

Scoff to that.

 

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Through my search to find any evidence that this Nsync reunion was true I discovered that O-Town another boyband from the 90s IS reuniting after 10 years, not as 5 member group but four of the original members minus Ashley.

 

They say “This time is different clearly for one reason — there is only us. There’s no big manager. There’s no big label. There’s no big networks. There’s no big music mogul. It’s just us and our love for music,”
I’m curious to see how this will turn out since it’s without the most popular member, and no label support or manager. Will they bring back the late 90, early 2000 boy band sound or release something completely different? Not a lot of the previous boy band members did well after the break ups except for Justin Timberlake so I’m looking forward to seeing how the industry and the audience react to their comeback once there are more details.

By the way! Happy April Fools!