When my 8-year-old introduces me to new music, I listen with a grain of salt. There's some real crap out there for kids, just like there was real crap out there when I was a pre-teen, and you were a pre-teen.
What's different now is "boy bands"! We didn't have boy bands. There were bands and singing groups with cute lead singers, but they were not boy bands. There were even manufactured bands, but they weren't boy bands.
The Monkees had Davy Jones and The Partridge Family had David Cassidy. There were others, but it's early and I just don't remember.
By the time New Edition and New Kids On The Block hit the scene, I was in my twenties and far too bored, hip, cool and detached to appreciate anything about the genre.
Now I have an 8-year-old.
I know about Justin Bieber (he's so last year).
When I watched One Direction on television I was surprised that 4 of the 5 of them could sing pretty well, and that all five of them were damn good dancers. So, although they are a fabricated, brain child of a Svengali, there's something there.
There are the Disney-manufactured bands that are my least favorite. Big Time Rush was the hot band for my daughter. I didn't really like them, but they had one song that is in rotation in the unconscious jukebox inhabiting the entertainment lobe of my brain. I'll be damned if I can remember the name of the song, but it has a line to "party like a rock star" and that always creeps me out. The way rock stars of my youth partied is not the way I think of boy bands partying. If that's how boy bands party, then I have a completely incorrect vision of them.
Now comes The Wanted. They are a boy band with a bit of an edge. We like them.
We are Platinum members of their fan club; we traveled hundreds of miles to miss one of their shows; they are in heavy rotation in the Mac household, and when I told one of my colleagues about them, she downloaded the album and is now a fan.
It's pop music. Plain-old pop music. Pop music sung by good-looking young men.
They mostly follow that boy band song formula: start like a ballad with plaintive lyrics and a seeming drop into the depths of depression, only to explode into a techno/dance track with everybody happy and bopping.
They are a British band with one member from Ireland, and they have released music for two years before hitting the USA. My daughter likes Nathan and has a Nathan case on her iPod. I like Siva, but I don't own any pictures of him. I think mommy likes Max. They're all adorable.
If you haven't heard them yet, please let me be the one to warn you: they're coming for your brain and your money and your children and all of your spare time.