One Direction is great art

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      In order of most to least fuckable, One Direction consists of five men who are over the age of consent named Harry, Zayn, Liam, Niall, and Louis. If you live in a naive bubble where commercial dance-pop simply isn’t on your radar despite the millions of albums they’ve sold and the billions of YouTube plays they’ve accrued, here’s what else you need to know: 1D is a ridiculously popular boy band from London, England, who perform catchy, tightly produced songs that somehow manage to be saccharine and nonthreatening as they taunt you with lyrics about how they’re going to plow your daughter. Yes, this impeccably marketed and well-choreographed song-and-dance machine probably sounds all too familiar to you. But here’s the thing: One Direction is actually quite incredible.

      Oh, sure, along with its music, there are apps, clothing lines, fragrances, and board games with the members’ handsome faces plastered all over them. But crass commercialism is part and parcel of any decent pop project. Andy Warhol once said: “Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.”

      Let’s hope these lads have another 15 minutes of fame left in them, because the empire they’ve built up in three years is awe-inspiring. Hell, I’m positive Warhol would even love their cover that mashes up Blondie’s “One Way or Another” and the Undertones’ “Teenage Kicks”. “Gee, that’s great,” he’d say.

      That pop music is vapid and lacking substance is an ignorant notion. Pop is the most interesting and culturally relevant music out there. Rock, EDM, and their multitude of indie subgenres are what’s moribund these days. I’ll happily give the latest One Direction album a play over some Bearhunter side project that was anointed a nine-point-whatever on a sycophantic music blog last week.

      Boy bands—from Hanson to NKOTB to the Rolling Stones—have always had a difficult time being taken seriously. That’s a damn shame, because they’re tackling real issues with their music, and it speaks on a global scale to young women dealing with their hormones. Most bands I catch are bar window-dressing who interrupt my important conversations. Have you ever seen the blissed-out expression on a Directioner’s face when they hear “What Makes You Beautiful” performed live? It stimulates a spiritual experience that’s more powerful than ayahuasca could ever give them.

      Appealing largely to women is a sure-fire way to never get the critical recognition you deserve. Plain and simple, it’s snobbishness that’s rooted in sexism. You see, music writing is overpopulated with annoying white dudes. (I’d know. I’m one of them and still curse my parents to this day because of it. Inconsiderate assholes.)

      At present, think tanks made up of our country’s biggest music nerds are busy heaping praise, awards, and novelty-size cheques on Arcade Fire, Feist, and Metric—basically the aural equivalent of a dogs-playing-poker poster. (And people wonder why the music and publishing industries are in the shitter.)

      While this is going on, timeless classics by Justin Bieber and Carly Rae Jepsen, which have the grandness and beauty of Jeff Koons sculptures, get ignored. A hundred years from now, I guarantee “Baby” and “Call Me Maybe” will still be around and making us smile. The mere mention of boring Cancon acts will get you banished to the Forbidden Zone where you’ll have to deal with cannibals.

      So have fun stroking your chins, making snide remarks, and being too cool to look like you’re having a good time in half-empty concert venues this weekend, fuckers. I’ll be at the One Direction show in a stadium full of people who are having the time of their lives. Hopefully, Harry notices me, but failing that, I’d settle for Louis.

      Comments

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      70 Comments

      FanBoy

      Jul 24, 2013 at 2:48pm

      More trolling from Michael Mann. Yay.

      Justin

      Jul 24, 2013 at 3:30pm

      thanks for the first paragraph, didnt know who they were. Andy Warhol is a cynical hack who produced a bunch of meaningless bullshit. Much like the people who created these 'artists' I'd imagine.

      Better title

      Jul 24, 2013 at 3:42pm

      A better title for this article would be: One Direction- Grating "Art".
      It's funny you chose to 'pick on' Arcade Fire, Feist and Metric- all truly incredible Canadian musicians- that's right, Canadian. Of all the bands out there you pick on these three? Did you see that? That was your credibility going out the window. Bye bye! You can keep your terrible shite British pop, sir.

      Jiff

      Jul 24, 2013 at 4:06pm

      The thing about these guys, like 'em or hate 'em - is that they're real tight. They've also got the chops. And those chops are tight.

      Bruce

      Jul 24, 2013 at 5:35pm

      Haha...great article. Really funny!!
      And you're going to get lot's of play with it right Michael?
      You're a friggin' genius when it comes to pushing peoples buttons.
      Hey Michael, what if One Direction went in another direction...like electronica turntablists...wouldn't that be AWESOME!

      Aby

      Jul 24, 2013 at 10:23pm

      Um excuse me, Louis is most fuckable in my eyes, but in all serious I love this article so so much. Mr Mann, i applaud you for seeing reason with One Direction, instead of hating them like so many other males out there. Sure they don't all play instruments like a real band, but they do have talent and not only that but they are genuinely good people who aren't arrogant assholes who pee in restaurant buckets and such. I know i'm a girl and so i'm obviously going to like them more because they are the opposite sex who are very very good looking, but I think they are so famous because they don't act famous, if that makes sense. They just are normal lads who managed to get a break in the fame game, and still act like their not mega celebs. I guess I can't make the other readers see a more positive note to this band, but i'm glad that this article exists.

      directioner malik

      Jul 25, 2013 at 6:55am

      this is litteral fuck !i dont know why is wvery one jealous of one direction their success n& fan following ...
      but bitches directioners will always follow 1D and they are the best boy band ever !!!!

      Adrian Mack

      Jul 25, 2013 at 8:30am

      @Aby, I agree about Louis. This is a great article but Mann's rankings are totally out of whack.

      Graeme McRanor

      Jul 25, 2013 at 12:59pm

      +1, Michael. +1.

      No, seriously, can I be your +1?

      Cady

      Jul 26, 2013 at 3:52am

      At first I didn't know whether you were joking. Actually, I still don't. Is this sarcasm? I just don't know. Either way, great article. I laughed the entire way through.