Boy bands: They’re like any fashion trend. Every few years they come back into style and just as quickly make their exit. Usually propelled by the undying loyalty of teen girls, these over-processed and hyper-marketed groups of adorably stereotyped guys singing falsetto and marveling at each others’ biceps is a formula as old as The Beatles. Yeah, we said it: The Beatles were the first boy band. And though they did not make this list, there’s a little bit of John, Paul, George and Ringo in each one of these videos.
This list brings home some of the worst examples of what can happen when the boy band formula gets a little out of control. Here are the 10 most horrendous boy band videos of all time.
Update: When this was first posted on TheSmokingJacket.com it lit up the internet. Years later it’s still the most commented on story on TheSmokingJacket.com. I received death threats and hundreds of emails and angry fan notes on Twitter from the fans of the awful Korean boy band JYJ. Good times.
B4-4 – Get Down
B4-4. Get it? What’s before 4? Three! Three guys with tans out of a Gene Wilder film. This is the crown jewel. You find a better boy-band music video and…well, you can’t. We’ve searched. There isn’t one. Even their other amazing video for the song “Go Go” can’t compete. How did this video come to be? According to Wikipedia:
After spontaneously walking into Sony Records’s Toronto office, the group performed for the CEO of Sony USA, Howard Stringer. The trio was then signed to the label, and the album B4-4 was produced.
From the opening shots of a young boy wandering onto the creepiest beach in history to the Oompa Loompa tans on the singers, this is a visual treat. Add the chorus lyrics “If you get down on me, I’ll get down on you,” and it isn’t hard see why Howard Stringer signed them on the spot and was later promoted to CEO of the entire Sony Corporation.
E-Male “We Are E-Male”
“We are E-Male, we just, can’t fail,” so the lyrics go–with the play on words with e-mail and the fact that these guys are, we’re led to believe, male. It’s so ridiculously clever, they must have had a hard time swallowing each other’s disappointment when this song did, in fact, fail. Bonus points for the roller skates.
O-Town – Liquid Dreams
Generated from a reality TV show produced by the man who brought the Backstreet Boys and ‘NSync to life–and is now doing life in prison, though, not for creating these bands, surprisingly enough–”Liquid Dreams” is a song about explosive emotion. They couldn’t sell a song to teens called “Wet Dreams” and were forced to get clever and call the song “Liquid Dreams.” The video features the guys in a “liquid” world. Yikes. A song about ejaculation and a futuristic video with guys essentially inside the wet dream itself? Did we already say “Yikes”?
New Edition – Cool It Now
If only Bobby Brown had heeded his own advice and cooled it sooner when it came to…oh…alleged domestic violence and alleged illicit drug use.
Dream Street – It Happens Everytime
This was the start of Jesse McCartney. It wasn’t promising.
LFO – Girl On TV
It’s a song about being in love with an actress, a video of three guys basically just sitting on a couch and you get the idea that they’re all somehow involved with her. Is this at the same time? Do they each take a day? How does it all work out? And here’s a fun fact: the girl on TV in question is Jennifer Love Hewitt, who actually dated the lead singer of this train wreck at one point.
5ive – “If Ya Gettin Down”
It’s typical boy-band fare–guys in military clothes dancing in a warehouse. Singing to each other about getting down. Fire blasting behind them. Try this: Imagine that each fireball is actually one of the guys’ farts being ignited.
Blue – Too Close
I don’t know who did it first, but watching Blue’s “Too Close” after watching Next’s “Too Close” is like chewing the rusted bumper of an ’87 Oldsmobile after a long winter of eating chocolate cake. It’s horrendous. Enjoy.
Boyzone – No Matter What
White suits like the Backstreet Boys? Check. Uncle Remus-looking guy in a hot air balloon? Check. Girls? Who needs ‘em? We already have everything we need for a love song music video.
JYJ – Ayy Girl
According to Guinness this is the biggest boy band (by fan base) in the world. Ever. They’re from Korea, and this is their attempt at an English crossover. The worst part? Not the white suits, but the Kanye West guest spot. What the fuck.