Boy bands

Listen to the radio interview about boy bands and do the exercises to practise and improve your listening skills.

Instructions

Do the preparation exercise before you listen. Then do the other exercises to check your understanding.

Preparation

Do this exercise before you listen.

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Transcript

Presenter: The internet is full of articles about what makes a good boy band. But many bands appear and disappear without a trace. Alana, it can’t be as easy as following a formula, can it?
Alana: No, I don’t think so. The traditional formula is that you have four or five good-looking young guys with some musical ability and the ability to dance – the choreographed dancing was very important to boy bands in the past. They tended to wear the same, or very similar clothes when they performed, so you had to decide on a ‘look’ for the group. The most important element, however, was said to be that the band members had different and very distinct personalities.
Presenter: Right, the cute one, the rebel, the joker, the shy one, mysterious one ...
Alana: Yeah, although sometimes they all just seem to like the cute one! The idea is that different boys appeal to different girls, so you can have a bigger fan base. There’s someone in the band for everyone.
Presenter: So, do you think this all still holds true? Or have things changed in the 21st century?
Alana: Yeah, I guess things have changed for several reasons – partly just because we needed a change – but mainly because of changes in the media and with new technology. Take One Direction …
Presenter: Ah, I’ve been counting the seconds before you mentioned One Direction!
Alana: Well, we have to talk about them because they’re the biggest thing at the moment, although who knows how long they will last.
Presenter: Oh, ages and ages ...
Alana: We’ll see. Anyway, One Direction, as you know, came to fame through the X Factor, a reality show, and that was a great way to start. You had loads of people watching them every week and wanting them to win. They felt as if they had a personal stake in their story as they voted for them every week.
Presenter: What age group does One Direction appeal to exactly?
Alana: That’s another clever thing, they seem very unthreatening, so they appeal to very young girls, they are cute so teenage girls really like them, but they also have a laddish, slightly naughty side to appeal to the mums! The teenage girls and the mums are the ones who will spend money. The lyrics to the songs are calculated to appeal to girls who feel a bit insecure about themselves, like most teenage girls. "You don't know you're beautiful, that's what makes you beautiful", that kind of thing. Lots of girls want to feel wanted, but not scared, and that’s traditionally what boy bands do. They present this image of a clean-cut, reliable boyfriend. Actually, One Direction’s clothes also help here: chinos and clean casual shirts and canvas shoes. You’ll have noticed that they don’t wear the same clothes. Their stylists have been instructed to keep them looking individual, but despite that they all have this attractive but unthreatening look. No tattoos, or piercings, or black leather, or make-up or anything.
Presenter: You make them seem very cold and calculating. Remember that  they’ve been nominated for loads of music awards and they’ve won dozens, so they’re regarded as serious musicians.
Alana: OK, if you don’t want to believe they’re calculating you can blame their management. They’re nice boys who are fantastic musicians.
Presenter: They are! And they keep proving their critics wrong. A lot of people said they wouldn’t make the leap from the UK to the US market, but they did very quickly.
Alana: Yes, and that’s all down to their clever use of social media, or rather their management’s clever use of social media. One Direction are all over Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Tumblr. That’s how they made it in the States so quickly. In the past it was a lot more difficult and took a lot longer. Bands had to try and get air-time on local radio stations and that was really hard. But they’ve by-passed all that. Social media has become the new radio, as their manager said.
Presenter: Their first record, Up All Night, went to number one in the US, didn’t it?
Alana: Sure did! They achieved a world record as the first British band in history to reach number one in America with a debut album. It sold 176,000 copies in the US in a single week.
Presenter: Amazing. And the boys are all rich from the merchandising too.
Alana: Yes, well, the boys and their management company. There are One Direction phones, toys and games. Dolls, even. I think that’s another 21st-century thing – companies are cashing in on success in all possible ways as quickly as possible.
Presenter: May they all enjoy it while it lasts.

Discussion

Are One Direction just another formulaic boy band or do they have something special? Tell us what you think!

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Comments

Submitted by Tsutsuna on Fri, 12/09/2022 - 23:41

Personally, I think they are a kinda enjoyble band, and they made not so bad music. Nothing special, of course, but not even like the other hundreds of daily boy bands. Not my favourite, but perfect to sing with friends

Submitted by GBGBGBGB on Tue, 08/23/2022 - 16:57

One Direction is for me a normal and boring boy band, they aren’t that good and as we can see after ten years they failed as band, now only Harry Styles has success and for me only for some other years.

Submitted by FranklyWrittenWrong on Sat, 07/16/2022 - 04:15

One Direction is the most popular boybands back when I was just a little 8 years old. I used to love their music but now it kind of getting old now.

Submitted by aycauzz1 on Wed, 06/08/2022 - 06:30

I'm not a one direction fan but their songs are good.

Submitted by lucalvesilva on Thu, 05/19/2022 - 10:19

I truly believe that One Direction just follows the same boy band's formula. The boys just have changed according to the trends of this century as it should be. I'm not a huge fan but I admit that their songs hardly can be removed from our minds. It's great strategy to achieve a larger audience.
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Submitted by robotrobot on Mon, 02/14/2022 - 13:28

Thank you for providing us with such an interesting podcast!Frankly saying, I know only one song of One Direction-what makes you beautiful.I remember one series where One Direction's music was played but I cannot remember its name. I have never been fan of this band but as far as I can see the music of it makes people feel happy and self-assured. Therefore I will not say that One Direction is annoying or something like that.

Submitted by ryo_so on Tue, 09/07/2021 - 19:55

I really enjoyed listening to this audio, personally it was a little bit hard to understand some words because of the British accent, but overall I think this kind the activities were we can listen to somenthing that we find interesting makes it easier to understand and we can improve our listening skill.
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Submitted by Valeria_ on Sat, 09/04/2021 - 04:40

I think boy bands are very varied and there are different concepts, although they are still similar in the basic concept that they are a group of attractive boys with vocal and dance skills, I don't know much about one direction but there are boy bands with a lot talent for example bts, since they have a lot of vocal and dancing talent, even though people often think that their popularity is only due to their physical attractiveness and many times they do not take time to listen to the songs and also many people believe that this types of groups are only for girls, although in many boy bands it is like that since they have a concept directed for girls because of their lyrics, but there are boy bands that handle different musical genres and concepts and I think that some stereotypes that are about the boy bands
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Submitted by Elpro202 on Sat, 07/31/2021 - 14:59

Yes, brilliant boys and managers but their music for me is horrible, horrible. The lyrics say the same but with different words as same as reggaeton does. Personally I don't like One Direction but I respect their music and fans.

Submitted by huongvu on Sun, 06/13/2021 - 09:54

To be honest, I'm not clear about this. But I did see something special in their music, their songs. I have heard one of their most popular songs, "What makes you beautiful". The lyrics are fun and ear- catching. Our class once had a dance performance using this song on our high school graduation day and that was great.
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Submitted by Kostantinus on Thu, 02/25/2021 - 06:10

Hello, everyone! Let me introduce myself. I am from Ukraine. I have never heard about One direction band. As a boy I am not attracted by boy bands. In my opinion they all look the same, although their music style vary. There is only one boy band I like. It's Il Divo. All the boys have beautiful voices and good looking appearance. They sing in different languages such as English, Italian and Spanish. The songs they sing are very famouse so the audiance can hear familiar melodies from the first moment of singing.

Submitted by Vuquan on Wed, 08/26/2020 - 13:43

I don't know but one direction is cool
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Submitted by icat on Mon, 07/27/2020 - 10:16

I can see the different personalities of the boys in the bands.

Submitted by BibekSanjeev on Mon, 07/20/2020 - 16:46

I am not a fan of boy bands.... but one direction is not bad. I prefer the rap and singles more.

Submitted by katsperino on Wed, 05/13/2020 - 15:13

i find boy bands highly annoying, you don't have to agree with me but just hear me out. there just a big advertisement for a bunch of products. kids can't really realize what's going on, so when they see an ad that features someone they look up too, the instantly need it. I do have to admit that (sometimes), i lack the feature of realization. most of the time, their music is just about something like; girls, a product, more girls and love. some could say that it's just not my taste of music. I mean, what could I say? you're not wrong.....

Submitted by Jasiel on Wed, 03/25/2020 - 16:59

at first they were a calculated band but now they have their own style.

Submitted by samlopez on Thu, 03/12/2020 - 22:07

In my view, I feel that the boy bands are more attractive for girls; this takes this band as more famous to draw girl's attention. I know One Direction since 2010 that was the year they came out in the light and from that time I liked a lot and I began hear their music.

Submitted by crisaviles on Thu, 03/12/2020 - 22:05

For me the band has both because in one direction there are very attractive guys for most of the girls, this band has several fans and all the fans see something very special that the band has which is how united they are and good feelings what you put when composing a song.

Submitted by juls on Thu, 03/05/2020 - 13:54

i've loved one direction since 2015, thanks to my best friend, who one day told me to listen to one of their songs. from that moment i became a big fan of their music. unfortunatly they decided to take a break, so now they sing as individual artists (even if they said that they'd return together in 2020). i really miss them.

Submitted by Sarielna on Thu, 05/23/2019 - 18:18

One Direction will always be a lengend of boy bands. And I love them a lot, still waiting for their comeback. Anyone else like me?

Submitted by Octopider on Sun, 05/05/2019 - 08:11

I think they have to take a more make ups.

Submitted by Ramisa_05 on Sat, 04/13/2019 - 18:40

I am a directioner .Really i love this band.They are not just a boyband.They r like a family.I hope one direction reunites soon.
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Submitted by smilemaria85 on Sun, 03/03/2019 - 16:49

Of course they are great!! I grew up with them. They have a lot of great songs. Also their songs are perfect for singing in the car. I don't really like their fans. I am not a fan either. But the band and their songs are extremely AMAZING!!

Submitted by Askar100 on Thu, 03/21/2019 - 07:45

Perfect for singing in the car??? Wow, I first time hear comment like this)))

In reply to by smilemaria85

Submitted by Askar100 on Fri, 02/08/2019 - 16:18

I listened to this audio many times, so I have to listen to One Direction song now. Girl Alana is talking about boys band so interesting. Informative audio!

Submitted by Askar100 on Mon, 03/25/2019 - 12:35

Dini, I didnt listen to this song. Is that song belongs to One Direction?

In reply to by dinifettimueter

Submitted by Askar100 on Fri, 02/08/2019 - 07:46

Excellent audio materials! Thank you for these listening materials!

Submitted by Askar100 on Mon, 03/25/2019 - 12:34

Dinifettimueter, or listen to this song - Dimash Kudaibergen - mademoiselle Hyde!

In reply to by dinifettimueter

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Submitted by ArmyJD on Mon, 03/12/2018 - 00:18

Well, I'm not a fan of One Direction but I like it. Their songs are good and it's pretty cool to practice my English as well. I totally agree with the podcast because social media has made lots of bands successful. I think that's a good strategy to start becoming famous. You know, most of the teenagers are always with the mobile phone and they know what happen in the world before that appears on TV. Nowadays, most of the bands have done that and they've succeed so well.

Submitted by lowlaw on Sat, 01/06/2018 - 16:04

ok.. do u have facebook acc sothat i can send u a pic of what appears to me when i try to play any track
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