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Jennifer Principe COM 410 Prof. Hobbs September 27, 2012 Children’s Media: Present Meets Past Teenage heartthrob. Stud. Hottie. Heartbreaker. Womanizer. Charmer. These are allwords that can describe Justin Bieber, today’s hottest boy celebrity, in the eyes of every teenagegirl. Justin Bieber is currently the epitome of sigh-inducing perfection to any girl within the agesof five to twenty five. Though he is eighteen, his youth appeals to younger girls while hismaturing music choices are alluring to teenagers and even women in their twenties and thirties.In fact, many mothers are huge fans of Justin Bieber and are just as excited as their daughters tosee him in concert! Justin Bieber may be the big boy star of today, but there were many beforehim that attracted girls and young women. These musicians/ groups include Buddy Holiday, TheBeatles, Prince, Elvis, The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Kurt Cobain, Jon Bon Jovi, NewKids on the Block, N*SYNC, 98 Degrees, Hanson, and Dreamstreet. One of the more notableenthralling groups though, was the Backstreet Boys. They were my personal favorite boy band/musician growing up during the 1990’s and I still occasionally listen to their music now. The first huge difference between Justin Bieber and the Backstreet Boys is the obviouspoint that the Backstreet Boys are the prototype boy band, with 5 members, all with various sexappeals and personalities. Justin Bieber is one musician; he does work with a band and hasbackup dancers and singers, but he is also a talented drummer. Justin does have a lot of abilitiesas an artist; he can sing decently without auto-tune, he has some remarkable dance moves, and hehas undeniable swagger and sex appeal. Because Justin is one entity, he not only has to put in allof the work since he is the entire image of ‘Justin Bieber: heartthrob of the 2010’s’, but he alsotakes all of the flack as far as gossip goes. Justin has been on multiple tabloid covers and
involved in a couple of scandals, even at the tender age of eighteen. He also chooses to beinvolved in a high-profile relationship with girlfriend Selena Gomez. Since the media is everpresent, and the paparazzi have no fears, every move Justin and Selena make is documented andcan be scrutinized. Young girls of today feel that Justin is not only perfect, but can be their own boyfriend.Selena has gotten multiple death threats over their relationship, which can possibly turn into aviolent situation. Girls have gotten into fist fights and sustained injuries from trying to claw theirway to Justin when he is in their proximity, at various events. Nevertheless, crazy fan girls havealways been this way. When the Backstreet Boys were touring in 2005, a fan was injured bytheir tour bus as it was making its way through a crowded airport. Additionally, Nick Carter, amember of the Backstreet Boys sustained minor injuries by fans pushing him into a car. Girlsthat are fanatical over these boys (Justin, Backstreet, and many others) will not let anything stopthem. As far as the actual music goes, the Backstreet Boys have produced seven albums and arecurrently working on their next one. Their popularity was at its peak between 1996 to 2002.During those years, they released four albums and gained thousands of fans, who were mostlyscreaming girls with crimped hair and the latest Sketchers shoes on. Justin, in comparison, hasreleased three albums so far. Interestingly, one of the Backstreet Boys’ most popular songs (andalso their second hit off of their first album) was titled ‘As Long as You Love Me’, and JustinBieber released a song of the same name on his most recent album, ‘Believe’. Not only do hisvocals and stylistic choices sometimes reflect the 90’s boy bands, but they inspire him enough towrite a song with the same name but a different rhythm.
As a young grade school girl growing up listening to boy bands, I fantasized about theBackstreet Boys and constantly listened to their CDs on my coveted Walkman. A memorableChristmas for me was when I received my first boom box, along with my first three CDs, thusstarting my CD collection which I would continue for many years down the road. One of thosethree CDs was the Backstreet Boys’ self-titled debut album. I know I played it over and overagain, and then bought their following albums as the years passed. A huge difference withtoday’s youth is that they do not even buy CDs anymore. Many grade school aged children havetheir own cell phones and iPods. They can buy all of their music on iTunes and listen to it ontheir portable device. Long gone are the days when I would borrow friends’ CDs to listen tothem if I didn’t own them myself. This is a significant cultural change that has really progressedwithin the past ten years alone. Also, nowadays celebrities can communicate with their fans easily through Facebook andTwitter. Justin Bieber is no stranger to this and is very active on Twitter. As of August 9, 2012,according to The Hollywood Reporter, Justin was the fourth most followed person on Twitter,with an astounding 26 million followers, and also 45.8 million Facebook fans. The numbers arestaggering and only prove his popularity. When the Backstreet Boys were in their peak, Twitterhad not been created yet. However, the Backstreet Boys have since been active on Twitter aswell, and have a respectable 465,000 followers. (If you were curious, yes, I do follow both ofthem!) Essentially, the Backstreet Boys and Justin Bieber have a lot of similar qualities: popularmusic, sex appeal, and a large audience of fans. Even though they have reigned the pop world atdifferent times in my era, I’m sure there will be another new popular boy/ boy band soonenough.