One Direction and Johnny Cash

By: Jack Rowe
By: Jack Rowe

As a child of the 90’s, I was more than familiar with the phenomenon of boy bands – ‘N SYNC and The Backstreet Boys ruled as princes of the nineties pop scene. Needless to say – and I confess without shame – I was a fan. In fact, I was for the most part oblivious to the music scene beyond my parents’ oldies and the previously mentioned pop powerhouses. And I was content with that. Whenever I hear the ‘N SYNC classics “Tearin’ Up My Heart” or “I Want You Back” – I’ll be honest – ANY song from their first self-titled album, I’m transported to my youth and all the uppity musical taste I’ve developed since then fades away. No cheesiness there… but mere magic. I babble, but I’m heading in One Direction here. As sure as the seasons change, the dearth of winter is over and the spring of boy bands has bloomed.

Although I may personally be unfamiliar with Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson, Zayn Malik, Harry Styles, and Liam Payne as individuals, I am painfully aware of their existence as a group, One Direction. If only I carried the clout these boys boast… I won’t even go there. Through some twist of good fortune, these young men entered the talent show, The X-Factor, as individuals without knowing that their fates would be intertwined to forge an unyielding alloy of awesomeness. And awesome they have proved themselves to be. The youth of America (as with rest of the world) has collapsed to their knees, helpless to their charm.

Their debut, Up All Night, sold over 3 million copies worldwide in 2012 and has dominated the pop scene without much threat of competition. I was actually living in Barcelona when their first smash-hit single “What Makes You Beautiful” aired in 2011 and even without American radio stations, I found One Directions’ eminence inescapable. The UK sensation is scheduled to drop their second album in November of this year with rumors of Niall showcasing his gifts on the guitar. Even I’m anxious to see what these boys will become. Could they reign as the ‘N SYNC of this decade? I’d be lying if I said they weren’t on to something. As for me, I’m incapable of admitting anyone to the realm of greatness achieved by ‘N SYNC so I’ll leave that judgment up to the unbiased.

Speaking of classics artists, the legendary Johnny Cash has a posthumous “best of” to be released on August 7th of 2012. The Number Ones includes such keystone compositions as “Ring of Fire,” “A Boy Named Sue,” “Walk The Line” and “Folsom Prison Blues.” After the biographical film Walk the Line shed light on his life and achievements, this Goliath of country music proliferated his cultish following recently after his passing. Regardless of your musical orientation, do yourself a favor and familiarize yourself with the masterpieces of the original “Man in Black.” You’d be a lot cooler if you did.

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