The Monkees were the first group to exhibit all or most of the qualities we now associate with the term "boy band." They were assembled through auditions. They had a set of visual styles imposed on them. They were incredibly popular with tween-aged girls. They were plagued by the accusation that there was less to them than meets the eye. That last accusation was false, by the way.
The Monkees and their music have held up remarkably well over the ensuing decades. But they started a pattern that would repeat itself sometimes less gloriously in a slew of manufactured boy bands.
And yet, and yet...if boy bands were as reprehensible as their critics make them out to be, they wouldn't be as popular as they are.
In the last analysis, what's the point of making war against nice looking guys singing catchy songs and acting goofy?
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- Amanda Hess is a freelance writer who writes about sex and technology and contributor to Slate's Double X.
- Maura Johnst0n is a writer and music critic and editor of Maura Magazine, a weekly online magazine. She is also the 2013-2014 Journalism Fellow at Boston College's Institute for Liberal Arts.
- Tyler Gray is and editorial director at Fast Company and the author of The Hit Charade: Lou Pearlman, Boy Bands, and the Biggest Ponzi Scheme in U.S. History.
- Jeff Timmons is an American pop singer and producer and a founding member of the Grammy-nominated pop group 98 Degrees.