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One Direction: The View From A Former 17 Year Old Babysitter

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Do you remember your first kiss?” asked one of the gals from Icona Pop before singing, Then We Kiss. Funny she should ask. Driving into Manhattan I got to thinking about first kisses and the music behind it. Not sure why. Maybe it has something to do with music bringing out the youth in us or its power to transport us back in time. (My first kiss was in second grade when I pulled John under the teacher’s desk and planted one on his lips. What a floozy! Music? Maybe we were singing A Tisket A Tasket). Where was I? Yes, the stylish short-short wearing, electropop duo from Sweden performance was high energy and fun. Their newest release, Emergency, is a super fun dance number and earned a spot on my playlist, and of course, their 2013 hit, I Love It! which brings back fond memories while we waited for Taylor Swift in 2013 – my first concert with my daughters.

My favorite part of any concert is the thrill of when and how an artist/band will open their show. One Direction politely started just before 9P to 70,000 fans of which I estimate eighty-five percent were screaming. The stage went dark and then lit up with fireworks and Clouds – a high energy song with a fairly catchy chorus – to get things started. The young, primarily female audience is on their feet singing every word at the top of their lungs. It was deafening and I loved it!! Apparently, One Direction is the most lucrative concert in 2015 with a profit of $107 million (second Michael Jackson’s Cirque D’Soliel) with Taylor Swift somewhere in the middle with $47.7 million. The stage and show are very simple with varying brightly colored symbols – non distracting from the heart throbs – proving the foursome does not need all the extras.

According to a 2013 study by StubHub, One Direction’s fan base it not just screaming teens.   An undeniable ninety percent are female with forty-six percent aged thirty-five plus, a surprising twenty percent below the age of twenty-five and fourteen percent being aged sixty-five plus. These demographics surprised me, especially since I fall into the larger segment and am not particularly fond of boy bands (although, I did like the Monkeys when I was younger).

While driving out to New Jersey, Iman asked Kathryn and Lillian if they like One Direction and both said no. He laughed and said “you made them go?” Yes, I dragged my daughters to the 1D concert, selfishly wanting to have an experience similar to the madness of The Beatles. Looking at the audience, I was not alone. There were lots of mums with non-driving aged little girls possibly seeking the same experience. Observed the stands to see the reactions of those who were not screaming and many had smiles on their faces, just like me. Happy to be part of this fantastically exciting evening.

This was the first time I ever listened to their music for research and review purposes. Do I like the music? Not particularly, but I do not hate it either. They have a few catchy songs that I may listen to on the radio. The music is clean (no bad language) and most of what they are saying is positive, their message to the young female audience is respectful and kind. The young band members are charming enough and make their fans feel special. This is also the first time I saw One Direction, therefore, Zayn

s departure made no difference to me and judging by the fans response, they did not seem to care either. Five on stage may have seemed a bit like a circus and 1D’s fan base continues to see growth per a social media page.

Pretty sure some of my peers think I am crazy to take my daughters to so many (pop) concerts while others are doing the same. Partly because it is excessive (expensive) and partly because of the style of music. Based on research, and the benefits of pop music on preteens, we are certainly on the right track. “Whether a teenager is writing music, identifying with lyrical and musical themes, or dancing wildly at a live show, the cathartic experience provides a channel for expressing and dealing with a wide range of emotions. A shared love of music gives those in the group a common interest and a basis for friendship, which has many potential emotional benefits (Livestrong, 2013).

I loved the concert. Anything that makes you feel like the seventeen-year old babysitter is worth experiencing. Next …

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