Currently the number one song in New Zealand is a cover version of The Kinks’ “You Really Got Me”. The group who have covered is a five-piece male pop group called BOYBAND.
BOYBAND are the deliberately cynical, tongue-in-cheek, ratings-week-focused creation of a radio station. They advertised for five guys who would be “Gay Boy, Hot Boy, Bad Boy, Mummy’s Boy and Fat Boy”, and promised that the winners would get “no big prize, major recording deal or guarantee of fame, just the chance to record a hit single, $500 cash, a 5th share in a 1994 Mazda Bongo van and enjoy a fleeting moment in the ‘pop music’ limelight.”
See, the thing is, New Zealanders are very serious about music. We like people who can play guitars and write their own songs; we like bands who come together because they were flatmates or went to school together, not because they replied to an ad or entered a competition. Even though “Popstars” originated in New Zealand, we generally ain’t got no time for “manufactured” pop acts because, um, well, just because.
So because of this, a normal local pop group wouldn’t have much luck unless they had a signed certificate saying they could all play instruments and had known each other since kindergarten.
But because BOYBAND is a big fat joke, it’s OK for people to like them. Their built-in obsolescence means that there’s no risk that they are going to dominate the charts forever, depriving proper, serious, grown-up artists, such as Bic Runga and Dave Dobbyn, of their rightful place in the pop charts.
The song itself is fairly unremarkable (YouTube). It’s got a bit of rock guitar with some mixed-up DJing and – of course – a rap in the middle. None of them are great singers – they could never ever handle performing anything this majestic.
It’s kind of sad that New Zealand can’t do fluffy pop properly. It’s either the aforementioned serious guitar pop or this entertaining yet cynical comedy.
Where is some sweet, locally made ear candy when you need it?