Billboard Declares The Return Of The “Boy Band” With Teenybopper Covers

Billboard just posted a sneak peek of the dual covers for this week’s issue and if I didn’t know any better, I’d say it was 1999 all over again. The covers declare “We Love Boy Bands” and feature One Direction and The Wanted, two imports from the UK who are bringing back the whole boy band phenomenon from the late ’90s and early ’00s.

Based on the music that gets posted to this blog, I’m guessing many of you are unfamiliar with these two groups, so here’s a rundown:

One Direction placed in third on The X Factor (UK’s American Idol), signed with Columbia Records in the U.S. and debuted their first single, “What Makes You Beautiful” (+76 million YouTube views) this past September. Their first album Up All Night came out in November and became the fastest-selling debut album in the UK in 2011. The boys are between the ages of 18 and 20.

The Wanted has British and Irish members. Their debut single came out in July 2010, followed by an album that October. This past November the group released its second album, which features “Glad You Came” (+27 million views). The members are 18-23 years old.

Time will tell if these two groups will bring back that particular moment in pop music, but at the very least it sure makes for two unique Billboard covers.

Atheist Group Places Billboard In Williamsburg… A Mile From Intended Location

Via City Room:

Call them equal-opportunity disbelievers: American Atheists, a national group that seeks wider acceptance for those who reject religion, has put up bilingual billboards aimed at Orthodox Jewish and Muslim communities in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and Paterson, N.J. The new billboards are the latest step in a campaign that has been going on for the past two years to ask Christians to question their beliefs near Christmas.

One billboard reads, “You know it’s a myth…and you have a choice.” The message is also rendered in Arabic on the Paterson billboard and in Hebrew in Williamsburg. Both billboards were put up on Wednesday, just in time for, among other things, the Jewish holiday of Purim, which begins Wednesday evening.

David Silverman, the president of American Atheists, denied that the billboards were intended to be provocative. “It’s not provocation for Coke to advertise in a Pepsi area; it’s advertising,” he said. “Some people will say that that’s a provocation and offense, and some people say that we are a provocation and offense.”

At least one person, the landlord for a building at 109 South Fifth Street in Williamsburg where the Hebrew billboard was to be placed, seems to have been provoked. Mr. Silverman said the building’s landlord refused to allow the billboard to go up after pressure from the Jewish community.

Propertyshark says the building is owned by Stier 109 LLC. Calls to a Kenneth Stier at that building were not returned.

The atheists had to settle for placing the billboard above the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway near Meeker Avenue — about a mile and a half north of the Hasidic enclave in South Williamsburg. The billboards were meant as a call to nonbelievers who feign religious belief in order to avoid being cast out of their communities, Mr. Silverman said. “These communities are very insular, so the atheists in them often feel very isolated, so they feel that they are alone,” he said. “We want to let them know that they count and that they don’t have to live the life of a lie unless they want to.”