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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Regarding The Vamps

This post started out as a skeptical piece about the hype for latest British boy band, The Vamps. I hadn't paid much attention to them, nor had I heard their music, but they kept popping up here and there and I decided to check them out.  My first thought was that The Vamps (Bradley Will Simpson, James McVey, Connor Ball, and Tristan Evans- the oldest of them, James, just celebrated his twentieth birthday) are a cynical attempt to replicate the success of One Direction.  A fair enough assumption, actually, and one that I still don't entirely discount, but along the way, I think I might have fallen, just a bit, in love. 

Here's what The Vamps have in common with One Direction:  They are a group of cute, young British boys, who make catchy, bouncy pop songs, often about meeting girls at parties. They make videos were they romp around like puppies, and generally behave like cheeky chappies. Although their official biography tries to make The Vamps seem more "authentic" than One Direction (James, already under management,  decided to get a band together, and found Bradley on YouTube, etc., etc,  the rest is history) it seems obvious that both bands were equally assembled by outside hands, 1D by a TV show, The Vamps by Prestige Management, a company that already had some success with boy bands. 

Here's how The Vamps and One Direction differ: The Vamps play instruments. It is suggested that they write all of their own material (although one would be excused if, looking at their YouTube channel, one were to assume they are a cover band.) In fact, The Vamps seem to have more in common with the previous generation of British boy bands, such as Busted and McFly. And here's a big difference: while 1D is very careful to share the spotlight between all five members, The Vamps are all about Bradley Will Simpson, the 18-year-old with Harry Styles' hair who sings the lead on all of their songs, and is front and center at all times. Brad is, frankly, adorable,  and also possesses a great pop voice. I must admit that I get a certain dirty thrill when a cherub-faced teenager kicks off a pop song by singing, "I talk shit when I've been drinking."

It may not bode well for the longevity of the band that Bradley would probably succeed without The Vamps, but The Vamps could not succeed without Bradley.  The truth is, Bradley is the Gladys Knight,  the rest of the boys, mere Pips.

 Now, let us take a moment to let the perfection of Bradley Simpson sink in.

By the way, this happened.  The Vamps cover Hanson.  I may die.

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